Septemus 39


Dear Sept,

You’ve always been a thoughtful kid. And you’ve always looked like part of you has been tuning in to some frequency I can’t quite hear.

But after my abduction, the times when you listen to those unsung voices seem to have increased.

I don’t dare interrupt when I come upon you listening.


But sometimes, what you hear makes you so sorrowful that it hurts to stand by.


You don’t reveal much when I ask you about it.

“I’m unpacking it, Pops,” is the most you’ll say.

One day, you hopped up to announce, “All right! I am ready! Let’s build that thing!”

You led me out to the tiny tarmac. Per your instructions, we’d ordered 144 sheets of titanium.

Without hesitation, you began instructing me in the construction. We worked for a few hours. By the time we stopped for a break, we actually had something that looked a little bit like the base of a rocket.


“Where’d you pick that up?” I asked you. “From school? From those projects we’ve been doing after school?”

“I downloaded the information,” you said.

“Downloaded? Like from the Internet?” asked Darling, who’d dropped by for a visit.

“Not exactly,” you said. “The downloading part is easy. It’s the unpacking of it that’s difficult.”


It seems the downloading can happen at any time, and it’s not something you can control.

You picked up whole packets of data the other night in the middle of one of our noisy parties.


I’m not the only one who notices when this happens. Miko watched on distraught. I pulled her aside later to tell her you were all right. It was just one of those things.


When this episode passed, you seemed more than all right. You smiled one of your basking-in-the-benevolence-of-the-universe smiles. All is right in the world. I heard you say, “Squeegee,” though your lips didn’t move.


It’s not easy being an extraterrestrial on this harsh planet. It’s not easy connecting with your people ten thousand light years away–or more. What do I know of light years?

It’s not easy living here with those of us who can’t access our own deepest thoughts, feelings, and memories, and so have not a chance of accessing those deep regions inside others.

But here you are. When I see you smile that way, it makes me feel that you are indeed–and will be–all right.

–Your loving pops

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