It’s a lot more satisfying to cook for two, Jeffrey decided, as he sautéed eggs for breakfast.
Floyd stayed over every night, until finally, J. P. said, “Look. Just stay.” So he did.
One morning, Floyd found J. P. on the second floor, analyzing one of onezero’s paintings.
“I really love this,” J. P. said. “Of course, the composition and colors are nearly perfect–but look at this energy. This creative flow.”
They looked together for a while, wordlessly following the movement of feeling and thought contained in the canvas. It was a painting of the cosmos, and it seemed to express moment of creation, with both fire and ice.
Floyd felt encircled in a feeling of warmth. He had woken with a sense of surety–he wanted to marry J. P. He knew this.
“Babe,” he said, “Give me a moment. I got to get in touch with something inside, and then, I’ve got something to ask.”
J. P. smiled at Floyd’s sincerity. In spite of all his accomplishments as a yogi, Floyd still lived with a divide in heart and mind, and J. P. loved both. They would spend hours lost in intellectual conversation, and then Floyd might say, “Give me a moment,” and he would tune in, get in touch with his heart, and share from the depths of his affection.
For J. P., whose intellect and emotions formed an integrated whole, watching this conscious shift of modalities in the man he loved never failed to interest him. Floyd was like an old-fashioned secretary desk, and each compartment held treasures and secrets that J. P. loved to explore.
“When it’s right, it’s right,” Floyd said at last. “I’ve never been one to hesitate when the moment comes. And the moment’s here. Marry me, J. P.”
“Marry you?” J. P. said. “What makes you think I want a cute, geeky, yogi husband?”
“Um,” replied Floyd, “the goofy smile on your face?”
J. P. laughed, and then, because he knew that some words must be said, he replied, “Yes. Yes, Floyd Cloud. Let’s get married.”
In the evening, while J. P. was washing up the dishes and putting away the leftovers, Floyd saw a little red-headed girl out on the playground.
“Hey, look,” he said. “Is that your little niece Squid that I haven’t met yet?”
“Hey, yeah. It is,” said J. P. “You want me to introduce you?”
“Don’t bother,” said Floyd. “You finish up what you’re doing, and I’ll just go down there and meet her myself.”
Sempervirens was just getting off the monkey bars when Floyd reached the playground.
“Hey, Sempervirens,” he said.
“Hi,” she said. “Do I know you?”
It always seemed like everyone she met knew her family, so she was never surprised when strangers greeted her by name.
“I’m your uncle’s friend. Boyfriend. Fiancé, in fact. That means, I’m going to be your uncle, too!”
“Oh!” she said. “That makes sense! It’s like balance, right? I’ve got one house with an aunt who married my other aunt, so it’s only right that in the other house, I’ve got an uncle who married my other uncle.”
For Floyd, who hadn’t grown up with any family besides a mother who spent more time in meditation than conversation, this instant acceptance into J. P.’s family felt like a long-awaited home-coming.
Floyd was discovering that J. P.’s family was integrated into most of his life. On every neighborhood walk, they ran into someone from the family. The gallery, which dealt mostly in artwork by the family artists, was visited daily by an aunt, his sister, or an old family friend. Even ZenPines, their wellness club, was becoming a family club.
J. P.’s aunt onezero called one evening to see if she could join the club.
“Oh, man,” said J. P. when he got off the phone. “I’m so glad that Sugar suggested we leave a few slots open. I never would’ve thought to ask my aunt onezero to join! She’s always got her own style, and I never really pegged her as a club-joiner, but I’m telling you! We lucked out! She’s going to infuse our club with magic. Just wait! My aunt onez is something else again.”
They called a club gathering to celebrate onezero’s becoming a member.
When Miss Penguin walked by, Sugar got a brainstorm.
“J. P.,” she said, “let’s see if Miss P. wants to join. She’s been here at the wellness center every time we’ve had a meeting.”
Sugar extended the invitation herself, and now, their club was complete.
While the members headed inside to get massages, take steams, and join the yoga classes, J. P. and Floyd lingered outside, wrapped up in their conversation.
“So I never did get that chance to show you that special yoga I was telling you about that night we first met,” Floyd said. “Maybe I could show you now!”
J. P. felt glad that Floyd remembered–so much had happened since they first met, and he felt like this was another example of Floyd’s thoughtfulness, that he’d remember that they’d been interrupted that first time they’d wanted a private steam.
“Don’t mind us,” J. P. said as he walked past Miss Penguin outside the steam room.
“Well, I’ll be,” said Sugar, when she left the steam room to give J. P. and Floyd a little privacy. “I hope my nephew’s not too embarrassed!”
Sugar herself was unflappable. If others were happy, then she was, too.
And when Jeffrey came out of the steam room in time for the energy-centering yoga class, he certainly seemed happy.
J. P. was right that onezero infused their club with magic.
She found the nooks and crannies in the community center, where she would meditate, tuning in to that otherworldly buzz that always encircled her.
While the other club members took classes together, onezero was content to follow her own inspiration.
For onezero, the energy of the club and the wellness center helped to concentrate and focus the inspiration she always felt. The center is in a good energy spot, she realized, and it was easy to tune into the voices of the thousand.
Floyd was impressed by her. He’d met scores of yogis and wanna-be’s growing up as part of the West Coast movement, trailing his mom to seminars, but he’d never met such a clear conductor of the essence of pure being.
I can learn a lot from her, he thought.
“J. P.” onezero said, “I was thinking maybe we should get a club hat. What do you think about these?”
She showed him some photos.
“Animal hats?” he laughed. “I thought I’d escaped the family fashion fad. Let’s think about it, OK, onez? We’ll see how we all feel in a few days.”
“OK,” she said. “But you’ll see. These owl hats might be just the thing.”
During meditation, J. P. felt a wave of gratitude. How amazing that his life could take this shape, allowing him to live in a way that let him express his true individuality, without demanding that he sever his ties to his family. To think that he could have it all, and that his family could be part of this new life that he’d crafted for himself: it was so much to be thankful for.