tuck museum

some thoughts about jaylah the magnificent

- Within her first week at Starfleet Academy, Jaylah hacked into the environmental controls and security systems of her dorm– because she was bored and twitchy, because she didn’t know what to do with a home she had not taken apart and re-wired herself. 


- She broke into the cafeteria after hours and told herself it was just to see if she could. She skipped class to go wander the streets and build a map of the city, of these concrete canyons and glass-and-steel cliff walls, of which way she would run if she needed to. She played her music too loud. Kirk wrote her from deep space, further and further away as the months and maydays of their mission moved on, to ask if she was trying to beat him in demerits earned in an Academy tenure. She took that to mean he approved.


- Jaylah had had a big brother, once. Elah had taught her about engines, about how to wrestle, and a lot of really terrible jokes, once. But Scotty walked her through the Enterprise’s engines, when she was rebuilt and shining. They got grease and fluids all over their overalls. Kirk and Spock sparred with her while they waited for the Enterprise’s next mission to come through– Academy martial arts and Vulcan holds and corn-fed Iowa brawling tricks. Uhura provided the bawdy humor, parsed out smugly at the edges of social gatherings. 


- They had set the ruins of the Franklin up as a museum, tucked into the floating bubble of Yorktown. Schoolchildren would take field trips to wander the halls of her house. They invited her to the opening ceremony, cut the ribbon while she and the Enterprise crew were still wandering, limping, through those clean curving streets, but she did not attend. 


- Instead Scotty showed up at her doorstep with a bottle of Scotch stolen from Chekhov. They played her music so loud it shook the walls and earned them a dozen pissed off texts from Bones and a single sternly disapproving note from Spock. They ignored them all and toasted the Franklin, a good lady, a fine home. 


- When Jaylah boarded a transport ship for Earth, for California and San Francisco and the Academy that lived in the shadow of that golden bridge, the whole surviving crew of the Enterprise came out to the loading dock to wave her good-bye. It had been so many years since she had known any faces so well, living, other than her enemies’. She pressed up against the window and watched them– peach and blue and brown and black and green– disappear. 


- No matter how hard she fought and hoped, she had thought she would never get off that planet. The moment she saw her father go down, she had thought she would never be able to survive that stab in his gut, that light that went out of his eyes. She had been small, willow limbs and shaking hands, and she had thought she would never see another sky again. 


- She got up early on cold mornings and walked through the swirling San Francisco fog. She greeted the sun as it climbed up over the Bay and burned the sky back to blue. 


- The crew pooled their credits and bought her a motorcycle for her next birthday, to replace the one they’d left on the planet. Jaylah had left a lot of things in that boneyard. She drove the steep streets on her humming bike and felt like perhaps she had not left everything. 


- When Jaylah took the Kobyashi Maru her final year, she watched her classmates complain and rant afterward about unfairness, about no win scenarios. She did not speak up, just took her results and left. The lesson was one she had already learned, already buried in herself. Sometimes you cannot win, no matter how good you are, no matter how brave, no matter how much you love your daughter and want to live and live and live for her. Sometimes all you can do is die the best way you know how. 


- (When the ruckus had finally died down on Yorktown Base, after the smoke had settled, after the crowds had parted, Jaylah had seen Demora Sulu run to her father’s arms. She had seen Hikaru kneel in the rubble and lift his daughter into his lap and hold her safe in his arms. She had thought, I would have died for this. I am alive, and I am glad, but I would have died for this, I would have, I would have died for this)


- (Her little sister Jessy had been about Dem’s age, the last time Jaylah had seen her alive). 


- She didn’t declare an emphasis in her Academy studies for two years. Scotty thought she should go into engineering, because as a traumatized, escaped child she had reverse-engineered repairs on the Franklin that could only be matched by his own genius. Kirk thought she would make an excellent command officer. Uhura, impressed by how she had taught herself Federation Standard from the Franklin’s logs, made sure the communications department paid friendly attention to her. 


- Instead, Jaylah took the introductory classes for every field of study in the Academy, ignoring the disapproving cries of her guidance counselors. In combat she was years ahead of her peers. She found languages easy, but their technical underpinnings were unengaging and confusing. In engineering she was gifted, but decades behind the state of technology. Scotty had happily dragged her through the Enterprise’s rebuilt engines, but her heart and her blackened fingers would always belong to engines lifetimes older.


- The Enterprise crew were on their second five year mission when Jaylah graduated from Starfleet Academy. They gathered in the main mess hall, all the crew that had survived the Enterprise’s first death, and the new crew members who had heard stories of this adopted daughter of the ship for years. They live-streamed the ceremony. Scotty wore a ‘PROUD BIG BROTHER OF A STARFLEET GRADUATE’ shirt Sulu had hand-lettered for him. Bones opened a bottle of good ol’ Earthside bourbon and pretended not to tear up when her name was called. 


- She wore medical blue.  


- After years of Academy schooling and medical training, Jaylah stepped onto a Starfleet ship, her badge pinned to her chest. The corridors curved into the distance. The lights hummed and lit up as the ship floor murmured under her feet. It felt like coming home. 


- But there were no rocky hills out her shipboard window, no dull sky, no shimmering shield to hide her from her enemies. There was just space– black, cold, endless; brilliant, star-studded; full of discovery and danger and things worth dying for. She was ready to boldly go. She was ready to bravely go. She had thought she would never see another sky and here she was, older than her oldest brother had ever gotten to be, with hands that could defend lives and save them and heal them. The universe was spreading out before her, endless stars lighting the skies of endless planets. She was ready. 

10

Day 23: San Gimignano

I have plenty of photos from today :) It’s a cute little place. Got a chance to go to the highest tower this morning, and it had a stellar view (photos 3-6). Tuscany is really a beautiful place.

Went to a few old churches, and some modern art studios. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take photos of either :( but there was this super cool museum tucked away in a corner of the town. Plenty of old stuff from centuries ago that they’ve preserved. 

Unfortunately, I am not feeling to well :( My stomach just feels a bit nauseous. Soooo, I’m sitting on my balcony catching up on Veep. It’s actually quite nice. Just taking it easy. Luckily, I think I did everything I wanted to do here, so no worries :) Hoping I feel better tomorrow for Florence.

When she is seventeen, her father is found dead in an alley three thousand miles away, and she feels like one of the bullets that punctured his lungs might as well have wounded her the same because all of her oxygen drains at word of his attack. It’s a brutal murder, suspected foul play involving drug lords distastefully handling an unpaid debt, and Maya listens to every single detail as if it makes a difference to her or it’s going to make any sort of improvement to the crippling weight of her emotions.
(It doesn’t and it won’t.)
Lucas is the first one to see her after the funeral. They’d held it in New York, only an hour or so away in his hometown, and Katy claims it was a wonderful service. So many people came that the church was packed like a can of sardines, she had told him.
Lucas isn’t even actually sure what to do when he finds Maya on his bed on that Tuesday night, one of her mother’s fuller bottles of whisky being rocked in front of her eyes in a trance, and he’s always known what to do with her. Ever since they’d become best friends their freshman year, he’s known what to do with her, but with the circumstances, he’s at a loss.
She’s quite the mess, even more so than he thought she would be after Riley wondered aloud if it’s better that her father isn’t around to canoodle with any more criminals or Farkle asked why she even cares what his heart rate is or isn’t because he abandoned her, and so it makes sense that he assumes Maya would drink herself into an oblivion- but she didn’t.
He’s unsure if it’s better or worse that she’s sober when he skims his sight over her knuckles going white, clinging to the liquor like it’s all that she knows.
“I can’t bring myself to actually drink it,” she chuckles harshly, tossing the bottle onto his mattress. “I thought that it would help with everything going on and then some, so I snatched it as quickly as I could, and I ran without a destination in mind, and then I find myself in your bed without as much as a buzz. Aren’t you one lucky cowboy?”
He sits beside her, still cautious to dare to reach out, and he sighs in relief when her weight falls against him, a sense of comfort settling in as her head lulls against his shoulder.
“Y’know, when I was little, I used to cry for him,” Maya shares in a small voice. “My mom used to have to hold me while I asked why he wasn’t home with us, over and over and over again until she started to cry, too. I can remember listening to her leave him voicemails. She’d leave them for his friends and my grandparents and anyone that could get them to him that his baby girl just wanted to tell him goodnight. She would ask if he was proud to make a six year old girl cry herself to sleep, and, one day, he picked up. He answered his phone, and he whispered that he wasn’t, and then he changed his number.
“I tried not to think about him after that. He was living his life, I could live mine, we would both be fine, y’know? But I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop myself, and I tracked him down and I called him. It was roughly a year ago, but I needed to know why he couldn’t love me. I needed to know why I wasn’t enough for him, and he told me that he had a new wife and two beautiful children, a boy and a girl.” She glances up, a bittersweet smile on her lips. “He even named his daughter after me; Persephone Maya, they called her, and I thought that Persephone was a horrible name for a child. He said that he had cleaned himself up, gotten a job, married a wonderful woman. He was making an honest name for himself, and I didn’t tell a soul about it because the topic had died. My deadbeat dad wasn’t gossip anymore, so who would care?”
“I would,” Lucas interrupts, his hand sliding to hers and squeezing it. “I’ll always care, Maya.”
“Yeah, okay,” she snorts, “until you don’t. Until I’m not important enough. Until you marry a wonderful woman, have two beautiful children, and make an honest name for yourself before you fuck up and land yourself in a body bag. And then you leave them, too. You leave your wife and your kids and you break the promise that you made that you’d take care of them. You said that you would love them and you would never leave them, never in a million years would you make them feel worthless and less than amazing, but you do.”
As her words go on, her voice grows weaker. It cracks near the end, and Lucas can see the tears slipping from her cheeks when she mentions promises.
“All I asked is that he would never leave them.” She tilts her head to meet his green eyes, sobs bubbling in the back of her throat. “I had him swear to me that he would keep his honest name, and he would make a wonderful life for his family. He’d go to their recitals and take them to museums and tuck them in every night with a kiss. He’d stay clean, do none of the things he did when he was with my mom; he promised he’d stay clean for them, and he lied to me.”
His arm swings open just in time for her to fall into it, tucking her head against his chest as she struggled to even out her breaths. “I don’t want them to feel like I did, Lucas. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like that.”
He kisses the top of her head, muttering that he knows she doesn’t and that he’s got her now- of course, he does.
He always will.
—  the one where maya wants the world for everyone but herself and lucas has always just wanted her to be happy
10

A collection of images from an event last month, celebrating the 90th birthday of the Tuck Museum in Hampton, New Hampshire. We entertained as historic educators, displaying combat and customs of the Vikings, those same warriors and explorers. Local legends claim that lost or isolated bands of Vikings sailed as far south as New Hampshire, or landed here when they strayed off course from Vinland.

Imagine Hiccstrid on a road trip.

Astrid climbs around the leather seats and from time to time leans over and spins tiny braids in Hiccup’s hair. He hates it, absolutely hates it, when she does this, but never complains - one of the little thing she loves about him. And, just so he won’t stay mad at her, she kisses his cheek every-time she’s finished another braid.

And she’s having the time of her life. They run across a little museum tucked between two tall, rust-red canyons and she buys Ruff a T-shirt. They find a trailer park and they barbecue with some friendly families. 

But the most magical moments come in the quietest moments. They can’t find a single hotel among the canyons so they grab their pillows and blankets and set up a bed in the back of Hiccup’s dark-blue truck.

Astrid curls next to Hiccup and they watch the billions of beautiful stars twinkle faintly in the dark night sky. She blesses every heartbeat she hears through his soft shirt and feels butterflies when he presses kisses to her cheek, nose, and forehead. She feels perfectly warm, perfectly happy, just perfect, perfect in every way. 

For anyone who thinks they are not worthy of love;
I just have to tell you I used to think exactly the same. I used to think my curvy hips and frizzy hair could never be the object of anyone’s affection. I thought I had made far too many mistakes and my words were too much like poison to soothe another human. Now I have a boy who’s very eyes are made of milk chocolate that looks at me with lust dripping from his smiling lips. He holds my hips and softly kisses my quivering lips as if I am giving him breath I do not even have. So please know that some day you will find a person with sunshine in their finger tips and constellations in their eyes that will longingly trace every inch of your skin. They will love every broken cell and place delicate kisses on your wounds. They will look at your Body like a temple used to hold the god they worship. The will worship you through Eye contact and say prayers against your lips. They will see forever written like a novel on your fair and imperfect skin. I promise you this because you are simply a museum of undiscovered art. You are a museum tucked behind a corner on an abandoned street waiting for one unsuspecting art lover to stumble across you. You are not perfect, art never is. Art is beautiful and tells a story like you tell from tear stained bloodshot eyes. Someday soft lips will crash on yours like a meteor hurling from space but instead of shattering you they will fill you up. Slowly with every kiss, they will breath your very being into your empty Lungs. Slurred words will teach you that you are worthy of the space you take up.
4

Thorvald’s Rock, AD 1004– Hampton, New Hampshire

Playing off the “rock in a hole” theme, Thorvald’s Rock is quite a gem. Located at the Tuck Museum in Hampton, this rock supposedly marks the grave site of Thorvald, brother of famous Viking, Leif Eriksson and son of Erik the Red. Although this claim has been disputed for many years, tourists from all over came to chip away at the rock until it was finally put in a hole and surrounded by concrete walls and iron bars. Whatever your opinion, Thorvald’s Rock is worth a view!

2

For Richard Mieier’s new model museum he chose a quiet locale: a converted warehouse building in the post-industrial suburb of Jersey City.

The museum is tucked into the larger Mana Contemporary complex, which houses art studios, collectives, and experimental galleries. Meier’s project is a striking addition to the building’s avant-garde agenda that confirms Jersey City's emergence as a veritable satellite for New York City’s creative community. (A native of New Jersey himself, Meier is also making headlines for his development of teachers’ housing in nearby Newark.)