Septemus 65

A Very Long List


“We’ll have plenty of time to talk,” Xirra said. “Let’s take it slow.”

Somehow, though I felt I’d been waiting my whole life to talk with her, I trusted her. I could feel my body vibrating at a very high frequency–too much more input, and I wouldn’t be able to process it.

We went inside so that she could become acquainted with her son, my mopagoto.

Octavius watched his mom dance, with a big grin.

Then he started dancing, singing inside the whole time.


Momo here!

Mommy come!
Momo here!

Xirra sang with him, saying “Mogoto here! Octy here!” And I joined in, singing “We’re family. We’re kin,” in three-part harmony.

Not since the pool party have I been with so many who can talk-inside. It felt natural, like this is the form of communication I am made for. Inside, we can sing things it might be hard to talk about, outside. Inside, we don’t mind if we get happy-squishy!


Octavius showed Xirra around the house. She seemed to approve of everything, especially Dino.


We were still awake when we heard the singing that signaled the return of the ship. I went outside to make sure Pops was fine.


He seemed all right, only a little dazed.


He went straight to bed. I followed him.

“She wants to stay,” I told him. “That’s OK, right?” It was. “Where will she sleep?” I asked. He shook his head and crawled into bed.

I guessed we’d figure it out.

But she didn’t sleep that night. She stayed up all night, and when I woke before dawn for my morning run, she was finishing cleaning the house.

“You’re the guest!” I said. “You don’t have to!”

“I’m family,” she replied. “I do.”


Pops seemed really happy she was there.

“It’s been a long time, Xirra,” he said.


“Only if you measure time in units!” she replied. “If you measure in waves, it was now!”


Pops didn’t get it, but Xirra and I found her answer hysterical.


“I like having someone here with my sense of humor,” I said, only not aloud.

“I like dancing!” said Octy, also not aloud.

“Your quiche smells delicious!” said Xirra, very much out loud. “Have you got any more?”


Xirra loves to eat. A few hours later, after she’d finished the quiche, she joined me at the table where I was writing. She brought a big bowl of fruit salad.


“I wish we had sweet peaches and mangos at home,” she said with her mouth full. “So juicy!”


“Are you ready to talk?” she said inside.

“I am,” I replied, also inside.


She told me she wouldn’t reveal everything at once. There was too much that I had to know. And some of it was too painful.

We wouldn’t start with the painful stuff.

We would start–and we would end–with happiness.


“We are very proud of you,” she said.

She told me they were proud of all of us. They hadn’t yet found all toui, but they had found enough to know that, while what had happened was never the plan, it had been for good.

“You have a role to play, each of you,” she said inside. “You would never have been able to assume your part if you hadn’t ended up here. It’s something bigger than us, but it’s also something that depends, very much, on each of us, individually.”

She told me to take a moment to list all the things I have gained by living with Pops, all the benefits, strengths, skills, and attributes I’d be missing if I hadn’t grown up right here.

“It’s going to be a very long list,” I told her inside.


“That’s all right,” she said. “I’ve got a little boy who could use some Mommy-time.”

And she joined Octavius on the loveseat, where they watched a Freezer Bunny movie together while I got started on my very long list.


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