Too Many Good-Byes
By Marie

        I watch from my window.  The trees are bare, as bare as my soul, now that he is no longer with me.  He waits for me.  I know it, and soon I will follow him.  I have only to relinquish the will to live, which is not to say that itís easy to do, for Iíve made a lifetime of survival.  We both did.

        At least I was there when he left me.  Left me alone.  It was the only time he ever truly failed me, so I couldnít fault him.  Michael.  The very name summons his image.  When he was young.  When we were so much in love and in so much conflict.  He was a beautiful man, and his beauty never waned.  He was always my dark angel.  How his soul struggled toward the light, toward me.  He always said I was his light.  I suppose thatís what he thought.  I knew better.  He had the light within, as do we all.  He merely needed someone to tend the flickering flame and to remind him that it was there.

        We grew old together.  Old age took us by  surprise.  Always surrounded by death, we never expected to live quite so long.  Then suddenly, we were well beyond middle age.  Michaelís hair had grown silver, but his face remained always the face I loved.  Every line in his face was a testament to life and the will to live it.  His soulful eyes never stopped seeking mine.  Our passion for each other never dimmed.  So do not be  sad, we shared many years of loving....  in spite of the difficulties in our early years.

        I look at my hands, and they are a strangerís.  Once strong and sturdy, they tremble and are spotted by age.  Michael used to caress my face and tell me that I was still as beautiful as the day he first saw me in the white room.  I would tell him heíd had too much coffee, if he thought that.  But I loved to hear him say it just the same.

        I wish I could tell you that everyone had a happy ending, but you wouldnít believe me if I did.  Section One continued to be a cruel taskmaster. After Michael became Operations, he wasnít able to change everything.  Operatives were still sent on missions, and operatives still died.  On the other hand, there werenít as many unwarranted cancellations as before.  I like to think I had some influence there.  I like to think I made a difference, even if it is a foolish old womanís last dream.

        My darling Walter died peacefully in his sleep one night many years ago.  It was no less than he deserved.  He had been my truest friend in Section One.  He made my early days possible.  He had been delighted to see Michael and me assume leadership of Section One.  I never stopped going to him, and he never stopped being my best friend.

        Another thing didnít change either--no day care nursery.  Michael and I were never able to have a child.  We never knew if it was something Section did to me, or if I simply could not conceive.   The  tests showed nothing wrong with either of us.

        Iíve said too many good-byes.  There is no one left who knew us when we were young.  We became the figureheads.  Now, we are stuff of legends.  Ironic. Our story has been passed on to younger operatives in the oral tradition of ancient tribes.

        No one knows who Michael and Nikita really were.  I was a young woman, full of life and compassion, who fell in love with a man tortured by his past and present.  I didnít do anything.  I simply did my best to love Michael.  We made our life together.  It seems now that we had such a short time to love.  It was over in the blink of an eye.

        Soon.  I feel him near me.  He waits.  Itís his turn to be patient.

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