Jim had loved November most of his life. He really had. The month had some of his better memories when he was a kid. For years, prior to his eleventh birthday, he would leave Riverside and travel to San Jose in California where his grandparents lived, his dad’s parents, his only connection really to the Kirks for the most part, and he’d stay there from November 01 to November 30th.
In those days, Sam came with him too, though already he had an attitude. He couldn’t understand why Grandpa and Grandma Kirk wouldn’t or couldn’t keep them full time instead of them having to live in Riverside with Frank, with Mom gone most of the time.
They’d never had any real explanation either. Sam had asked. Their grandparents had gotten silent and weird about it and it had been the worst of the Novembers they’d spent there, so the next November, Jim had begged Sam not to say anything, and to his relief, Sam hadn’t, and everything had been normal.
The year Jim turned eleven, though, that October, his mother had come home for a time and had taken them aside to tell them that Grandpa Kirk had ‘passed away’ as she’d said, and Grandma couldn’t handle a visit with them that year. That meant the previous November was the last time Jim had ever seen either of them, because Jim was sent to Tarsus IV the following year and when he came home from that nightmare and it became just him and his mom, no Frank, no Sam, no one, his mom had the task of informing him Grandma Kirk had died too.
For a while, when November came it only brought Jim sadness, but time brought distance from his sorrow, and he didn’t feel that way anymore.
Jim looked up from the box of stuff he was going through in the basement. He sat on the ground.
“Are you down here?”
“Yeah, Spock, I am. Come on down.”
He smiled faintly as Spock’s footsteps descended the stairs. Spock appeared, still wearing the scarf he had wrapped around his neck earlier.
“Done with your walk?”
“Yes. What are you doing?”
Jim looked down at the box. “A box of my grandparents old things.” He shrugged. “I didn’t get much. Or I…didn’t save much, I should say. I was just a stupid kid when they died, you know? And I received these boxes. I didn’t open them for a long time, because, well I was stupid, like I said, and angry too. Because they died. Some were addressed to Sam, too. He was already gone though and…” Jim closed his eyes and shook his head.
Spock crouched down next to him. “What, Ashayam?”
“While I was gone to-to Tarsus…” He paused at the sharp intake from Spock, but the Vulcan wisely said nothing. “Well, Frank got rid of all of Sam’s stuff. He wasn’t coming back, not ever, and we all knew that. But he also got rid of the boxes from our grandparents. Threw most of it away without ever even opening any of them. Sold some stuff he did go through. When I got back from that place, I went through some stuff, and I was just, I was so messed up then, Spock. I saw so much horror, I didn’t care about anything.”
Spock reached for Jim’s hand then, closing his fingers around Jim’s palm. “I grieve with thee.”
He smiled a little “The point of that long rambling is to say that this box, well, it’s all I have left of them. It’s just…knick-knacks mostly. Mementos that aren’t worth anything. Like this.” He reached in and took out a marble seal. “When I was six, I wanted this. We were at a store, you know, and I asked for it and she got it for me. But I was six and the moment we brought it back to her house, I completely forgot about it. But she kept it. And it ended up in this box of stuff sent to me.”
“For her to have kept it, she must have found it important,” Spock said softly.
“Yeah. Sam was convinced they didn’t want us and that’s why we spent a month with them every year and that was it. But I-I’m not so sure. Guess we’ll never know now.” Jim moved to stand up and Spock straightened and pulled him up. “Hungry?”
“I could eat.”
“Let’s go into town and have dinner at Eric’s Restaurant. They have some good choices for both of us. And I need to get out of this space for a bit.”
“This house or the space in your head?” Spock asked, drawing Jim near.
“Both I suppose. Sorry, I don’t mean to be melancholy. November just gets me thinking of them. They were really all I had of my dad. Mom didn’t like them around much because she thought about him, too, but that wasn’t a good thing for her.”
He leaned down and reached into the box again. He pulled out a small stuffed white cat. It was yellowed now. It was that old.
“Yours?” Spock guessed.
Jim smiled. “Nope. His. Dad’s. When he was a little boy. She sent it to me.” He rubbed his chest. It ached but it was emotional ache. He blinked away the moisture in his eyes. “Never mind. I’m glad you’re with me. I love you. So much. Thank you for being here.”
“I will always be by your side, Jim.” Spock drew him up the basement stairs. “Come dinner waits.”