A Thousand Words
Someone once said that a picture was worth a thousand words. To Elizabeth’s mind, a thousand words wasn’t enough. Not by far.
In her desire to create a good example, she’d only brought the one personal item that they’d been told they could bring. The photograph was worn. Those first few weeks, it had been on her desk, turned toward her. A reminder of things she was leaving behind. Later, as she had learned of the Wraith and things had become a touch more dangerous, she had taken it out of the frame and had held it, remembering, when she wanted to give up.
When Peter died, she held on to the photo as a lifeline. She kept it folded up in her inside jacket pocket. Or her pants, when she wasn’t wearing the jacket. From time to time, she’s touch the spot where it was and it would give her hope. Hope that there was still something worth fighting for. Hope that, even if they should fail, family and friends back on Earth would survive.
When they’d survived and she started making plans to use the Stargate to go back to Earth, she took the photo out of her pocket, folded it, and put it in her wallet. She’d take another photo when they got back. Maybe he’d even be able to come back with them. It’s not like they had to worry about the security clearance.
By the time that their trip to Earth was through, she’d had her heart broken. Everything she’d been wanting to have when she came back was missing. Instead of the smooth transition for her new team, there was the endless fighting about John’s ability to command. Instead of her beloved Simon, there was a stranger.
It was long trip back. John tried to keep her occupied. Even Rodney would come by with a cup of coffee every now and then and expound on his exploration of the Daedalus. Nothing seemed to help though. Even the AI disaster could only keep her occupied for a short period. As Caldwell liked to remind her, on the Daedalus, he was the boss.
Then they were in the city and life was back to the normal routine. She never thought about it. Never cried. Until one day when she went to see Rodney. He was, for once, in his room.
“Elizabeth. Come in, come in, please,” he said, taking a step back and ushering her in. She stepped in and was about to explain why she was there, when she saw it. A small photo next to his bed. Expecting to see his family or maybe a picture of him, she moved closer to take a better look.
“A cat?” She looked up at Rodney who looked back at her in confusion for a moment before looking over to his bed.
“Oh. Missy. She was my first cat as a kid. She was home to me, more than either my parents or sister.”
He went on, but she didn’t hear him. She sat down hard. After what seemed like an eternity, she felt a hot cup being pressed into her hands.
“Look, Elizabeth,” Rodney said, bouncing back and forth and looking nervous. “I’m not the best at this, but do you want to talk?”
She took a sip of her coffee and then set it down, reaching into her jacket for the old photograph. Caressing it for a moment and smiling fondly, she handed the photo to Rodney.
“This is Sedge. He died three months ago.”