A Letter From Melissa’s Mother


Dear Melissa,

As you can tell by the date on my letter, I arrived back home on Mother’s Day. This is very appropriate considering the events of the last few weeks!

Imagine! My only daughter, married again! And this time she chose right. Your father and I always thought that Geoff was a dead-beat from Day One, but we didn’t want to tell you at the time. We figured that you would do whatever you would do, and our disapproval would only push you quicker and deeper into a bad situation. So we kept our mouths shut and went along with the whole thing. We wanted to keep the channels of communication open, so that when things fell apart, you would be able to lean on us.

But I’m going over old ground that we’ve covered many times before, back when you and Geoff were getting your divorce. You moved back home, and you and I were friends once more. No matter how old I get, I never cease to be amazed at how time can make the sweetest memories out of the bitterest experiences. There was one time in particular when we were discussing what a scoundrel Geoff’s lawyer was. You were so angry that you just threw the sugar into your coffee cup and stirred it violently, so that it slopped over the sides! You were so wrapped up in what you were saying, that you really weren’t paying attention to what you were doing. Then you plopped the sugar bowl lid right on your coffee cup! Such a silly little thing! That ruined the mood, didn’t it? I never laughed so hard… in fact, I still do when I remember that.

The only reason that I’m dredging this old stuff up from the deep dark past, is to show to you even more clearly how wonderful things are for you now. I cannot tell you how glad I am that you did not rush into marriage again. You waited for the right man, and your patience has really paid off.

Not that I can tell much, of course. Don’t get me wrong, Harshan seems like a very nice man; but it’s hard to size up a fellow that you can’t talk to! It isn’t impossible, however. I can tell by the way he looks at you; by the consideration he shows; by the… well, you know! If ever a marriage were made in heaven, this one was.

Oh, that brings something else to mind: please stop apologizing. I didn’t mind one bit when you asked me to pin up and hem your wedding gown! That was the best part for me. When you were a little girl, I used to alter all your clothes, so I got to relive the past at the same time that I was launching you into a whole new future. Anyway, it does a person good to feel needed now and then. It was an honor, and not an imposition. Imagine: I’m the envy of the neighborhood: Mrs. Franklin, Seamstress to the Stars! Or at least I would be if I told anyone—it’s frustrating not being able to talk about something so wonderful, but if I did, they’d just put me in the booby hatch.

I didn’t understand a word of the wedding service, but somehow it seemed terribly familiar. Did I miss something here? I understand the part about the languages, and why the marriage ceremony was conducted in that lovely, lilting Thorgelfaynese, rather than Halakanian. I don’t understand why the ceremony began with a lengthy explanation from your friend Lanni, or how marriage ceremonies on different planets could be so similar. Were you using a ceremony from back home? If so, my hat’s off to you for your ingenuity and resourcefulness.

The Homelanders are the nicest bunch I ever ran into! They always made me feel at home. Now that I’m back, I miss them all. They were almost too nice. Are you sure that this Homeland place is on the up-and-up? I kept expecting them to ask me to join some religion or buy some investment bonds, or something like that. Nobody so much as slipped me a prospectus, so I figure that it must just be an especially nice place.

You really didn’t have to go to so much trouble to prepare me for the trip, and you certainly didn’t have to tell me all those silly stories about flying saucers and life on other planets! What do you take me for? I guess you think that science fiction was invented in 1965.

It was well after your bedtime and you might not remember it very well, but your father and I never missed the Twilight Zone on television back in the fifties. (I can still see you in your pink nightie, thumb in your mouth, peeking around the corner with your teddy bear; and I can still hear your father’s booming voice: “March yourself right back to bed, young lady!” ) My, how you’d scramble! I wish he could have been there, but it is ironic that his interest in the stars prevented his travel to them; for if he hadn’t gone on that trip to see the eclipse, he wouldn’t have had that accident. But I know he was there somehow!

So we were science nuts and science fiction buffs from way back. Where do you think you got your interest in it? The Tooth Fairy?

So when you told me you were marrying an alien from outer space—and after I finally realized that you weren’t joking—I honestly never expected you to become Melissa Queen of the Lizard People. Give me some credit! It seemed self-evident to me even back in the forties that the aliens would look just like us. I expected that I would be treated as least as well as if I were traveling to another country on Earth. I was right on the first point (they do look like us) and wrong on the second point (they treated me better). The trip proved me right about a lot of my theories; and being proved so thoroughly right is a very fulfilling experience. I never once felt—if you’ll pardon the pun—alienated.

So. The surprise is on you.

Of course, I cheated. You didn’t know that I’m on the Internet. I caught on when those stories on the web were only slightly different from your letters. Oh, we both pretended that you were in Switzerland, recovering from an automobile accident during a business trip; but I knew the truth all along! How did I know all this, you wonder? Well, for one thing, they have telephones in Switzerland, and you only wrote letters. However, that could just have proved that you were lazy. (Which you aren’t.) Let’s say: a mother’s intuition! Would you believe, “a mother has her ways” ? How about “mothers have friends who tell them about interesting websites” ?

So all the secrets come out at last!

Today is Mother’s Day, and I have the best Mother’s Day gift I could ever want: a happy and safe daughter, married to a saint of a man, living in a lovely place with the most wonderful people I can imagine.

I can’t wish you the best, Melissa; you already have it. Instead, I send you my love. Maybe with a little envy.