Legal Disclaimer: The Power Rangers belong to Saban or Disney,
not me. Opal Oliver belongs to me, you're free to borrow, just please drop me
a line. This assumes that Kimberly never sent the letter, and that shortly before
Tommy retired from being a Ranger, Kimberly had their daughter, Opal. It also
assumes that Tommy did his racing for another two years, and then retired for
his family's peace of mind. The names mentioned herein, are in no way meant to
resemble anyone, dead or alive. The quote named by Mary Anderson is a light hearted
poke at Kindergarten Cop. This is based on a poem; I don't know the author.
You may read it here.
Special Thanks: To Dagmar Buse, for encouraging me, reviewing this as I wrote it, and for always being honest.
Tribute and Dedication: This is a tribute to the firefighters who bravely fought that day, and in the days that came, to find anyone who lived and rescue them, and lost their lives in doing so. It is dedicated to all the people who worked together in the wake of the tragedy, the firefighters, the police, the emergency workers, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and anyone else who gave their assistance.
April 16th, 2002.
Kimberly Anne Oliver sat on her bed, trembling with anxiety. It was four AM, and she had had another early awakening. This was not due to the great stress since Tommy's death, but in one sense, it could put down to it. Her and Tommy's daughter, Opal, had been talking excitedly for weeks about her class, who were having a special day to celebrate their daddies. It was 'Daddy's Day'.
Last night, she had laid out Opal's favourite dress, a bow for her hair and her party shoes. And all the while, she had been thinking of Tommy.
I always calmly or not so calmly sometimes, thought Kimberly; told him that he was going to get himself killed on the track. And that if he gave a damn about his family, he'd stop it. He did. And he became a firefighter, because, well, it WAS a way to keep the team together, as Adam and Rocky had gone into it. But I thought his reason was a reasonable one...
"Kim, we saved the world so many times," said Tommy. "But we could NEVER do anymore than fight the aliens. And then other people would have to fix up our messes." He saw her look. "Okay, most damages were repaired because we won. But there were still the injuries, and the secondary damage, that wasn't repaired."
"So you want to join Adam and Rocky in firefighting because it's still saving the world, but at a lower scale?" questioned Kimberly.
"Yes," said Tommy. "Kim, just because of what we did, doesn't mean we HAVE to stop helping. Depending on who it is, I'd say... Jason, he almost died because of the Golden Powers. I'd say he doesn't have to do a damn thing that helps anyone. But he CAN do more, and he DOES do it. And I want to as well."
"Oh, Tommy, I don't want to stop you, it's just I don't want to lose you!" cried Kimberly, desperately.
"You won't lose me, no matter what. As long as it is possible, I will return home to you."
"It wasn't possible," said Kimberly. "And I will always love you, and grieve for you. I just can't help but wish that at times like these, you were here."
She got up and made herself breakfast, waiting for Opal to wake.
Kimberly's hands were shaking as she dressed Opal.
"Honey, calm down!" she snapped. Opal stopped still, and her mother surveyed her. She wore her favourite dress, a white and pink pastel swirl of colors. Her bow in her hair was red and green, left over from Christmas.
"I'm sorry, Mommy. I'm just excited about today!" said Opal. "I can't wait!"
"For what?" Kim asked herself rhetorically. She fixed her daughter with a stern gaze. "Opalstone," she began, using Tommy's nickname for her; "are you sure you wish to go today? I'll keep you home." She asked the oft repeated question once more, knowing even as she did, it was useless.
"Mommy, I've been waiting for weeks! I wanna go!" said Opal resolutely, going down the stairs to get her breakfast. Kimberly followed her, and looked at Opal.
"Honey, I just don't think the kids will understand... if you turn up... all alone," Kimberly said, snatching up a piece of fruit and peeling it.
"If they don't, they don't," Opal replied philosophically. "Uncle Andros said that." Kimberly allowed a small smile. Andros was the eternal fountain of sayings. She missed him, it had been a while since she had seen any of the former Turbo/Space team. "And Aunt Kat told me that all I had to do was tell the truth."
Kimberly's heart nearly sunk. "And I know EXACTLY what I'll say, and I know it's the truth." Kimberly's heart fell into the murky depths. And once more she asked.
"Stay home, honey. We'll rent movies and eat junk." Kimberly was desperate enough to risk blowing her limited budget that had to be the case for the next two months, due to having had some money stolen. Not that she had told Opal this.
"No, Mommy. I want to go." Opal's voice echoed Tommy's leader voice, but Kimberly would never bow down to Opal's orders. If Opal wished to go, then go she would. But she never sees him! her mind screamed at her. He never calls! And she dismissed the thoughts.
At Angel Grove Elementary, Opal skipped inside, while Kim looked at the school. Pushing all thoughts to the back of her mind, she went inside. At the door to Opal's class, she met Mrs. Applebee.
"Kimberly! How wonderful to see you!"
"Deborah," Kimberly replied. "Are you sure that these terrors are easier than we were or our equivalents currently are?" Deborah Applebee laughed.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't like driving all that way. Elementary is closer to my home, so I can walk if I like."
Kimberly nodded, and went to the back, trying to fit into the sea of daddies. She noted with a smile, that all the children were very impatient. They were in their seats, restless and waving at their daddies, talking to each other and generally being kids. Finally, Mrs. Applebee called for silence.
"Good morning class."
"Good morning Mrs. Applebee," they chorused.
"Today is Daddy's Day. And since you've all been waiting... Mary Anderson."
Mary got up, and her daddy came up the front. "This is my daddy. My mom says he is a real sex machine." The adults laughed quietly, as Mr. Anderson suddenly looked VERY interested in the ceiling painting.
One by one, they were each called up. Everyone had different lengths of time, but in a class of twenty, time was a little more luxurious. The seconds passed v... e... r... y slowly, as they progressed through a random selection of students.
Opal waited patiently, and at long last, her wait was rewarded, as Deborah Applebee picked her name, and spoke clearly. "Opal Oliver." She walked to the front, and all the kids turned to look every which way, trying to see Opal's daddy. But of course, they failed.
Because Tommy Tyler Oliver, just simply wasn't there.
Clive yelled out, "Where's her daddy? He should be here! Where is he at?!"
It was followed by Fiona crowing, "Opal doesn't have a daddy! She's got no daddy! She's got no daddy! She's got"
Fiona was cut off by a daddy who said, "I suppose he just doesn't care. Looks like he was too deadbeat, too busy to waste the special day with his kid." Kimberly stood horrified, and she nearly lost control and tried to hide behind her Powers, long since given away.
Opal just stood silently, neither crying or defending the statements. She just smiled at her classmates and looked towards Mrs. Applebee, who told her to begin. And Opal carefully placed her hands behind her back, and did as Kat had said. Tell the truth. And so she recited what she wanted to say, what she wanted to tell her classmates. And for those who heard it, it was just... unique.
"My dad, he couldn't be here today. I know he would give anything to be with me, but he just lives too far away to be able to come. Even if you can't meet him, I wanted you to know all about him, and how much he loves me."
"Honey, I love you very, very much," said Tommy to his daughter. "I only wish I could be with you, but it is such that I can't. But remember that I love you very much."
"I love you too Daddy," said four year old Opal. "Goodbye, Daddy."
"He loved telling me stories... Our favourite one was how the Green Ranger became good, after serving that evil witch Rita." Opal made a face. Kimberly rolled her eyes, and sighed. "He taught me to ride my bike, and he surprised me with pink roses. And he taught me to fly my Pink Ranger kite."
Tommy sat with two year old Opal, reading her stories of Cinderella. "I like reading with you Daddy," said Opal sleepily.
"I like reading with you too, honey."
"This is how you ride your bike, honey." Tommy was being very patient with four year old Opal. "I'll steady you, and then let go, and you'll balance."
"Alright, Daddy! I'm ready!" said Opal, ready for action.
"Mommy, where's Daddy?" asked Opal, very impatient.
"I don't know, dear," said Kimberly, for the thirtieth time in as many minutes.
Tommy chose that moment to come in from work, carrying a bouquet of flowers, which he handed with a flourish to Kimberly, kissing her at the same time. Opal watched with interest.
Tommy turned to Opal, and then with another flourish, produced two pink roses.
"Hold the string!" yelled Tommy. "Hold the string, or you'll lose the kite!"
"Every Sunday, we would share a fudge sundae, cause Daddy said it was the only day for eating sundaes. And we shared ice cream in a cone all the time. You can not see him, but I'm not standing here all alone." Opal took a breath.
Tommy and Opal sat at the ice cream counter, sharing a fudge sundae. Of course, by the time it was 'eaten', it was mostly on their clothes.
Tommy and Opal were on the beach, sharing ice cream cones. Kimberly groaned as it degenerated into an icecream fight.
"Cause my daddy is always with me, forever and always, though we may be apart. I know it's true because he told me, he'd be always in my heart."
"Honey, remember, I'll always be with you, even though we may be many miles apart, I'll always be with you. You'll know, for I told you. I'll always be in your heart," said Tommy, before the phone was passed to Kimberly.
Opal placed her hand, upon her chest. Remembering what her Daddy told her, feeling her heartbeat, beneath her dress. And Kimberly stood among the crowd of many daddies, unashamedly in silent tears. She watched her daughter proudly, who be years wiser than she should. Opal stood still, and she knew her Daddy loved her. And she was telling them that was so. For that was what was BEST for her, that was what was RIGHT.
Opal looked at the class with typical Oliver determination. And dropping her hand to her side, she finished what she had prepared to say. And it was spoken with typical Hart softness. But the message rang clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much, and he's my shining star. I know if he could be here, he would. But heaven's just too far. Cause, you see, he was a fireman." Deborah closed her eyes, knowing what was coming.
"And he died, just this year past. When the planes hit the towers, and taught us Americans to fear."
Opal sat on her swing, and looked into the sky.
"I love you Daddy, very much," she whispered. "You'll be my shining star."
"Like you said, if you could be with me, you would."
"But I know heaven's just too far."
"Honey, you know I am a fireman," said Tommy, as he spoke to Opal. He was in pain, and was dying, but he would say goodbye to the two women he loved most, after leaving them to go and help in the aftermath. "But because those planes crashed into the Twin Towers, we Americans, we now fear. And I tried to help, and I'm pretty sure I did."
"What do you mean, Daddy? When you coming home?"
Tommy sighed. "I mean I'm not, honey. And I'm so sorry."
Opal faced the class, and closed her eyes briefly, seeing Tommy. He was there that day. "You know, sometimes, if I close my eyes, it is like he never went away." Then she closed her eyes again, and saw him there.
On her fifth birthday, Janurary 7th, 2002, Opal closed her eyes, and saw her daddy once more. And it was as if he'd never gone away.
Kimberly watched the room of people, and was shocked to see that the children and their daddies, were closing their eyes. And just for a moment, Tommy was there by her side. And no one knew what they felt inside. And with her eyes closed tight, Opal spoke into the absolute silence. "I know you're with me Daddy." And then what happened next, made believers of they who had been filled with doubt.
None could explain it, since their eyes had been kept shut tight. But the proof was lying stark before them, on Opal's desktop bare. A single pink rose lay there, its beauty and fragrance undiminished in Kimberly's memory.
Opal picked it up, and looked at it with awe. Kimberly cried torrents as she felt Tommy's love envelop them two. And so Opal was blessed, by the love of her shining bright star. T'was given the precious gift of believing: That heaven is never too far.