Useless beauty

by Jinny W
September 2000

Summary: a short piece about Kathryn, her husband, and a few regrets.

Paramount owns the characters. No infringement intended, etc. Once again I've borrowed the words in the title and at the bottom from a song, this time from Elvis Costello.


Daniel thinks that we were lovers. Not that we ever talk about it, but the insinuation is always there. The way he only smiles at Chakotay with half of his sensuous mouth, never showing teeth. The way he watches us talk, his wary eyes flickering from Chakotay's face to mine and back.

The way we fight about stupid things.

The way he spits out the word "Maquis."

How cruel he can be.

We don't talk about Voyager a lot either. I suppose because the imprint of Chakotay is in every story there too. It's strange, I think, in quiet moments, how the person who's supposedly the closest to me in the world doesn't want to know anything about the most important experience of my life. An experience that challenged, shaped, became embedded in me.

Daniel resents how I speak of those days fondly. How I laugh at memories that he could never, and doesn't want to share. I suspect he sees the Delta quadrant as one long prison stretch, an ordeal that I sought counseling for and should now put behind me. Or perhaps, I think at other quiet times, he realises only too well how strong and unique the bonds formed during that time are.

Still, Chakotay comes to visit. We sit and talk over coffee, or take a slow walk in the park together. When we fall in step beside each other I realise how much I miss his presence, the little daily routines we used to have. How we strolled down the corridors of Voyager like this together on some restless late nights. I miss his smile. And his kindness.

In my more honest moments I know that I regret dancing around him for all of those years. I question myself and my decisions. I wonder whether we could have made a relationship work after all. On Voyager or back on earth. I am rigorous and skeptical, like a good scientist should be.

In my more despondent moments I think in brutal detail about the possibilities. I imagine scenarios, list the missed opportunities in my head. Calculate the number of times I could have been the one to reach out to him. I measure him against Daniel who is beautiful and empty. I recite Chakotay's merits to vacant eyed listeners. I am convinced of what I have lost.

I lose myself in work. I drink a little too much. I run from consequences. I forget birthdays. I count the lines around my eyes. I don't sleep enough. I forget to exercise. I hide from my friends.

Once, I think, I might have left Daniel. Been happy to live by myself. Been content with work, with friends, and family. I even think about it sometimes idly on slow warm afternoons, when I stare at the picture of him I have sitting on my desk and don't feel a thing. But I don't think I will.

Regret has become a habit with me.



She imagines how she might have lived
back when legends and history collide
so she looks to her prince finding he's so charmingly
slumped at her side

Those days are recalled on the gallery wall
and she's waiting for passion or humour to strike
What shall we do, what shall we do with all this useless beauty?
all this useless beauty

from "All this useless beauty" by Elvis Costello


~  Jinny's stories   ~   feed the author   ~