Septemus 23


Dear Sept,

You’re sleeping soundly on the divan while I’m writing. We had a big night at your new favorite place, the karaoke bar.

“Please can we go?” you asked during supper. “I’ll sing your favorite song!”

“What song is that?”

“You’ll know it when you hear it,” you said.

“All right.” It’s so hard for me to refuse you anything. “As soon as I do the dishes, we’ll head out and catch the next tram.”

“I’ll do them!” And you popped right up, grabbed my plate before I’d even finished the last bite, and washed it up, along with the pots and pans.


Ten minutes later, we were sitting in the first seat of the tram, watching the city lights coming ever closer, and half an hour later, I was listening to you sing, “Here Comes the Sun.”


All it took was hearing your high fluty echoing voice singing, “Little darling! The smiles returning to their faces,” for me to realize, yes. This is my favorite song.

Thankyouverymuch,” you said as soon as you were done. “I gotta say hi to Molly!” And you dashed out of the room.


I found you talking with the bartender.


“Does this belong to you?” she asked me.

“Well, not exactly,” I replied. “Septemus is very much his own person. But we came here together.”

“That’s OK,” you whispered to me. “It’snotliteral. It’s just a way of saying that I’m your son.”

Molly chuckled.


“You’re a very nice person,” you said to Molly. And you hopped up and grabbed all the dirty glasses and appetizer plates from the bar, and whisked them off to wash them.

“Is he always this helpful?” Molly asked.

“Actually, yes,” I replied. “But I also think he wants to be sure he can come back here anytime he wants. This is his new favorite place.”


It got late quickly, and we had to head out to catch the last tram home.

On our way out, you stopped to talk with a vendor.

“Do you really grill the garlic at the spice festival?” you asked him. He was wearing a spice festival garlic hat and apron.

“Actually, no,” the man replied. “I am, actually, very allergic to garlic. Can’t get near the stuff. This is just, you know, regulation.”


“Say,” said the man. “Do you have a little sister? Or maybe cousin?”

“Oh, I have loads of brothers and sisters!” you replied. “Ninety-nine, to be exact. Why?”

“Do you have, maybe, a little cousin named Pandora?” he asked.

“Pandora?” you replied. “What’s her number?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said. “Her name is Pandora. She’s my neighbor. She looks a lot like you.”

You got quiet.


“Yes, she’s probably my sister,” you said at last. “Tell her that Ruki says ‘sintu liyu.'”

The vendor walked off to the Forgotten Hollow station, and we got in line with the folks at the Magnolia Park/Willow Creek stop. You looked around at everyone, dressed like they’d just stepped out of a costume party.

“You know what, Pops?” you said. “I love the city.”


Oh, son. I hope this world remains a place of friends and friendliness to you, always.

Your pops,


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Septemus 22

Dear Sept,

What a night! I’m guessing when you read these letters, ten, fifteen years from now, you’ll remember this night.

This was the night you discovered your new favorite thing in the world.

Miko invited us to join her in the city. As soon as we got off the light rail, you said, “What’s that?” and you took off for the karaoke bar.

We could barely keep up.

You headed straight into one of the rooms, hit the ON button on the machine, and launched into your number.

Your song went like this:

“Look around!
Look around, little ones!


“It’s a big world,

“Big world,


“Look up, little ones!
Look up! Look up!

“It’s a big sky,


“A big sky,

“And you might feel
Kinda all alone
Like you wanna cry
Sort of lonely sigh..

“And sometimes
People do die
And you’re all alone
And you’re only one.

“But don’t cry!
Little one.
Because you’re not alone
‘Cuz I’m here
And we’re near

“And it’s a big world!
Little one.


“A big world
Just begun…

Little one.”

Miko and I applauded.

“Oh, squeegee!” you said. “Thankyouverymuch!


Miko sang next. She sang “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but she turned the tempo to slow and really drawled it out.

I liked her rendition of it. It was mournful in a meaningful kind of way. Existential. I’m not so sure you enjoyed it.

“Fun is sort of boring, isn’t it?” you said to Kizuu.


You can Miko both insisted I sing next. I didn’t really want to. But no one else was there–just you, Miko, Kizuu, and me.

So I got behind the machine, made my selection, and crooned my tune.

“Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man, look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man, wonder if he’ll ever know
He’s in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?”


“Now that’s music,” you said. “Right, Kizuu?”

And Kizuu answered, “Meeoright!”


I like singing for you, moon-munchkin.


Your Pops

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Author’s note: Hat-tip to David Bowie for Sebastion’s musical selection, “Life on Mars.”