“There was a girl … once.” The frail, white-haired patient sighed wistfully.
“How did you meet her, Admiral McCoy?”
“Call me Leonard, son. Starfleet only made me an Admiral because I got so old, they didn’t know what else to do with me. Guess they thought it was time to kick me upstairs. And don’t call me doctor. You know I ain’t a doctor no more—too damn forgetful and shaky. That’s why I’m in here. Waitin’ to die.” McCoy’s withered hand fell to the pale, striped, blue and white blanket draped over him.
He wasn’t cold. Not like when he’d met her. It was never cold in the light and bright Little Old Admirals’ Home. The blanket was a comfort, but the memory of her was more so.
Scowling at the orderly straightening his room … or was the young man a nurse? McCoy couldn’t rightly remember and his eyesight had gotten so bad, he couldn’t make out the insignia on the collar of his uniform.
“Young man, have a seat here. Ya asked me a question, and I got an answer.” McCoy raised one white eyebrow at the youth. “And that’s an order.”
The man placed the vase of recently delivered flowers on a low dresser and sat where McCoy had indicated on the bed. “Yes, sir … uh, Ad—I mean, Doc—” He shook his head with a sheepish smile and sat down. “Yes, Leonard.”
“That’s good, son.” The ancient Admiral wove his gnarled fingers together and rested them on his stomach. “I’d been married a couple times—had a few flings as young men will do—but I never forgot that girl.” He sighed wearily again and slipped back into his memories.
Of a young woman who saved his life.
The girl he left behind.