He smiled, and this was a slight, tired, lop-sided smile that passed quickly.
"It's not like I wouldn't think of them otherwise."
He handed her the love stone.
"I gave that to my wife, as a wedding present. I read her the incantation. We agreed we would abide no borders."
"I'm going to make that tea."
"That sounds wonderful," Anna said.
The kitchen was in a nook at one end of the living room, and Anna sat on a stool at the counter as he prepared the tea. As she looked again around the apartment, she realized he'd just been marking time here for the last six months, unable to resume his life.
"Their ship was just entering the jump gate when it blew," he said, his back to her, his voice slightly musical.
"Of course I should have been with them. They found debris, but not enough to account for the whole ship. They said some of it must have been drawn through into hyperspace. They said no one could have survived. I know they're right. Half of a blown-up ship in hyperspace. But sometimes I wonder if they could be alive. And then I wonder what it would be like, floating through hyperspace, lost, alone. Sarah would be six now."
He turned to her with the tea, and Anna was surprised to see his face carrying that same still, controlled expression. She remembered a quote from her favorite author, John Steinbeck: There are some among us who live in rooms of experience that we can never enter.
"How do you cross a border like that?" he asked.
"I don't know."
She was wondering what she would do if John ever died. It was a constant danger in his career. Yet she couldn't imagine it.
"I don't think it's so much that you cross the border as that your love transcends the border. Wherever they are, they must know you love them.