Forgotten Art: Giuliana – Ayden

A reply to: A letter from Ayden


Dear Ayden.

I’ve been thinking about your letter. I learned a new word: conundrum. Do you know that word? That’s what your letter is.

How come you’re now a dad, and last time you wrote you were a little kid, younger than me?

I’m not that much older, only about ready to graduate from third grade, and before I was in the middle of third grade.

Do you think you’ll still be alive when I’m in fourth grade?


One of my pen pals was alive for a while, and he wrote me a lot then. He was moving really fast, and before I had a chance to write him back, he sort of got old and died. Or something. At any rate, I can still write him, but he can’t write me.

It’s weird.

Life is weird like that.

I was asking Jasper–did I tell you about Jasper? He’s my mentor. I was asking him about time. Because it isn’t fast for me, but it’s fast for you, and it was super fast for my other pen pal, the one that maybe died.

But I’ve got another pen pal, and I don’t think she even LIVES inside of time, because she lives forever. She’s a goddess. No, really.

And then, Jasper and I just got another pen pal together, and he says that “humankind” (that’s us) hasn’t figured out time yet.

Me and Jasper spend a lot of time trying to figure out time!


We’re reading this big book called, “From Eternity to Here: something-something Ultimate Theory of Time.”

For example, the book asks, “How is the future different from the past?”

My answer is, In the future I will be the same me and my heart will be beating in the same way, only I will be made of all different cells and I will be bigger.

Jasper said, “Yup. That about sums it up.”


What I really want to know is, What’s it like for you to be grown up now?

Do you still remember what it’s like to be a kid?


And if you still remember what it’s like to be a kid, does that make it easier to not get mad at your own kids when they act like kids?


Jasper says that he remembers what it feels like to be a kid. But he never had kids. So I wonder, if you have kids, do you forget what it feels like to be a kid?


My mom says she doesn’t remember anything from before she had my brother. So that’s why when I call her up when I’m at Jasper’s and I say, “Mom. We’re in the middle of discovering something, and I can’t come home until we discover it,” she will say, “Supper is in half an hour, Gee-gee. Be home then whether it’s discovered or not.”


No kid would ever say that. A kid would say, “Here! Have some chips! Let’s go chase the moon!” And off we go. That’s what Jasper is like, too, except he says that being friends is a privilege and if we want to keep that privilege we gotta play by mom-rules, too.

So. It’s home at supper time unless we plan ahead and make other arrangements.

Do your kids make other arrangements sometimes?

I guess I gotta go. I want to mail this letter to you before any more of your time passes.

Do you think you’ll be an old man when you write your next letter?

I’m kinda tired of losing penpals when their time is up, so I hope you don’t get old too fast.


Tell your kids that I used to know you when you were as little as them! They will think that’s funny and weird, because that’s what it is.

Bye, Ayden!

Your friend (who’s still a kid somewhere in the past and the future),



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Whisper 1.41

I’ve been spending the days while the kids are at school fooling around with this old chemistry set we’ve got. It’s fascinating!

One day, Bobobo asks me if I’d make him a solution that glowed orange.

“Like Tang,” he says, “but not really tang. You know. Chemicals.”

I add dichromate to a saline solution, and it’s a beautiful sunrise color.

“Perfect!” Bobobo says as he grabs it from me.

He goes into the kitchen, gets something from the fridge, and stirs it in. I hear him humming his Toxic Ray-de-ay-shon song.

“Here, Patches,” he says. “It’ll burn going down. But don’t worry. That’s the price of reality.”


Suddenly, purple explosions and bubbles burst out.

“Bobobo! Look out!” I call.

“‘S’okay, Mom,” he says. “Got it all under control.”


The purple smoke clears, and there, amidst the bubbles, is a little girl.

“Bobobo?” I ask.


“I feel funny,” says the girl.

“Oh, crum,” says Bobobo. “I think I mixed in too much.”


She shakes her head, jumps around a little bit, and then starts to giggle.

“I feel great!”

“But who ARE you?” I ask.

“MOM!” says Bobobo. “It’s Patches. Duh.”

I spend the evening getting to know this little blue-haired girl. She has amazing, long, convoluted stories to tell about the price of admission, but admission to where, I could never figure out.


I’m not able to enroll her in school for the next day, since we’re missing some of the needed paperwork–I figure I’ll call a friend in City Hall and see what kind of special dispensation we can get–so, after the other kids go to school, we spend the next day alone, just the two of us and Zoey.

She is a lovely companion and a fierce opponent over the chess board.


That evening, shortly after the other kids get home, while Patches is still at the chess board, I get that ominous feeling again, and it’s the paparazzi this time. This is the third visit by the Reaper in as many days. It doesn’t get easier.


When it’s over, He turns to me and says, “Mind if I come inside? It’s a bit drizzly out.”

I dare not refuse, though I feel the pit of my stomach grow hollow.


He settles into the rocking chair and waits, while we have supper, while I help the kids with their homework, while I tuck them in. He’s still sitting there when I return.

“I’ve been wanting to talk with you,” He says.


I find this disconcerting.

“You’ve seen a lot of me,” He says. “That means, of course, I’ve seen a lot of you. Yes, we’ve been seeing a lot of each other!

And His laugh is terrifying.

“Do you know that Timing is everything?” He asks. “And Timing is not up to me.”

I listen.

“I can sometimes influence Timing, however,” He says. “Especially when I sense Purity of Intention. Is your Intention Pure?”

I don’t know how to answer.

He waves a bony hand my way.  “No need to speak a word. We understand each other. We have an understanding.

And he laughs again.

He stops rocking and looks at me. “I know what you want,” He says. “I know your deepest wish. You need to know that not All is in my Control. But what I can Influence, I will. All right? Comprende? We are simpatico? Don’t fear.”

And with that, He is gone in a cyclone of sulfur and smoke.

When the smoke clears, I discover that gone, too, is my own fear and dread. I don’t know, exactly, what He has offered me, but somehow, my worry seems to have cleared with the moonlight.

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