Tomorrow I’ll give you the box that contains all the letters I’ve written, including this one. I’ve been reading through them. Bittersweet.
Yesterday was your last day of school, and Monday morning, we’ll head to the agency office in Willow Springs to register you. You’ll be a “registered alien,” with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that entails. Our involvement in the program will be over. Believe me, I’ve got Geoffrey’s number on speed-dial, as well as the offices of our senator and local representatives, just in case we need them. I’m none-too-happy about this “registering” bit.
It felt odd looking at the first letter I wrote. I remember sitting at the kitchen table while you were sleeping, and I wanted to explain so much. I wanted to form some sort of connection between you and me, and I didn’t know how to go about it. All I could think of was to write, so that you wouldn’t have questions when you grew up.
I was such a solitary, lonely guy.
I didn’t have anybody. But then, neither did you. You were so tiny, I could have fit you in a tea-cup.
It took us a while to have each other.
There were days when I wondered if I’d ever understand you–if you’d ever understand me. Little did I know you understood me from the get-go!
Ah, this house is going to feel empty when you eventually move out on your own, son. I know that day is coming soon.
You used to wake so angry! Do you remember that? That crooked frown of yours, those gangster eyes.
I never really considered you to be a child. You were never like Octy, speaking baby talk, seeking comfort and cuddles.
You were speaking in complete sentences, in Vingihoplo and our shared tongue, and you had an opinion on everything.
Sometimes, when I look at you now, I see that same little man you used to be.
You’ve got the same grin.
But then you start talking, explaining some esoteric insight you’ve gained, and I am overcome with your eloquence. You’re graceful, son, in gesture, word, and action.
You used to feel so lonely.
I was helpless. I knew you were grieving for Situ, though I didn’t know her name then, nor even who she was nor her role in caring for you. I thought she was your mom.
You missed your pagotogo.
Even as a tiny thing, you’d taken it on yourself to be responsible for them. You wouldn’t rest, or let me rest, until we’d found them.
I read the letter where I wrote, “You won’t have to grow up a solitary kid, like I did, Sept. Not if I can help it.”
I guess you didn’t grow up solitary. These past few weeks, with all your gotogo visiting, we have been smack in the middle of family. You’ve never been happier.
There was one night–you went out and looked at the stars. I think that might have been one of the first times I heard you singing to them. You slept out on the porch that night, Sept.
That was the first time it really sunk in to me how far you’d traveled to get here.
I remember the day I found the bizoopagoto forum. Did you know that Elliot, Emmanuel’s mom, was my first forum friend?
It was your first day of school. I had to bite my tongue not to blurt out the news. But after you told me all about your teacher, Ms. Care-a-lot Sweets, I told you we’d found them.
That was the biggest best smile I’d ever seen.
Since then, your smiles have become a daily thing.
That was all you’d been waiting for, wasn’t it?
Son, do you remember all the hours we danced?
We danced while we waited to find your kin.
We danced when we didn’t know what else to do.
Many times, we simply danced to dance.
Septemus, my son, you’ve taught me to dance through life.
We dance with Octy now.
Soon your dance will lead you away, out into the world, and Octy and I will dance together, waiting on your return.
It’ll be different, but you’ll always be my son.
Thank you for giving me family, for teaching me love, and for showing me something better to aspire to be.