Septemus 29


Dear Sept,

I’ve learned to trust you to know how best to heal. You’ve been turning to play, like you did when you needed to recover from the trauma of the crash.

I watched you at the house we built together out of Legos.

“I’m so mad!” you yelled in a high screechy voice for one of your dolls. “Everybody hates me, and I’m going to destroy this house!”

You made the doll kick the house, but it remained standing. Again and again, and the house withstood the attack.

“There, you see?” you said to the doll. “Your anger’s not-so-tough! Our house is stronger than the reddest red!”

“How’s the game going, Sept?” I asked.

“It’s great!” you replied. “Nothing breaks that house we built! It’s super strong!”


Wolfgang dropped by later that afternoon. I’d been debating asking him not to come over. But you were all smiles.

“Hi, Wolfy!” you said.


“What are you smiling at, kid?” he growled.

“I’m smiling at you,” you replied.

“What for?” he snarled.


“Just because,” you answered. He almost smiled back.


I might ask him not to come by, anyway. Not for you, but for me. When I asked him how his college applications were going, he swore at me about missing the deadline for the SAT’s, as if it were my fault. I don’t like you hearing that kind of language. I know you weren’t upset. But I was. I don’t like hearing that kind of language myself.


The next day, you were back with your dolls again. You asked me to join you.

You looked concerned.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“She just told me that she’sscaredherhousewillgettorndownagain.


“I think I’ll ask Wolfgang to stay away,” I said.

“No,” you said. “He can come. He needs kind people.”

Then you leaned towards your doll, and you whispered, “Sebastion will fix anything. Nothing goes wrong with Sebastion around. Even if the house gets broken, it’s no big deal. It’s just a house. And Sebastion will fix it. You’re safe with us.”


I’m glad you feel safe. I can’t fix everything, though. Someday, you’re going to have to learn that. I hope by then you’ll be old enough that you’ve got other ways of feeling safe, rather than just relying on me to fix things.

“She’s says OK. She’s not scared anymore. It’s OK to be a little scared, right, Pops? So long as we’re mostly not-scared. And I’m not scared at all.”


Before bed, you played with the creepy-eyed doll that came with your doctor set.

“Sometimes people get mean when they’re not feeling well. Are you feeling OK, Patchouli?”

You listened to Patchouli’s heart.


“It’s just a little indigestion,” you said. “Next time you eat, chew slowly. And think happy thoughts. Like… think about Sebastion’s hair! Or about clouds and moonlight. Or something like that.”

I must have been imagining things because Patchouli looked calmer and more relaxed.


You would make such a good doctor, Sept, if that’s what you choose to do. Sometimes, just listening to your voice helps me calm down.


I’m the one who’s supposed to be making you feel safe and giving you a home, but I swear. It’s you who keeps my two feet on the ground.


Sleep well, now and every night.

Your pops.

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