“What is happiness?” the author asked on the opening page of the book Kathryn was reading.
She looked up from the text across the garden. The garden that was now hers. Theirs. She lifted up her sunglasses and gazed out at the view she now called home and pondered that deep question.
What was happiness?
Was it getting your crew home after seven long years of exile? Was it finally defeating the greatest threat the Federation had ever faced? Sure. It was all those things.
And, yet, it was something more.
Was it the house she had always dreamed of owning? Was it the spectacular view she woke up to every morning?
Of course. And yet….
Was it finally declaring your love to the one you had denied yourself for so long?
Was it sharing vows in front of all your friends and family? Was it seeing your mother cry with the pure joy of having you safe and settled?
Was it the understanding that the one thing you thought was lost to you, was going to be a reality? Was it holding that reality in your arms and seeing the joy it brought to those around you?
She turned her head and felt that same warm smile cross her face whenever she saw her husband. Chakotay smiled back and she watched as he turned to the little girl at his side. Her long black hair glistening in the late afternoon sun. Their daughter was saying something to him and he nodded, kneeling down to her level. He was pointing at a plant across from their garden pond, whilst she was leaning over the water, no doubt to look for the tadpoles that had recently hatched.
The mother in her made Kathryn call out, “Not too close, Inola!”
She watched as Chakotay took the little girl’s hand, holding her steady and cast an indulging glance back at her. She smiled back. He was forever telling her not to worry so.
He turned back to the pond and their daughter, smiling as the little girl chatted away. Kathryn put the book down. This was happiness. Watching the two people you loved most in the world spend precious time together. Her eyes were drawn to his big hand covering the tiny one of their daughter.
Yes, this was happiness. She looked at her discarded book. There was little point reading that now, she had happiness and knew exactly what it was. It was right in front of her.
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