Lighthouse: Ever Welcome


When we got home, Sept and Elui slipped out of their disguises and stood before each other in true form.

Leaving them to their reunion, I ran upstairs to greet Mojo. I hadn’t seen him since early that morning, and he misses me when I’ve been away.


Besides, I wanted to give them privacy. For Sept to meet again with someone who’d been on the ship that had brought them here when they were young children, the ship that crashed in the desert, that was a significant event that I didn’t want to intrude upon.


I asked Sept later if they remembered each other. He said they did. They used to play together on the ship, during the passage over here.


“What was it like to see him again?” I asked Sept.

“It’s like activating a postsynaptic receptor,” he said, “the completion of a circuit.”

He has receptors for each of the gotogo who were on the ship. Until he connects with them, something in him feels disconnected. It’s a hole through which a longing escapes, and when he meets them, that opening closes in connection.

“It will be easier for me to be in touch with him now,” he said.

I looked down at them through the upstairs window. They were talking earnestly.


I remembered the letters his dad had written about their early years, when Sept woke crying, full of longing. It was his strongest desire, then, to reunite with the other kids that survived the crash.

“Once I started singing to them,” he said, “and they started singing back–or even if they didn’t sing back, but I felt them receive my songs–it felt less lonely. But this is better. Meeting them is best.”

I asked him what he and Elui talked about.

“Words are so clumsy,” he said. “We spoke some Vingihoplo, but Elui, since he had so much to communicate, used the short-cut.”

“The download?” I asked.

Sept nodded.


“What did you learn?”

“A lot,” Sept said.

I know, by now, that it’s hard to verbalize the telepathic transmissions of data dumps. Translating the pulses of feeling, emotion, and knowledge into words is a long and arduous process.


Elui joined me at the kitchen table. I’d made a fresh pot of tea and set a pot of Sept’s spaghetti sauce to simmer on the stove, filling the kitchen with the aroma of rosemary, basil, and garlic.

I tried to think of an appropriate welcome. What do I say to this stranger who shares so much with Sept?


Sometimes, in those days, when my current reality colided with my pre-Sept reality, the cognitive dissonance toppled me.

This was me, sitting at a kitchen table with an extra-terrestrial, the same Mallory Kraft who half a year before had cracked “alien” jokes, convinced that someone not-from-here would have no comprehension of what it means to be a person on this planet, that someone like that would have nothing to say that would be worth my while to listen to.

I got whiplash from the cataclysm of my old worldview.


Elui began to laugh.

“What’s so funny?” I asked, returning to the present.


“You!” he said. “There you are, trying to figure it all out. It’s humorous!”

He was right, of course. I knew it then, and I’ve known it every time in the decades since, when I’ve found myself stuck in the in-between.


“I’m experienced with shifts and travels. Look,” he said. “Here’s a quick way. May I?”

I consented, and he downloaded it all to me.


He had been looking for… himself. He had been traveling to find himself, and his travels had taken him to the Mainstreamers, and he had done there what had needed to be done so he could come into existence now, in this incarnation, and now he was looking for David. And when he found David, he would find himself.

“But what do the Cookie Store have to do with it?” I asked. “And how can we help? And are we even safe? Did they track you?”


He laughed. “They didn’t track me. I’m the elusive Elui! You’re safe. All I need is a place to rest for a little bit, to do some research, and then I’ll be on my way again.”

Sept joined us while I washed the dishes.

“This spaghetti is amazing,” he said, “even if I did make it myself! Tomatoes! Who would have thought?”

“I have had a lifetime of potatoes and carrots. You can have the veggies, thank you very much. I like the tea,” Elui replied.


“Tea it is,” Sept said. “Help yourself!”

“Tea keeps me sharp,” he said. “And I need to be able to concentrate.”


“How can we help?” Sept asked.

“You’re already helping,” said Elui.

Mojo welcomed him as if they were old friends. Maybe he recognized Elui’s far-away feeling. Maybe he felt like Sept.


Next, Mojo ran to Sept and danced with him, too.

“You are such a good friend,” Sept said to Mojo.

Sept often talks of “the individual.”

“An individual can be a person, a dog, a cat, a goldfinch–”

“A tree?” I might ask.

“Very much a tree!” Sept will reply. “And a home is a place where an individual can be.”


Elui stood on the yoga mat, hands clasped in anjali mudra. Sept, Mojo, and I walked down to the dock to give Elui space and silence, so that he could do what he needed to do, centering himself to continue his search for his missing piece of himself.


Sept stopped at the end of the dock. He gazed past the lighthouse, then closed his eyes.

I’d come to recognize this stance as Sept’s singing, reaching out past the horizon to his gotogo.


I don’t have the ability to hear those songs, though I’ve tried. But I can feel the feelings, the love, the connection, the solace of the songs.


When he finished, he asked me if I wanted to hear what he’d sung. I did.

He sang to me in Vingihoplo, his flutey falsetto echoing into its own harmonies.

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu

Vendrufī gopan
Vendrufī goxan
Sanghi gotukoda
Mokiya gotukoda

Baliyu daschavendru
Baliyu byuvendru

Sala dastaliyu
Sala daspaliyu


And then he translated for me:

Some day
Some night

Come when
Come where
To our safe home
Our joyful home

Ever welcome
Ever sweet, come.

Some day
Some night


He looked so happy, reaching out to all the others, welcoming them to our home. I let myself fall into the cataclysm. This was my new life.

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Author’s note: Who is David? What does Elui mean that he’s looking for David? Take a look at Potatoes and Carrots by Xantheanmar to find out! Thanks to Xan for writing this with me!

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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Septemus 44

7ibling7 of 7eptemu7 7even7


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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 39


Dear Sept,

You’ve always been a thoughtful kid. And you’ve always looked like part of you has been tuning in to some frequency I can’t quite hear.

But after my abduction, the times when you listen to those unsung voices seem to have increased.

I don’t dare interrupt when I come upon you listening.


But sometimes, what you hear makes you so sorrowful that it hurts to stand by.


You don’t reveal much when I ask you about it.

“I’m unpacking it, Pops,” is the most you’ll say.

One day, you hopped up to announce, “All right! I am ready! Let’s build that thing!”

You led me out to the tiny tarmac. Per your instructions, we’d ordered 144 sheets of titanium.

Without hesitation, you began instructing me in the construction. We worked for a few hours. By the time we stopped for a break, we actually had something that looked a little bit like the base of a rocket.


“Where’d you pick that up?” I asked you. “From school? From those projects we’ve been doing after school?”

“I downloaded the information,” you said.

“Downloaded? Like from the Internet?” asked Darling, who’d dropped by for a visit.

“Not exactly,” you said. “The downloading part is easy. It’s the unpacking of it that’s difficult.”


It seems the downloading can happen at any time, and it’s not something you can control.

You picked up whole packets of data the other night in the middle of one of our noisy parties.


I’m not the only one who notices when this happens. Miko watched on distraught. I pulled her aside later to tell her you were all right. It was just one of those things.


When this episode passed, you seemed more than all right. You smiled one of your basking-in-the-benevolence-of-the-universe smiles. All is right in the world. I heard you say, “Squeegee,” though your lips didn’t move.


It’s not easy being an extraterrestrial on this harsh planet. It’s not easy connecting with your people ten thousand light years away–or more. What do I know of light years?

It’s not easy living here with those of us who can’t access our own deepest thoughts, feelings, and memories, and so have not a chance of accessing those deep regions inside others.

But here you are. When I see you smile that way, it makes me feel that you are indeed–and will be–all right.

–Your loving pops

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Septemus 34


Dear Sept,

We’ve become good friends with our mail carrier. You call her our connector-person.

I suppose she is. Through her, I send my books off to the publisher and receive royalty checks.

We could write to anyone, drop the letter in the mailbox, and she’d help it to reach its destination.

“Have you ever thought how valuable your work is?” I asked her when she stopped by at the end of her shift.

“For real, right?” said Gunther. “You’re like a modern day hero. Better than a cop!”


You were listening from the kitchen.

“How many people do you know?” you asked her.

She thought a moment.


“At least two-hundred and twelve,” she replied.

“That’s a lot of people!” you said. “Pops, how many do we know?”

“Not nearly that many,” I replied, though, in actuality, when I think of all the kids I went to school with, all my classmates at college, all of Nonny and Poppy’s friends, the folks I’ve met at the forums, it might be close to that many. Maybe more.

“Think we could invite them all over?” you asked.

“Everyone we know?”

“Sure! Why not?”

“You mean like a party?”

“Exactly!” you said.

I have never been a party person. But we threw our first party. I cast the net wide and invited them all. And most of them came.


Even our mail carrier came, dressed in a striped shirt and wide-brimmed hat.

I was not happy. Too many people in too small a space.


But you were delighted.

“Lucas!” you yelled. “Hi, Lucas! You came! Hi!”


Salim was angry. Some kind of romantic complication, I gathered. I was hoping the couples and triangles would save their expressions of affection for later, rather than stirring up so many feelings in such a small space.

But you seemed delighted by the emotional soup.


You and Lucas disappeared into the bedroom for a while. When you came out, it looked like you’d planned something. He was watching you, and you were watching the crowd behind the door.


Then you both began walking through the crowded room with your eyes closed. Was it a game you were playing? Are you teaching him talk-inside?


I wonder if anyone else there could hear you broadcast your thoughts to them. You seem to have channels that you use. I can only pick you up when you send your words on my frequency.

We got through the party. I was so glad when everyone left. It felt better to have our house to the two of us.

While I picked up the dishes, I heard you singing.

Sometimes, I don’t know how you do it, you manage to sing in two parts. This was one of those times.


In a room with lots of books
and lots of lists hung up on hooks

Star me, star you
Find me, find you


I’m on a quest to look and see
Where are the heroes just like me?

Kedi, Kizuu, 
Have one, have two
I sing
with you
My friend, we two


You have so many connections, my son, seen and unseen. For a solitary rook like me, it makes me happy to know that you are happiest when in touch with all your friends. Maybe if I were a master of talk-inside, I wouldn’t need so much space around me at all times. As it is, all I feel and hear is a distracting buzz.

Still got a lot to learn,

Your pops

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Author’s note:  Pandora’s song was written by Thymeless. You can learn more about Pandora and her mum, Harmony, by looking in Pandora’s Box. Also, why do I always fall in love with the beautiful mail carriers? This one is so gorgeous! Makes me long for the days of casting about for a legacy spouse!

Septemus 32


Dear Sept,

I have rarely seen you this angry since you were a toddler. Something happened today that got you steamed for action. I’ve got to admit: I’m proud of you, both of your response and how you handled it.

Bella stopped by today. She’s become a friend of mine. She knows a few other families in the project, too.

While I worked on a painting, we conversed on the porch, our friend Jack, Bella, and I. You were playing at the dollhouse.

“Of course you don’t have to comply,” Bella was saying, “But it’s for the best. Morty has the best intentions, you know that. And the university, they have the highest ethical standards. They have to, or their funding would be cut.”


I heard you singing softly, to the dolls or to your siblings, so I didn’t think you listened in.

“I’m sure they’ve got their research project agenda,” I told Bella. “And I’m sure they’ve got all sorts of justifications for what they do, ethical and otherwise, but I am not sure that what they’re doing is in our best interest.”

“No, you don’t understand,” Bella said. “There are so many reasons that understanding telepathy–and being able to replicate it or even teach it–will help everyone! It’s for World Peace.”

I had to chuckle at the naiveté of her argument. I half-way suspected she believed it, so I couldn’t really get angry with her.


Jack said it all. “Right! World Peace! Like, as in, ‘Our military and surveillance capacities are so superior that this, of course, supports world peace.’ In other words, your husband’s project is using these kids to learn about telepathy in order to maintain the Dominance of the Empire. That’s what you mean by ‘best interest,’ right, Bella?”

Ouch. I’m not sure I would have been so pointed, but Jack’s never been one to sugar-coat his insights. Especially when it comes to politics.


I noticed you were pacing in front of the porch. That’s when I realized you’d overheard everything.

Thisisnotforanyoneelse,” you were muttering under your breath. “I’mnotbeingtested!


Bella and Jack left shortly after, and Akira stopped by.

“You look upset, Septemus,” I heard Akira say to you. “What’s wrong, little bud?”


I came out to join the two of you.

“Bella says that they want to know how to use talk-inside, and Jack says they’ll use it for World Domination, and Idon’twanttobetested!” you said in one breath.

“You won’t be, son,” I assured you. “Remember? I talked this over with Geoffrey, and he says it’s in my rights to refuse. Of course, it’s really your rights we’re talking about, but my job as a dad is to make sure your rights are respected.”

“Aw,” said Akira. “You’re such a good dad.”

I blushed a bit at the distraction. That wasn’t the point.

“It’s not about me!” you said. “What about my brothers and sisters? What if Bella goes to them and they think, ‘Oooh, pretty!’ and they like the color red so they say, ‘yes, please! Anything you say?'”

I had to laugh. “Your brothers and sisters won’t really think that, will they?”

“No,” you said. “But their moms or dads might. I don’t want her or Dr. Goth to bully my brothers and sisters into getting tested. It’s not right! And inside-talk is just for us. It’s only to be used for good.”

“You know,” said Akira, “when you feel that impassioned, you gotta speak out.”

“How?” you asked. “I know! I’ll get on the forum! OK, Pops?”


“I’ll post the message for you, son,” I suggested.

“No,” you insisted. “It’s got to come from me. Will you make an account for me?”

The forum has a strict over-18 rule. I considered making a Kids’ Korner, but I wasn’t sure my admin rights extended to over-riding the 18+ policy.

While I was washing up dishes, I noticed you on the computer.

“What are you doing, son?” I asked.

“I’m logged in on your account, OK?” you said. “Can I please use it to message everybody? Here’s a place called ‘Telepathy.’ That’s the word you use for talk-inside, right, Pops?”


“Go ahead,” I said. I figured if it was that important to you, I shouldn’t get in the way of you doing what you felt you had to. I could always get on later and explain. “Just identify yourself so they know the message is from you, using my account, all right, son?”

“OK.” You took a deep breath.


Then I heard the clattering of keys on the keyboard. I had no idea you knew how to use the computer like this. I guess you’re on it at school a lot.

“Want to see what I wrote?” you asked. I read over your shoulder.


“That should do it,” you said.


After I tucked you into bed, I came back and left a follow-up message, explaining to the parents what had you so upset. I let them know that I’d spoken to Geoffrey Landgraab about this, and that Dr. Goth and the university project had no jurisdiction over the agency and couldn’t supersede our rights as parents. I shared Geoffrey’s email address, since he’d told me before that I was welcome to, in case any of the parents needed to reach him for support.

It’s interesting to me that this is so important to you. You seem to understand the power of what you kids can do, and it seems vital to you that your power be kept from those who might use it for harm. I wonder how you got that sense of ethical protection–it seems like it’s in your genes. What perversions of power are recorded in your ancestral memory? What’s happened in the world you’re from?

I may never know.

I am so glad you are safe here. And I’m sworn to keep it that way.

Your pops.

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Septemus 30


Dear Sept,

I’m jotting down all your songs. I’ve got feeling you might not remember them, since you sing them different each time.

Maybe when you’re older, and you read this, you’ll enjoy knowing what you sang about when you were a boy.

I think this one might be my favorite.

Moonshine! Moonlight.
Smile shine. Smile bright.

It’s far. We’re near.
It’s dark. We’re clear.


Eat your spaghetti! Don’t forget grilled cheese!
Happy with tofu! How about taco?
Let’s play with dolls now.
We’ll build a rocket.
Come and ride Kizuu,
We’re going so far…. to….


Moonshine. Moonlight.
Will you come with me?

It’s far. We’re here.
Let’s go. Have no fear.

I’ll see you in my dream
You’ll see me in yours.
And when worlds turn and stars burn
We’ll find where our home is…
By the far star…


You’re dramatic when you sing. It’s not showing off, or a Sinatra act, though it looks like one; you do them same even when you think I’m not watching you.

I hope you keep that lack of self-consciousness when you get older. You get so immersed in everything you do.


After breakfast, I heard you sing a song that was different from the other ones you sing. Most of your songs are sort of mournful and filled with longing. They remind me of something that Kermit might sing.

This new one was downright cheerful:

What if the moon were made of cheese?

Would the man on the moon sneeze?



I asked you about it.

“It’s a Rocket song,” you said.

I wasn’t sure what you meant. “Is there more that I didn’t hear that is the rocket part?”

“There’s more–heydiddlestuff–it’s not about a rocket. It’s by Rocket.”

I never know what’s going on in the world of your imagination, son.

“Now I can hear him sing, too!” you said.


Sometimes I wonder just how many imaginary friends you’ve got, singing and whispering to you. More than I can keep track of, that’s for sure!

Just keep on singing, and I’ll keep listening.

Your pops

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Author’s Note: Who else is singing? To find out, you’ll need to read Rainy Dayz’ Alien Adoption Challenge! Many thanks to Rainy for the Grilled Cheese Song! 🙂

Septemus 25


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!”


“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.”


“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.”


“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!”


“My face looks cloudy?” I asked.

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


“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.


“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?


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.


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. 


You looked at me.

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


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.


“Yours, too, son,” I said.

I like what you’re teaching me.

Your pops,


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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!