Septemus 12


Dear Sept,

Sometimes the look on your face is enough to break my heart in two.

I kind of wish I hadn’t told you about the plan to look for your bizoopagotogo. Maybe if I’d kept it all secret, then disappointment wouldn’t color our lives.

A little kid shouldn’t have to be kept waiting.

We still dance to make the waiting pass.


It doesn’t work as well as it used to.


You’ve been having trouble with the atmosphere, now that your limbs are longer. It’s hard for you to breathe sometimes.

The suits the agency sent seem to help.

But there are still a lot of mornings when I can tell you’re in pain.


I wish I could help you more.

SebastionwhatamIdoinghere?” you asked me the other morning.


“Spaces, Sept,” I reminded you. We’ve been practicing with your speech so that it’s easier for other people to understand you.

You took a deep breath.


“Sebastion, what am I doing here?” you asked.

I was feeling happy. Having you around, even when you’re sad, I don’t know, son. It just warms me.

“Right now, you’re dancing with me, son,” I said.


“It’s not what I mean, Sebastion,” you answered. “I’mtalkingbigquestionwhylikewhyherenadwhynotsomewhereelseandIdon’tbelong and where is everybody?”


“I don’t know, kid,” I said. I wanted to tell you about this kid I read about who’s been hacking into government computers, including the agency’s, and posting what he finds on bulletin boards. But I don’t want to get your hopes up.

We keep dancing.


It’s not bad every day.

Sometimes, you sit in the park in the sun, in your white suit, and you look happy and peaceful.


You’ve still got that little toy cat you had as toddler. Kisuuu, you call her, and you ask her all sorts of questions.

I’m glad you’ve got a friend, even if she is made of plastic.


You’ve been with me so long now, that I feel you belong. I never wonder what you’re doing here–or if it was some kind of accident. You’re here, with me, and you belong. And no amount of existential angst you feel could dim the way my heart rises up when I see you, son.

After all, I spent half my life wondering where I belonged, too. And it’s only been since you arrived that that question, for me, has ceased to be.


Your dad,


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Septemus 8


Dear Sept,

We start every morning with a dance. It’s how we wait.

You’ve made a new friend. You call her Kisuuu, and you spend hours playing with her.

Sometimes, she’s a spaceship, and I see fear and worry in your eyes. You always pull back before the landing.


We’ve declared the park next door to be part of our territory.


Whenever I wonder where you are, that’s where I’ll find you.


Sebastionyoucomegetme?” you ask, when you sense that I’m on the other side of the wall, watching you.



Sometimes, you’re just like the toddlers I used to care for during my ECE practicum days.

I smile thinking how little ones are little ones, no matter the species, needing the same love and care and responsiveness to demands.


I feel a little guilty about the happiness you bring me, sometimes. It feels odd to admit this. Happiness is a good thing–and love is best of all.

But sometimes, I can’t help but remember the cost–what it was that brought you here to me.


Sebastionputmedownletmego!” Once we get to the archway at the park entrance, you always ask to be put down.

You tell me to run ahead, and then you come running after me.

SebastionIhome!” you call. You crack me up every time.


We’ve invented a new game we like to play beside the park wall.

I’ll sit on the bench. You’ll sneak up on our side of the wall.

“Septemus,” I’ll say, “it’s story time! Where are you?”

You try hard not to giggle.


“Now where could that boy be. This is such a good story. I’m tempted to start it myself. But then Septemus would miss out. Oh, what should I do!”

Now your giggles are too hard to ignore. But I keep ignoring them, anyway.


“Septemus?” I say, looking up. “I feel like you’re around here somewhere? Are you up there? In the sky?”

SebastionHEREIAM!” you shout with glee when you can’t take it anymore.


I hop over the wall.

“Ah, Septemus,” I say, wrapping you in a hug. “There you are. Were you there all along?”

SebastionIthereallalong,” you reply.


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Septemus 9


Dear Sept,

Life’s been going pretty well for us, if I do say so myself.

We’ve both declared faux BLT to be our ultimate favorite of all time.


“How’s the sandwich, kid?” I ask when we settle down for supper.



“You really like it?”



You always make sure I get plenty of practice with language learning, since you know I’m not as gifted that way as you are.

It’s hard to speak your language when I’m eating, since I’ve got to do that falsetto, gargly kind of thing. But I finish my bite and ask again.

Bizaabgotojo costimotoki-yatopiko bizoopagoto, o si tapi?”


O si tapi. Sebastiondon’tforgethowyousupposedrespond,OK?”

“Ok,” I say. “Oh, squeegee!” Squeegee is my favorite word, denoting thanks in specific, gratitude in general, and all manner of benevolence and trust in the goodness of life.


I often see you, standing on the porch at night, looking out. Usually, when you come in, you seem peaceful and content. So I haven’t been worrying.

So much goes on inside your head–you have so many things to think about. I remember what it’s like to have questions and feelings that surpass the capacity of any words in any language, so I always like to give you space for your silences.


We still do the waiting dance.


You’ve been asking to learn to read, so I’ve pulled out my pack of flashcards from my ECE days.

You’re picking up words well.

Kitty!” That’s an easy one, of course.


The other night, we were doing great. You rattling off word after word.

Then you stopped, all of a sudden, and looked at me with your heart-breaking loneliness.

SebastionIcanreadnow. Whylettersnotcome?”


Oh, baby. Is that why you wanted to read? Because you thought once you knew how, the letters would come?


We’ve got to wait, baby. Don’t worry. I’ll send out more tomorrow.

Your bizaabgotojo,


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