Septemus 59

It’7 Octaviu7 7even7

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The baby’s here. I thought I’d feel jealous. I mean, he got to have what I’ll never have: an actual birth parent. Baby brother got his umbilical the honest way. He was born with it.

We are already talking. True, he mostly communicates feelings, but what feelings they are! There must be nothing more pure, more strong, than a baby’s love.

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“Why do you love your big brother?” I asked him.

He cooed and giggled. Then he sent me wave after wave of memories he had while he was inside of Pops of me talking, singing, touching Pops’ belly. Ah, no wonder! We are already bonded.

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I can’t be jealous of a little guy who loves me!

“You’re gonna do great things!” I told him. “Even if all you do is sit in a chair and think, you’re gonna be great! You are great already.”

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I love the color of his skin. It stirs memories in me–I don’t know what memories they are, or where they come from. Some feel like soul memories, from long ago lifetimes when I was blue like that, living in those wide purple meadows, singing with my gojotugo in a circle under seven moons!

Some feel like cellular memories, stirring in the spaces between the nucleus and the cytoplasm. Pabatuotuo awoke this body to the memories of its cells, and now, with this brother, these cells’ songs find lullabies from ages’ past.

It’s like everything I know: How do I know it? It’s lying latent in me, ready to awaken when stirred by stimulus.

The ancient song of wind and leaf:

Shishi shésti.
Shésti shishile.

Tharistei situkoda
Steithari miki.

E payake.
E payake.
E paya-shishi O.
E paya-shishi O.

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I have a brother to sing the old songs with, and he is a blue I know in my soul, and he comprehends the old hoploho in his bones, in his cells, and he will sing with me in the spaces we share inside!

E inna-inna Octy. Mopagoto.

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Septemus 5

Dear Sept,

We’ve been spending a lot of time practicing talking.

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At first, it was challenging for me to make that high, echoing sound like you do.

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But once I discovered that if I spoke in a falsetto, and sort of filled my mouth with saliva and kind of gargled while I spoke, you seemed to think that I was intelligible.

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You’ve been teaching me all sorts of words.

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Slicodoxnipaya,” that’s for a large-winged bird that soars, like a hawk or an eagle.

It helps that we’ve been developing that style of visual mental communication.

I get a flash of an image, you say the word, I repeat it.

Your smile is the best reward, but even without it, I’d still enjoy learning.

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Your language is fascinating.

I like the syntax especially: noun-verb-verb-noun.

There are no objects: both nouns are subjects. Every action is met with an action.

This way of thinking promotes agency: I give-receive you.

Bizaabgotojo sopastillo-sacastillo bizoopagoto. The parent bathes-scrubs little kid.

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Bizoopagoto spaskitaka-sploshtoki bizaabgotojo. Little kid splashes-soaks parent.

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Beginning to develop the ability to communicate helps. But I still don’t have all the answers you want.

I understand what you’re asking now, even without the mental images you’re getting so good at flashing to me.

I still don’t know where your brothers and sisters are. Ms. Snyder wouldn’t say.

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Neither would her superiors.

“?Bizoopagototogo-sipaxni-sitakni stallada? “

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Yes, I know that means, “Little kids go-empties space.”

But I don’t know how to tell you that I don’t know where they are.

“How do I say that I’ll keep looking?” I wondered.

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Then I thought for a while, as you waited, looking at me with expectation.

Bizaabgotojo spiya…,” I tried, “Er. Bizaabgotojo spiyataka-spiyokaya, um, spikayti bizoopagotogo.”

Sebationnoaccentgoesonsecondsyllable,” you said.

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I repeated, “Sebastinnoacc— Wait. Did you just say, ‘Sebastion, no. The accent goes on the second syllable?'”

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You laughed.

You little stinker! Do you mean you’ve been understanding me all along? What, did they have language tapes on your ship that you all listened to when you voyaged here?

I tried again, putting the accent on the second syllable in bizoopagotogo.

“OK,” you said, in your tiny echoing moon-river voice.

And we went inside for grilled cheese.

“I’ll keep looking,” I told you again, when I tucked you in for bed. “And I won’t stop until I find them.”

Oh, squeegee,” you said, as you fell asleep. And while you slept, you smiled.

Sleep well, my bizoopagoto.

Your bizaabgotojo,

Sebastion

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Forgotten Art: Meadow’s Profile

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Name: Meadow McCumber

Select your age bracket: 25-32

Profession: Other

If you selected “other,” please describe: I am a human being. My vocation is to live, deeply and fully, in such a way that the world is better because of my actions, thoughts, and endeavors. (Ugh. That sounds so presumptuous. I’m sorry. I don’t know how else to say it.)

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How many pen pals are you interested in acquiring? At present, I have the time, energy, and interest in corresponding with two to three others.

What qualities do you seek in a pen pal? I have a very practical purpose in joining this project at present. I’ve just adopted a Pakistani orphan. I know! They always say that adoption isn’t the answer to the refugee crisis! Believe me. I had to think this all the way through from every angle and back again. But after all the thinking, I looked in the eyes of my friend Jordan, who works with a refugee agency here in Windenburg, and I had to reply, “I’ll take her.”

So now, Jena lives with me.

And I have absolutely no idea what to do.

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So, I guess the qualities I’m looking for in a pen pal would be:

Wisdom

Patience

Encouragement

The ability to talk me down from the ledge when I’m freaking out

Common sense

Understanding of children and of the process of being an adoptive mom

Expertise in early childhood development and how to best nurture these little ones

I’d also love to find a relative of Jena’s or someone from her culture of birth, so that she can feel some connection to her heritage.

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Do you have a desire to meet your pen pal face-to-face? Sure, if the opportunity arose! I would love for them to meet little Jena, so they could help me understand her better!

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Please describe, in as much detail as possible, your reason for wanting to join the pen pal project: Let me tell you a story, and this will help you to see why I want to write to someone who knows about very young kids.

The other morning, Jena and I were sitting in the living room, talking.

Now, isn’t that weird? I mean, she’s two! She’s still in diapers.

And there we were, carrying on a conversation, as if she were an old college chum.

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But the thing was, I couldn’t understand a word she said.

She just spoke on and on and on, in baby talk. And I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

I pretended like I understood her, but it became evident when our conversation was finished, that she felt disappointed. I’d missed something essential that she was trying to convey.

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What do I do in situations like that?

I really need someone to tell me.

We went into her room and I read her a story. I got so engrossed in it that I forgot to read aloud. See what I mean? I’m hopeless as a mom. I need help!

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When we finished reading, I knelt on the floor and she walked up to me, looking like the angel she is.

I could see in her eyes that she was trying to communicate with me.

But all I could hear was, “Ti solly tee! Ti solly tee!”

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“I’m sorry, Jena,” I replied. “I don’t know what you’re saying.”

She looked so crushed. We need help, this baby and me. She has so much to tell me, and I need a way to understand.

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