I have a cardboard cut out of Mr. Spock in my study.
It is important you know this. It explains a lot about why I feel the way I do right now. Why I have cried as much as I have in the last day and a half.
Spock first moved in during high school.
I don’t actually remember now where he came from. I think a friend convinced a video shop to give her the cut out, and then she gave it to me.
It seems like he’s always been there.
When I left home for university, Spock came with me.
He lived in my dorm room in my first year, where he gazed upon my inevitable antics with that cool, inscrutable stare. Sometimes I thought I caught a glimpse of a raised eyebrow, but most of the time his face remained smooth, unbothered. During Frosh Week I was given a school tam. I put it on his head.
It stayed there for years.
When I moved out in my second year to a shared house with five roommates, he came with me.
He was there when I fell in love.
He was there when I sat at my desk and wrote out all my assignments and taped them to the wall and then put my head down on my desk and cried because I couldn’t see any possible way I would get them all done on time.
He was there when I got them all done on time.
He was there in the darkness when I couldn’t fall asleep unless I played Loreena McKennitt’s The Visit. I played it every night for months. I always fell asleep before the end of The Lady of Shalott.
He was there the night two of my roommates and I got so high on marijuana that we ordered a pizza, ate the entire thing, and then forgot it had arrived. We remained in a state of righteous indignation about the absence of our pizza and the (increasingly ridiculous) wait time for its arrival until one of our other roommates (not high) brought out the empty pizza box.
All right, he wasn’t actually there, in the kitchen, since he rarely left my room, but I’m sure he heard all about it, and I’m equally sure he wasn’t particularly impressed.
In my third year, when I came to my senses and left the house with five roommates in favour of an apartment with two roommates, both good friends from high school, Spock came too.
He watched me fall out of love (messily) and flounder around breaking other hearts.
He looked over my shoulder when I opened the letter that informed me I had won a scholarship to go across the pond for my Master’s degree.
He was, I think, proud when I graduated with first class honours and a medal to boot, even though he didn’t come to the ceremony (not being one for leaving my room).
I think he was hoping I’d take the tam off then.
After graduation my best friend from high school and I packed up our worldly possessions into a van. The back doors had two small windows.
We packed Spock last, folded him in half where he had once been made to fit into his original packaging (you could still see the crease), and placed him so that he was looking out one of the windows.
The drive home was three hours.
We lost count of how many cars honked their horns at us, how many drivers and passengers waved, or rolled down their windows and gave us the thumbs up.
Spock remained calm, unruffled by all the attention.
When I moved overseas for my Master’s I put away childish things and so Spock and all the rest of my worldly possessions that couldn’t be made to fit into two suitcases were packed away into the basement of my mother’s house.
He wasn’t there to watch me fall in love (this time for life).
His gaze didn’t rest on me when I fell into a crippling depression and lay in my room crying every week until I had to stop and get up and write my essay.
He would have approved (I think) of me getting out of bed before the sun for months on end, so I could sprint down to the river and glide across its surface in silence except for the sweep of oars, the roll of the seats, and the run of the boat.
He missed another graduation, this one a victory more hard-fought than the last.
Spock wasn’t there when I moved again, this time down under. He was still in the basement.
He wasn’t there to watch Q. and I learn to live together.
He didn’t see me grow into my confidence as a teacher.
He didn’t cast his eye over the kittens we brought home to fill our apartment.
He probably would have liked the heat, being half Vulcan. The kittens, not so much.
When Q. and I moved back to Canada (with the kittens, now cats), we emptied my mother’s house of what I had left behind.
Things I could never have parted with five years earlier I now tossed aside without a second thought. I took the view that if I’d forgotten I owned it, it was time for it to go.
I kept some things, of course.
Most of my books.
An entire Rubbermaid storage tub of journals and papers and model horses and stuffed animals.
And Spock. Folded and dusty, but otherwise unchanged.
When we bought our house, I set him up in my study where he could overlook my desk, as he used to.
I think he smiled.
Right up until I put my university tam back on his head.
Spock was there while I wrote my dissertation.
He was there when we weren’t getting pregnant, when we did get pregnant, when E. was born.
He remained an amusing point of conversation.
I’d set him up in just such a way that you’d catch sight of him out of the corner of your eye as you went up our stairs.
As a species, we are not so far removed from our ancestors. It is easy to imagine ourselves as the hunted rather than the hunters.
All that to say, Spock scared the living daylights out of most visitors to our home. Even Q. took months to get used to him.
When we moved E. into his new room, and his old room became my study, I thought it was time to say goodbye.
I couldn’t see where I was going to put Spock. I didn’t have a corner where he could rest.
E., unexpectedly, became very very upset at the news. With a quavering voice, and tear-filled eyes, he pleaded with me, “No! Don’t get rid of him. Please keep him.”
I agreed to keep Spock.
“Good,” said E. “You keep him until you’re dead. When you’re dead, we won’t need to keep him anymore.”
Shaking my head, I slid Spock in behind the bookshelf tucked next to my desk.
I couldn’t see his legs anymore, but he did fit.
I had to take the tam off, though. It made him fold over.
I know he smiled that time.
I am what you might call a serious Trekker.
Not one who goes to conventions or dresses up, I hasten to add. I’m not that serious.
But I should not be classified as a casual fan.
I can recognize any episode of ST: TNG before the opening credits start.
I have three shelves in my study filled with Star Trek books: biographies and autobiographies of the cast members; novels; screenplays; compendiums; parodies; the collections of all the inaccuracies and errors in the episodes of ST: TOS. A couple of the novels are books I reread almost every year. I never get tired of them.
I have most of the first six movies memorized (except for I and V, which I never warmed to). I’ve seen The Wrath of Khan more times than I can count and I still, STILL, start crying as soon as Spock leaves the bridge and heads down to the engine room.
Captain Picard is my favourite starship captain.
DS9 is my favourite series.
I have a real soft spot for Miles Edward O’Brien.
But Spock is special to me.
He’s seen so much of my life.
He’s remained constant, unchanging.
It was a real shock to learn again on Friday that he, too, was only mortal.
Now I will carry him in my heart.
And Spock will always have a place in my study.
Live long and prosper, Mr. Nimoy, and thank you.