Septemus 57

Ready to Bur7t

Septeen2103

I’m back from the pool party. Pops is huge–but at least the baby wasn’t born while I was gone. I was a little bit worried.

Pops looks about ready to burst.

“Thanks for waiting, Pops!” I told him when I got home. “I’d hate to miss the big event.”

Septeen2009

“I just want it over with, son,” he said.

He seems pretty uncomfortable.

“Maybe some dancing will help,” I suggested to him the next morning. It’s what we always do when we wait.

Septeen2007

He seemed to feel a little better once we started moving, and we fell into a quiet, lazy rhythm. I was glad we didn’t talk. I have so much to process. Dancing helps with that, too.

It’s odd to think that I completed my gestation without anyone having to experience birthing pains. I guess the bizaabgotojo simply reached into the gestation pod and pulled me out.

I can’t believe I met her birth-daughter. Whisper must have been born through pain, like all natural-born babies.

I hope I didn’t make a mistake in what I told Whisper. I would have liked her not to know about bizoobi and slaves. I’m glad she knows that her mother was a hero, but I don’t want any of us to know the truth of the world we came from.

Septeen2102

Somehow, they all seem to know, even if their knowledge only leaves them with questions.

I met so many of my siblings, and each one had so many questions.

Whisper needed to know if she’d been born free. Of course she had. Her experience coming here is so different than mine: She lost wide meadows. She lost her mother, lost her father. She lost belonging to the strong and brave community.

What did I lose? Nothing. I only gained.

I feel guilty–I can’t help it. To free me and the others, Whisper’s mother lost her life. She was our bizaabgotojo–but she was Whisper’s mother.

Nothing is worth another’s life. I would have given up mine, if given the choice, for our bizaabgotjo‘s. I wish I could let Whisper know that.

Then there was Paxilla–such a funny pabyu rabbit–she wanted to know why she didn’t sing, like the rest of us. If you’re not lonely, you don’t need to sing, I told her. I’m not sure she bought it.

Septeen2101

Then, my own pagoto. Somehow, we are brothers. I mean, I’m the bagoto to all the pagotogo, but Pabatuotuo, we share a cellular connection. We belong. We’re kin.

He taught me so much. He remembers things, from our origin, I am guessing. Everything surrounding him is filled with mystery for me, except for the feeling of belonging: inna-inna. I feel that in every molecule of every cell.

He has so many questions, and I have so few answers.

I thought back on my conversation with Anakin.

I had felt his presence strongly before he approached. He was reaching out to me.

septanakin01

“Can I ask you something?” he said.

“Of course, Anakin.”

“Do you have to hide away too?”

“Hide? You mean like in a disguise? No. I’m always like this. We live in a friendly community, and we know almost everyone. We don’t leave our neighborhood often, though.”

“My daddy says we have to hide from the people in our neighborhood,” Anakin said, “because it’s too dangerous for us to go out. We have to keep secrets. My little sisters are secrets, but I don’t know why?”

septanakin02
“That must be tough,” I replied. “You can trust your dad, though. I’m sure he’s doing what needs to be done to keep you safe.”

“I don’t like keeping secrets…”

“I don’t either. You know, you and I, we’re gotogo. And you don’t have to keep secrets from your goto. So, you can tell me anything, and it will be safe with me. You can write me or you can inside-talk. Whatever you want.”

“My friend Amber is like us, too,” he continued, “but Dad took us away and says we’ll never see them again coz something happened at out apartment and the bad people are coming to take us away. Who are the bad people and why do they want to take us? Are they going to hurt us?”

I had to take a moment in quiet. I tuned in, as best as I could.

“So,” I began, “there are a lot of scary things in the world. A lot of dangers. And yes, there are people who want to harm others. There are also a lot of really good people, all over the universe, who are brave and kind and who protect themselves and other people. It sounds like your dad is one of these good people, and he’s protecting you kids. I don’t know why anyone would want to take you. There are battles going on, and there are lots of warriors who are fighting the good fight. They fight it with love and with being brave. So even if you feel afraid, you can feel OK at the same time, because of warriors and good people like your dad who are working to keep you safe.”

“My daddy won’t talk about it, but I can see our friend did something to make him angry,” Anakin said. “My friend Amber. I need to keep her safe but she can’t do inside-talk when we are far away. What should I do?”

I felt a shiver when he said Amber’s name. “Amber’s one of us, right? She came over with us. I don’t know about the danger that Amber is in now, but I know that she is free. She wasn’t free before we left. She is one of those that our bizaabgotojo saved. Amber is very brave. It’s OK, Anakin. You will see her again, and when you do, you can tell her everything that you hold in your hearts.”

“I’m really scared.”

“Being brave doesn’t mean that you don’t feel scared. It means that you continue on, even when you feel scared. You’ve got a dad who loves you and who is doing things to keep you safe. You’ll see Amber again–I’m sure of it. And I’m always around. I have to do some training for a while, so I might not be singing as much, but I will always be listening, so you can call me anytime. And you can write, OK, Anakin?”

septanakin03


“You had a good time then, son?” Pops asked. “I was worried it might be too much. Overwhelming, you know, meeting so many at once.”

“It was too much, Pops. Way, way too much. And it was very overwhelming. But it was also what I had to do. I’m a big brother, right, Pops? And big brothers have to be there, ready to answer any questions that come their way!”

Pops told me he thought I might be putting too much pressure on myself.

“Brothers don’t need to know everything,” he said.

I told him I knew that, but we had to try. We had to be available. That’s what brothers are for.

Septeen2006

I felt my new little brother stir inside of him. He’s going to be ready to come out soon!

“Oh, he’s got a big question, Pops!” I said. Pops thought I was joking, but I really could feel the little guy inquiring. “He wants to know what his name is.”

Septeen2005

“Oh, God!” groaned Pops. “I haven’t even thought of a name!”

I laughed. Pops said he thought Xirra and her people would want to name him. I felt pretty sure that, even if they did, we could name him, too. After all, I’ve got two names.

“I know what we should call him, Pops.” It wasn’t spur of the moment. I’d been thinking of it all along.

“What’s that?” Pops asked.

“Octavius!”

Septeen2004

Of course Pops loved it. It’s the obvious name: Octavius Sevens. Eight sevens: 56 – Judi.

That’s a perfect name.

After Pops went to sleep, I took my calculus book out to the park so I could read under the broad sky. Once that baby arrives, and I think the big day will be tomorrow, who knows when I’ll get another chance to study?

The lesson was on the volume of a cone. “A cross-section of a cone is a circle,” I read.

The volume of the cone is 0h A(x)dx = 0h π*[ r(h-x)/h]2 dx.

It’s beautiful. I knew then what the first step in my training would be. I had to be able to perceive a cone around me, forming a boundary between my energy–my emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual energy–and the rest of the universe. I wouldn’t always need the cone–sometimes, I could let my energy fly. But for those times when I needed to protect myself or others, when I needed to keep my emotions private, that cone would do. It was a first step–a baby step–but it’s time had come, and I was ready.

Septeen1907

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Author’s Note: Many, many thanks to AllySim for hosting the pool party and featuring it in her story, Alienated! It’s so much work to have guest Sims over–and to co-write with guest writers–and Ally handled this with such warmth, talent, and grace! The photos of Sept and Anakin at the pool party were taken by Ally. Thank you! (She even posted her chapters ahead of schedule because I was so excited to post these chapters! Thank you! Thank you!)

The conversation with Anakin was co-written with Charliimai, who wrote Anakin’s portion. You can catch up with Anakin, his dad, and his friend Amber over at Sapphire and Amber.

Keep following Meggles’ The Xilla Project and Ny’s Whisper to find out Xilla and Whisper’s experiences at the party, which will be featured in upcoming chapters of theirs. We all had a great time. 🙂 Squeegee!

Septemus 48

Septeen1007

Dear Panda,

I thought I’d write this letter to you in my head and see if you get it. Are you listening?

My pops writes me letters all the time. Sometimes I read them, but mostly I don’t. They’re sitting in a box in the closet, waiting for me. I have this idea that when I am very sad someday, I will pull out the box and read the letters, every single one.

Septeen1006

How do I know I will be very sad someday? That’s just the way life works, isn’t it? We’re happy. Everything is great. And then something happens. Something we’ve always tried to prevent, and we’re sad.

Septeen1005

But it doesn’t last. You know this, right? Even when you’re so sad you think that life might not even go on, or at least not the way that it did before, it changes, and then you’re smiling again.

Sometimes, I like to get mad. It’s a way to make the sadness go a little more quickly. I might yell and scream, “Yo! Yobaska!” You should try it sometime. It really helps!

Septeen912

Anyway, little sister, I wanted to write you in my head to thank you for letting me come visit. I think that might be one of the best times I’ve ever had. Seeing you was something.

Septeen1008

Thank your mum, too. She really is amazing.

I wonder sometimes what it would be like to have a mum. It must be especially nice. I bet her hands feel soft when she tucks you in at night or when she combs your hair. Of course, I don’t have any hair to comb! I do have a scalp to scratch, though!

Septeen1007

If you ever wonder what it’s like to have a pops, you could borrow mine–or you could pretend that he’s your pops. He is quite distinctly awesome. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to have him for my pops, but let me see if I can try, anyway.

Have you ever slept outside in the moonlight, and it feels like the nighttime cradles you in its starry cool fingers? And, at the very same instant, you feel like life is close and safe, while it is also vast and expanding?

That what it feels like to have Sebastion Sevens as my pops. It’s as safe as a cradle and as expansive as the universe.  My pops delivers the whole package.

Septeen1006

Come to think of it, Harmony feels like that, too.

You and I are lucky, little sis. We’ve  got the best in mums and pops.

I hope you get this letter I’m sending! I hope you’ll come see me when you’re a bit older and can travel.

Until then, you know how to find me. Just whistle.

Your brother in all things always,

Sept

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Septemus 47

Septeen906

Dear Sept,

You’re back from visiting your sister! I tried not to worry. I didn’t succeed. I worried.

But you came back safe.  You smelled like garlic, but you were safe.

Not every community is as friendly towards extra-terrestrials as ours is. I had no idea what you’d encounter out there. But you seemed thrilled with everything you found.

“Panda’s so adorable,” you said. “So smart, too!”

Septeen902

I had to ask about the garlic.

“It was Harmony’s doing,” you said. “Do you realize that she’s allergic to the stuff? She broke out in blisters. But she got it to keep me safe when I was travelling back home. And to keep us safe here, too.”

We’ve hung the wreath on the front porch and stored the garlands in the spice drawer. Our home smells like the cellar of an Italian deli now.

“She’s got that quality,” you said.

“What quality, son?”

“That same quality you have. The same as our bizaabgotojo. Where you put someone else’s needs ahead of your own. What’s that quality called, Pops?”

Septeen903

“That’s called being a parent,” I said.

“It’s the luckiest thing,” you answered. “The luckiest thing in the universe is to have a parent.”

You’re sleeping outside tonight. You said you wanted to be out there where you could feel connected to everybody. You’re such a big kid now, nearly a man, but when I checked on you , curled up on the park bench, sleeping out under the stars so you could hook into the dreams of your pagotogo, you looked like that same little kid who was entrusted to me, over a decade ago.

Septeen905

I often wonder what’s in store for you, for your future. Lucas has been coming by often, and I’ve seen the way the two of you look at each other, and the way you carefully avoid looking at each other.

I won’t ask if there’s something going on between you. It will become clear soon enough, and I’m not one who feels comfortable talking about these types of things.

Septeen901

You’re as moody as always. Sometimes, you’ll chuckle aloud while you’re writing, as if life is the greatest thing.

Septeen910

Then an hour later, I might find you looking forlorn.

Sometimes, I ask.

“There’s a lot that’s not right in the world. And a lot that’s not right in other worlds, too,” you said. “What’s the purpose of the not-rightness? Why can’t everybody just be kind?”

Septeen904

I asked if you’d read any Buddhist texts during your forays through the school and town libraries.

You hadn’t yet. I think maybe you’re ready. I know I’ve tried to protect you from suffering and from learning about hardship, sorrow, and danger while you were growing up. And I know, too, that it’s foolish to think that someone, even a parent, can protect a growing child from that.

That’s all part of life. Sure, a parent is someone who puts the child’s needs first. A parent is someone who will do anything–make any kind of sacrifice, even his own life–for the child. A parent is someone who will do everything to protect the child.

But no parent, not even Siddhartha’s parent, can protect against suffering, illness, danger, and death. Doing so would be to try to pull the child out of life–and even if we want to do so out of our misguided love, there is no way we can pull that off.

Son, you’re going out in the world now.  It won’t be long before you come back with all sorts of tales and all sorts of questions.

I think maybe I’ll get a few of my own Buddhist paperbacks from my college days out of storage and put them on the shelf. I think you might be ready for them.

Septeen907

We’re getting to the time where your questions are the sort I can’t answer anymore.

Love you, son,

Your Pops

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Septemus 44

7ibling7 of 7eptemu7 7even7

septteen302

After getting the Geoffrey Letter, I’ve been thinking about my responsibilities to the pagotogo.

Gotogo inna-inna E. We belong to each other.

I feel responsible for all little kids, actually, even those I meet in the park. We’re all goto.

septteen705

But the feeling’s more acute with the pagotogo that crashed here with me. We’re inna-inna. This language doesn’t have an equivalent–except maybe “kin.” That’s a good word.

I would do anything for the gotogo. We form a web through our songs and this, right now, is all we need to keep us strong. But if any of them needed something, I would do what they asked.

Panda has asked me to come see her:

“Bagoto-inna, inna-e-goto.
Please come to see me.”

I’ve already checked with Pops. He says I can go. We studied the light rail routes. It’s easy to get there: transfer at San Myshuno, then take the express direct to Forgotten Hollow. Pops said he’d come, if I wanted, but I want to go alone. Something like this, it’s monumental.

septteen706

I’m glad I told Pops about the trip. I like it better when I can tell him things. I know I can have secrets from him, when it’s needed, but it feels better when I can be transparent.

I have to keep secrets from him regarding Fi. If he knew there was danger around her, he’d feel the responsible thing to do would be to tell Geoffrey, even if that meant that she’d be removed. He puts her physical safety first. But she’s a bizoo, like me. Her soul’s safety is more important. Right now, her soul needs to be with her two. And their souls need her.

“Hiforus.” That’s her latest song.

Here’s what I sing back:

Tii payali-shishili Fi
I sing-listen you.
Fi payali-shishili Ti
You sing-listen me.

Bighouselittlehouse
Twocareandonecare
And I care for you, too.

One of my pagotogo has asked us to sing in words he can understand:

“Use words like these and I sing along. 
Sing to me in words like these, please and thank you.”

I will. But I think, maybe, he would like to also understand Vingihoplo, and, since I’m the bagoto, it’s my responsibility to teach!

Here’s the song I’m singing to him:

Hey, little brother, brother
It’s your big brother
Your black eyes like mine
See black eyes like mine.

septteen309

Sing your song,
I sing along.
Do you hear me sing
When chimes ring?

You are my brother,
Goto means brother.
I’m your big brother
Ba is the other.

Bagoto, big brother
Pagoto, li’l brother.

E inna-inna O means
I belong to you.

O inna-ina E means
you belong to me.

We belong to each other,
EO i’ni EO,
It’s true quite simply for
You are my brother.

septteen310

Pops asked me once if I wanted to bring friends home after school. I guess I could! I never really thought about it. The thing is, at school, my siblings’ songs sort of recede because there’s so much conversation around me. At home, where it’s quiet, it’s a lot easier to listen. Home-time is family-time.

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Author’s note: This chapter features songs from Thymeless’s Pandora, @For_Eorzea/ Summonerd’s Fi, and Allysimbuilds’ Manny.

Septemus 25

sept2504

Dear son,

I’m starting to realize there’s so much about you that I don’t have a clue into. Your inner reality is a mystery.

“Do you know that people are always with us?” you asked me the other night.

“What do you mean, son?”

“Like now! Panda is here! She can see what we’re eating!”

sept2503

“But she isn’t really here, right? Or is she here, but in your imagination? Is Panda your imaginary friend?”

“No, silly!” you replied. “Malika is my imaginary friend! And she’s not really here, only in imaginary ways! Panda is my little sister! And she’s like… I’m like… we’re sintakoo-lacky-si. I don’t know the word.”

panda02

“I don’t know the word, either,” I said.

“Remember when I told you about my first bizaabgotojo?” you asked.

That was a long time ago. I thought back. How did we communicate back then?

“I saw her hands,” I said. “They were blue, right? And I felt them. Cool and soft.”

sept2502

“Right!” you said. “That’s sintakoo-lacky-si.”

“You mean telepathic?”

“I don’t know the word,” you said. “But it’s when we talk in our heads, and we can send pictures, too. But mostly it’s feelings. We send feelings. And then my feelings are in the lacky-si, and the lacky-si can see through me, the sintakoo! Panda is laughing because she can see you, and she says your face looks mishtu–cloudy!”

panda01

“My face looks cloudy?” I asked.

“Yeah! She’s right! Like the sun is hiding! You’ve got eclipse-face!”

sept2501

“No, son. It’s just my mind that’s eclipsed,” I said. “I’m just confused, that’s all.”

We cleaned up our dishes, and then it was time to choose the before-bed activity. We opted for dancing.

“So, these people who are always with us,” I asked, “what’s it like having them there? Doesn’t it ever get, I dunno, crowded?”

“They’re not all there at once!” you said.

sept2509

“Can you ask them to leave if you ever need privacy?” I guess I was a little worried. Or confused. Or maybe both.

“I guess,” you said. “But why would I want to do that? These are my brothers and sisters. I like having them with me.”

I watched you while we danced. You got that look I recognize on you so often, your eyes closed, your mouth in a semi-smile, tuning in. Have you been talking with your siblings all this time?

sept2508

I’m an only child. No siblings. I’ve had a few good friends, but I’ve never had a lover.  I think you’re the only one who’s been in my mind with your mind. I’ve never had much experience with being a lacky-si or a sintakoo, and if it weren’t for your abilities that way, I don’t think it’s something I’d ever have experienced on my own.

I realize that I feel your feelings a lot. You’re an open book, so I always thought I knew how you were feeling because you showed your emotions through every fiber of your body. But I’m realizing now that I know what you’re feeling because I feel it inside of me, too.

sept2507

I wonder if you feel what I feel, too.

I do, Pops.

I wonder what happens to that thing we call boundaries.

They dissolve, Pops.

I wonder what it’s like to live without secrets, openly, hiding nothing and with nothing to hide.

It’s like sintuliyu. Peace. 

sept2506

You looked at me.

SeeSebastion? you said without speaking. AndthiswayIdon’tevenneedspaces,right?

sept2505

I laughed. “You’re right, son,” I said out loud. “But let’s still talk now and then. I like the sound of your voice.”

And you made that blue rose bloom once more.

YourfaceissunnynowSebastion.

“Yours, too, son,” I said.

I like what you’re teaching me.

Your pops,

Sebastion

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Author’s note: You can read all about Panda in Thymeless’s story, Pandora’s Box. Many thanks to Thymeless for he beautiful pictures of Panda and for collaborating with me on this!

Septemus 18

sept830

Moon-Munchkin,

I keep waiting for you to say you want to meet the other kids. I’m getting to know some of their bizaabgotojoto from the forums, and I’ve been telling you all I’ve learned about your siblings.

Most are quite a bit younger than you. I guess some were still infants during the crash and were kept by the agency until they were old enough to be placed in homes. Some were in cryogenic pods during transit and brought out once agency scientists had a chance to test the technology.

Only a few others are in your cohort. One, Cheddah Cheese, is even older. He’s already a young adult. Aging and development seems to happen at different rates. I haven’t been able to find out what causes this yet.

I’ve been expecting you to ask to get on the forums.

So far, you haven’t shown any interest. You’ll eagerly listen to everything I want to share, but you don’t yet want to read the forum posts. I’ve decided that, as with most things, we’re taking this at your pace.

sept829

I guess if there’s one thing I learned in Early Childhood Education courses, it’s that the kid knows: Kids know when they’re ready to learn new skills, try new things, and stretch their boundaries. Often, the best thing we can do as caregivers and educators is to observe, listen, and respect.

I’ve noticed that you spend a lot of time standing on the porch with your eyes closed.

sept820

I asked you about it this evening.

“What are you doing when you stand there, quietly, with your eyes shut?”

You paused a moment before you answered. I could feel you were weighing up whether to tell me and how much to reveal. I can’t read your thoughts the way you can read mine, but I can read your energy and your feelings. And at that moment, you were deciding how much to trust me.

sept828

I put my ego aside for a moment: You’ve got every right to decide to keep some things to yourself. Just because you’re my son, that doesn’t mean I’ve got a right to know everything you do, every moment. Your feelings, your dreams, your ideas, your power when you close your eyes–that’s yours. You decide what to share.

As I was thinking this, you smiled. You closed your eyes, and I felt a burst of blue love. I saw a moon-blue rose open inside, and it shot blue light all through me.

sept824

Iamsingingtoallofthem,” you said. Then you remembered spaces without me having to remind you. “I am singing to all of them,” you repeated.

“All of who, munchkin?” I asked.

“All the bizoopagotogo,” you said.

sept819

“Do they hear you?” I asked.

“Oh, yes! Squeegee!” you said.

sept825

You told me that you don’t sing the black hole song, and you don’t sing the pearl eyes song.

“I sing a song about kittens, sometimes,” you said. “Because, kittens! I like when they purr, and the song’s got a chorus about purring.”

sept826

“That sounds like a happy song,” I said.

“Yeah,” you said. “And I sing about you!”

sept827

I chuckled, and the blue rose inside got bigger.

“It’s really a song about your hair,” you said. “Like, you know Medusa? She had hair like yours, only hers made kids turn frozen-rock. So, what’s the opposite? Hair that makes you warm. Happy hair.”

“You sing a song about happy hair?” I asked.

“Yeah. Kinda,” you said.

sept823

“That’s a little bit weird,” I said. I felt a little embarrassed, to tell the truth.

“No, no!” you said. “It’s a great song!” And you sang it for me, aloud in your echoing, bubbling voice:

“Five hundred black snakes
All tight and twirly,
Some tickle long style,
Some tickle surely!

“When you see black snakes
Tied in a bunch, yeah,
Then you know ‘Bastion makes
Happy fries all curly!”

“Because you always tie your hair back when you cook!” you said.

“This is the song you sing with your eyes closed to your little siblings?” I asked.

“Yeah,” you replied. “They love it.”

sept822

You started laughing then, with your mischievous glint in your eyes. Oh, kid! You got me good on that one!

Serves me right, prying into your sibling songs. You keep them secret, Sept. You kids deserve to have your songs for yourselves.

Your loving, gullible dad with the happy black snake-hair,

Pops

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