L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book Two


© Sean G. O’Leary 2020

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. The author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by the fictional addressing of sensitive personal or social issues. This book is not intended as a substitute for the advice of medical or spiritual professionals. The reader should regularly consult an appropriate, recognized professional in matters relating to his/her physical and/or emotional health, particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or attention.

Preface to L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book Two

After releasing the celebratory 50th anniversary printing last year, my editor finally convinced me to write a sequel to the original work of 2019. The consensus was that many of my readers continue to express considerable interest in more details of the abilities enjoyed by myself and my associates; only touched upon in the Epilogue of the original. Many requested more stories of my Grandson, Turner, about whom we like to talk in our book tours, which are now world renowned. Unfortunately, mostly at an arm’s length; but to those many who have confidence and trust that we are being truthful, L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book Two, to follow, is dedicated to you.

This Preface provides short synopses of where we all are today and an explanation of the methods used to write this second book. We have tried not to cover material from L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book One, here; so your familiarity with the original work will be required for you to understand allusions throughout.

My cat, Josie, is long gone, over 35 years ago now, but, as any pet owner would understand, her presence has never left my heart. I put her body to rest in 2032 at the ripe old age of 21; less than a year later, I did the same with mine, but at a much riper age. Since that time I have been “snapping back” to Turner when circumstances force the issue.

Val died 8 years ago at the age of 80; Terrance followed a year later, aged 81. Though she had exhibited Meta-Skills under extreme, emotional circumstances, she was never able to develop the ability to call on them deliberately, nor to stably exist outside her body. Terrence was not aware if he had ever exhibited such over his lifetime, and was unable to ever develop them.

Hunter followed in Val’s footsteps and studied law. He has been representing Legacy Corp. for over two decades; over a decade of which with his mother by his side. He has never exhibited or developed Meta-Skills. He is now 57 years old, married with two daughters. His oldest, Val (my first great-grandchild) gave birth to her first child 2 years ago. She named her Shadia; Hunter’s first grandchild and my first great-great-grandchild.

I haven’t investigated nor personally confirmed anything about the concept of reincarnation and I certainly don’t propose to have any spiritual insights into the subject, at this time. But, Shadia is the spitting image of her late Great-Grandma. In addition to identical photographs of the two, over 80 years apart, her mannerisms are exactly as I remember my daughter Val’s to be when she was a toddler. Her smile; her walk; her voice; her favourite toys; her fascination with the piano; and her larger than life presence and ownership of her environment; are all the same. The final detail that influenced me to think along these foreign lines is the fact that it was she, Shadia, who started humming her Great-Grandma’s melody to her mother, Hunter’s daughter, the first day she breastfed. And, indeed, it was under those very circumstances that Shadia first “communicated” to her mother.

I will be keeping my eye on Shadia in the hopes that she may shed some light on new spiritual knowledge in the remote possibility that she could be some incarnation of her Great-Grandma, Val the First. I am open to the possibility that these coincidences may be explained genetically, anthropologically, a combination of the two, or otherwise. Still, I personally hope that we discover new spiritual understanding that confirms she is back in our lives with a new little body. If I have learned anything over my many years, it is the capacity to entertain the possibility that things don’t always work the way I’ve been educated to believe.

When Turner was 8 years old, he and I established a way to be together in his body; a gracious welcoming that will be described in a later chapter; most of which procedure was provided by him. That being 47 years ago, at this writing. Turner is now 55 years old and an accomplished writer in his own right; among many other skills, as you will soon discover.

He has never married, per se, but has been living in a common-law quadruple for the last 30 years. All of whom are Meta-Prodigies except for one. Though they are really six couples when all permutations of their actual relationships are considered, under the law, for tax purposes, they are two, common-law husband-and-wife couples; with two twin daughters and one son; all living under the same roof. They most definitely are a family and are a genuinely wonderful “bunch“ (as I call them).

In the third person, the husbands call each other “husband” and the wives call each other “wife” but the interchanges between opposite gender partners is always conducted by name; or, in all other cases, relevant pronouns. The bunch had originally been hoping to marry once the church and state agreed to multiple brides and grooms; but after 30 years together, it’s of no real concern for them anymore. And moot in that no such agreement has ever been struck.

I’ve spent many hours getting to know them all, through Turner’s limitless welcome into his life. I have inadvertently “snapped back” to Turner a few times under delicate circumstances within the bunch as well as some hilariously comedic ones. They have always been aware of my presence and have expressly extended me the same welcome as Turner. I have come to love all of them; and a number of times I have shared bodies with each of them; though, to date, I have only ever “snapped-back“ to Turner. After one particular instance of sharing the body of one of his wives; who is a professional musician and an accomplished artist in a number of other mediums; she announced to the bunch that we were now a quintuple. Turner never tires of getting mileage out of that, nor any of the bunch, for that matter!

In addition to their activities at Legacy Corp.; Hunter, and Turner chair and manage their own corporation, Core Resolve Corp.; along with his husband and one of his wives. Turner, of course, came up with the obviously recursive and homonymic corporate name!

This is predominantly an organization that provides practical strategies and legal representation for conflict resolution. Hunter wrote the charter for Turner’s brainchild and has his main offices there; from where he oversees all legal activities of that corporation with a large staff of specialized lawyers.

Turner is in the process of writing a book, illustrating some of the unorthodox (but legal?) methods he has employed to fulfil their mission statement. But it is a slow process as only those cases wherein the hiring individual or corporation must be either dead or defunct, respectively, before he can comfortably (and legally?) fictionalize the details of what Core Resolve Corp. did for them. Though, for him, almost everything is fluid.

Turner made a special request that I write this, L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book Two, and I quote, “… in a homological and recursive tribute to both the name of the work and the name of our corporation, in the spirit of acronymic foundations.” I laughed so hard, his stomach hurt! I didn’t follow his meaning, exactly, but displaying his 8-year-old “mastery” of the language (at the age of 55), he knew, would throw me off. The contrast between his current writing (and speaking) style and this, is worlds apart.

He explained after I settled down, “We can both write it, but you do all the typing, with my fingers. That way we are writing it in legacy form with you as the author, but at the same time, we are both writing it. We would just have to establish some ground rules and wing it until it smoothens out. I can tell my stories and you can write them. Plus, I can add my spin to your thoughts, or vice versa and you can write it in some fashion to let the reader know who‘s saying what.”

Everything is so simple for Turner. Nothing is ever a problem. I would have approached this with a long list of questions, the answers to which would be the foundation for an even longer series of “necessary” experiments. Turner, on the other hand, has an unbreakable certainty that everything will work out, and dives in head first; often after grabbing anyone in arm’s reach and taking them with him.

Suffice it to say, we launched into writing this second book, together, in the most intimate and literal meaning possible. Without a real plan and in ignorance of any “ground rules”; the necessity of which, Turner dismissed as overkill. The end result is that we are completely winging it.

He explained further, “The reader will appreciate the opportunity to see the development of us working together in its raw form. We won’t let it take away from the content. We’ll do the exact opposite and enhance it. Eventually, they will be reading with two minds, imagining your spin on this and my spin on that and, ultimately, get a taste what its like for us to be together.” How could I argue with such insight and confidence from someone who had the love and admiration of all humankind as his driving force.

I suggested we start with a little more of his own history before we got into some of the adventures that brought us to where we are today. I asked him to select a font that I could use to represent his voice in the text. “Wonderful! Helsinki. Let’s do it!”, he shot out in his quick, exuberant manner.

What follows is as unknown to me, at this moment, as it is to you. Enjoy.

Chapter 1 – Witness

It is difficult to talk about myself without bringing up the subject of my Mom. Much more than a single book would be required to give you an approximate scope of the love we shared. But my purpose for showcasing her here has to do with my own history. I’m one of a handful of people I know who developed Meta-Skills as a child. When we meet for the first time, our first question to each other is always, “How did it happen for you?” That’s what I’d like to tell you about now.

I was 3 years old, in a stroller that doubled as a car seat. I could walk at the time, but it was more convenient for Mom to stroll me around instead of carry me, to keep me safe. I understood that, at the time. I had already experienced the trauma of being separated from her in unfamiliar territory, so I was not complaining. Hunter had already started school, so she had to take me everywhere she went; yay school!

Mom and I had just finished grocery shopping, she was putting the groceries into the car and I was babbling happily about helping her like Hunter did; she didn’t seem to understand. I un-strapped myself from the stroller and hopped down; one of the straps hitched the brake lever and freed the wheels. The stroller swivelled and headed off away from the car as another car was exiting our row. Though I wasn’t aware of it at the time, Mom must have taken in the series of sounds she heard in horror. She screamed my name and whipped around so fast, she missed that I was standing directly behind her. All she saw was the back of the stroller, rolling out in front of another vehicle, about to flatten it.

Then the stroller came back to her as the driver of the vehicle slammed on the brakes. It came directly back to her outstretched hands; she spun the stroller around and realized it was empty.

I had started squealing in excitement, clapping my hands and jumping up and down; laughing and giggling. I had never seen anything like it before, but I was completely certain that I would learn how to do that, just like Mom. She didn’t even need to touch things to make them move. No one told me we could move things that way!

When she heard me, she spun on one heel and snapped me up to her chest. She squeezed me so tight I had to squiggle to give her the message. She loosed her grip but kept swaying back and forth, humming the song she usually did when she wanted me (or Hunter) to quiet down. I loved that song, I nuzzled into her and hummed along.

Over Mom’s shoulder, I could see the man in the vehicle who was looking out his window at us with his mouth wide open. I misinterpreted that; I thought he was amazed at how much my Mom loved me. I pulled my head out of the crook of her neck and beamed the biggest smile I could at her. She returned an even bigger beam, then put her hand on the back of my head and gently pushed it back onto her shoulder, still humming and swaying. I felt safe, comfortable and loved.

The empty stroller had rolled back out into the middle of the row again, in front of the man’s vehicle. He got out, strolled it back near our car and locked the wheels. I smiled at him for doing such a helpful thing, but he didn’t smile back. I considered he was jealous like Hunter was sometimes. Mom turned, smiled and thanked him. I turned toward him, still in Mom’s arms, and thanked him too. Mom then said something about gusts of wind and laughed (but not her usual laugh); he just walked back to his vehicle and drove away. He still hadn’t smiled and hadn’t even said, “You’re welcome.”! I no longer thought he was jealous, I thought he was unhappy and maybe angry.

Mom strapped me back into the stroller. “Stay in that seat. I will let you out when we get home. Do not get out by yourself.”, she said to me; her voice was a little strained. My smile faded slightly from her strange tone of voice; she smiled fully again, wetly kissed each of my cheeks and tickled me a little. I giggled and wiped my face. She detached the carrier from the wheels and belted me into the rear passenger seat with triple-checks. She finished storing everything in the car and headed off.

As we drove home I imagined myself moving a bag of groceries out of the car for her like she had moved the stroller, just by looking at it. Getting things from high shelves for her, like Dad often did. Passing the big plates of food, like Hunter was allowed to do. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t do this all the time, herself, anyway. I assumed there must be special rules that applied, like only jumping on furniture when there weren’t any visitors in the house; and only jumping up on Mom or Dad, but never on Grandpa or other guests. Maybe Dad and Hunter (and Grandpa) could already do this, and the rule was, you could only do it if you were alone, together, or something like that. I knew I would figure it out. I decided, at that moment, to only do this with Mom until I understood all the rules, she would let me know. Then, maybe, I could show Hunter and Dad and Grandpa. The idea that I would not be able to learn how to do it never crossed my mind.

When we got home, Mom locked the front door and all the windows on the ground floor. I couldn’t remember her doing that before. After she got the groceries from the car, she locked the door in the kitchen that led to the garage, too.

She unlocked the door that opened onto to the back yard and gently shooed me out with a kiss, as she often did. “Stay in the yard.”, she added as I hopped down the step. She rarely reminded me about this rule. But I already knew it within an inch of my life; having already come under the double-barrel, tandem tanks of Mom and Dad; looming, loaded, and locked-in on my small body; standing on the sidewalk, on the wrong side of the fence. Like a traitorous defector from my homeland; guilt ridden for having thrown suspicion on my comrade, Hunter‘s, ability to keep me towing the party line. I didn’t want to come under threat of fire from that apparatus ever again!

I played there until Hunter came home from school. He bounded off the back step toward me, excited, I hoped, to tell me about new words that he had learned in school. My vocabulary was almost as good as his 1st grade level.

“Mom told me to tell you she loves you and to give you a kiss but she told me that she loved me first and kissed me herself.”, he said, almost every day. Then he kissed me on the forehead. I could tell very early in life that he was a little jealous of me with Mom, but I never engaged him on his harmless prods. Mainly because it was true, he was born first, so she loved him first; it was simple in my mind. Hunter never let his “broken nose” interfere with watching over me or sharing his added 3 years of experience and knowledge; or, indeed, loving me. He was the best big brother a boy could ask for. I am thankful and have loved him for it, all our lives.

Then he busted out with a new word he had learned that day. “Synthesizer”, he told me, “It’s looks like a small piano, but you have to plug it in and when you play it, like a piano, you can make it sound like a guitar or drums or anything else you want.” I was amazed and grilled him about it; getting all the details I could. And picked up some new words for instruments I never knew existed. Each of which he gladly explained to me without an ounce of impatience.

When we heard the garage door opening we knew Dad was home. Hunter flew up the step, through the back door and I followed slightly behind with my shorter leg span.

Dad had just come into the kitchen and kissed Mom, he then kissed Hunter and me; he said each of our names as he did this. His smooth, deep voice always calmed us all down like a Gregorian choir. I felt the warmth of his kiss and love, but he barely took his eyes off Mom as she walked over to the door that led to the garage and locked it. He went to her and asked, “What’s up, darling?” She embraced him and laid her cheek on his chest, “I’ll tell you later, love.” she said and turned her face up to his so he could bend his head down to kiss her again; they disengaged. Dad started rummaging in the fridge to get dinner ready and Mom shooed us back outside.

Dad usually called us in for dinner through the kitchen window. Today he stepped out onto the back step and called us. When we got to the foot of the step he asked us to sit down, then he jumped over us, turning in mid-air so he was facing us when he landed. It always amazed me how lithe he could be with such a massive body. He crouched down, eye-to-eye with me, “You remember the promise Hunter made about the bicycle, right?” he asked me. “Yes.”, I replied. “Good. And Hunter has never broken that promise, has he?”, he continued. “No.”, I answered, shooting a look of admiration and pride at Hunter. “Good. I need you to make a promise with me, your Mom, Hunter and Grandpa, then keep it like Hunter does. Okay?”, he went on. I felt excited about being “big” enough now to make a promise with grownups! “Yes, Daddy!”, I told him, waiting for him to tell me the promise, forcing my body to sit still.

He laid it out for me, “If me or Mom or Hunter or Grandpa puts you in the stroller seat, you won’t get out by yourself. You will only let one of them take you out. Okay?” I knew this was important but I didn’t want to break any rules on a promise. “What if something is squashing me in it?” I asked. “Well, that would be okay.” he said. “And, what if it’s on fire?”, I asked. “That would be okay, too.”, he answered. “And what if the car crashed?”, I put out the last of my exceptions. “Yes, that would be okay, then, too.”, he assured me; each of his answers were delivered with a calm and genuine interest for my concerns. “Okay! I promise not to get out of the stroller unless you or Mom or Hunter or Grandpa take me out. If any of my things happen, I’m allowed to get out on my own.”, I said, putting my left hand on my chest and raising my right hand, like Hunter had taught me.

“Wonderful!”, he boomed out. He took me by the shoulders and moved a little closer to me. “Now, you know that you have to keep your word and not break your promise, right?”, he asked me gently and quietly, but I knew he meant business. “Yes, Dad. I made promises with Hunter and I keep them all; right Hunter?”, I looked at my brother for confirmation. “That’s true, Dad.”, Hunter confirmed. “Okay, then. Let’s go eat.”, he finished. He scooped me into his arms and ducked back into the house following Hunter.

I was definitely figuring things out, I thought. Mom had obviously told Dad about what had happened today, so that meant (to me) that Dad knew about what Mom could do. And if Dad knew Mom could do it, then that probably meant it was okay for him to do it in front of her, too. But why not everyone else? Well, I was getting close, I was “sure“ of that. It was like everyone had to keep the secret between each other, I had deduced. I would find out as soon as I could show Mom that I could do it, then she‘d explain the rules.

This doesn’t complete the answer to the question, “How did it happen for you?” But, for me, this was the event and surrounding circumstances that triggered my manifestation and development of Meta-Skills. All under the assumption that probably everyone could do it, but there were some unknown rules that I had to learn, first.

Chapter 2 – Trees

Mom wrote a poem for Hunter when he was a toddler; she was also bursting pregnant with me, at the time. She noticed how fascinated he was with trees, she told us, and it inspired her to contemplate their wonders for herself. She recited it to him, and us, often as a sort of bedtime story, even before he, or I, could understand any of the words. Possibly, you could say, I have been hearing it since before I was born, from within her womb. I have never gotten tired of it.

Over the years, layers of interpretations revealed themselves to us. And as an adult, Hunter had suggested that she might have also written it with ideas to introduce sharing and tolerance between he and I. When he would question her about various interpretations, she always said something like, “It’s your poem, Hunter, and if you wish to credit me with deep and insightful intentions, I will gladly accept.”, always with a mischievous look on her face. Neither of us could ever get her to spill.


The trees have personality;
Stand proud as just themselves.
With family and their relatives,
Resemblance, it tells.

Tree children and their next of kin,
They join the earth and sky.
They divvy up the nutrients,
And share without a cry.

They’ve space for one another,
And mingling below.
No obvious begin or end;
And so, they stretch and grow.

One touches on another one
And others in the weave.
Like busy city market squares,
Slow purchase, tip and please.

But no one steps on other’s toes,
The concepts don’t exist.
That give and take, all underground,
Sprouts beauty that persists.

So up above, in sun and rain,
Exchange of life grows out.
Animals of race and creeds
Respond to silent shout.

A rabbit hides behind a trunk.
A cat avoids a squall.
A dog digs up forgotten bones
From last year’s autumn fall.

A bee comes by for flower juice.
A buck trims ’round tree waists.
A squirrel gathers pockets full.
A spider spins fine lace.

A caterpillar eats its fill.
A bird makes home and nest.
They, yet, take time to clean the air
And give our very breath.

This has always been known in our family as “Hunter’s Poem”. As I learned the meanings of more and more of its words, I came to love it more and more. By the time Hunter was 5, he could recite it verbatim and indulged me whenever I would clamour for it; especially the last three stanzas. In fact, some of my earliest experiences with learning new words came from asking Hunter (or Mom or Dad or Grandpa) questions about this poem. I want to show this, here, to provide a frame of reference that I’m sure will soon be clear. And, it is always a joy to boast for that woman in our lives, known by many affectionate names: Mom, Kitten, Panther, Love, Darling and Val; to name a few.

The day after I witnessed Mom moving the stroller, was a day that started out in a very normal way. Dad cooked breakfast and we all enjoyed it as a family, then he and Hunter left together. Mom and I cleaned up, meaning she cleaned up after breakfast and the small messes I made in attempts to “help“ her. Throughout, I was trying to “move” things off the table and over to her at the sink. But without success. I was undaunted and the failure simply increased my resolve to learn how to do it and do more for Mom when I could.

After the “nose, hands, teeth and face“ game, she brought me out to the back yard and sat in her chair, reading her papers. Hunter had explained to me that when Mom or Dad talked about her “papers”, they always meant the stacks of paper she read for her work, not the newspapers with the comics; “also known as papers“, he had told me. And, thankfully, explaining what the word “as” meant when he saw my eyebrows fall.

I sat on the back step in deep thoughts about yesterday. I had a sense of honour that Mom had allowed me to witness something so wonderful. Like she had a big secret and that she loved me enough to share it. Why she had done it was still not fully clear to me but it was obvious that she had done it for me; there was so much happiness and hugging and kissing right after. I couldn’t remember a time being hugged so tightly by her. And her extra care afterwards, to keep me safe, was a giveaway that the whole experience increased her love for me. I so wanted to give that back to her, in kind; but didn’t know how yet. All I was sure of was that I wanted to make her feel as wonderful as she had made me feel.

I so completely adored Mom; and even at 3 years old, the amount that she did for Hunter and I was not lost on me. The value of her loving attention and ways I could show her the same was what occupied a great deal of my thinking. But, this morning, I had an even deeper desire for this than any other day before it. Indeed, the events of yesterday had pushed my adoration to a whole new level.

She had recited Hunter’s poem to us, at bedtime, the night before. While I was listening to her melodic voice, I had thought about how the trees didn’t need to tell you what they were cleaning the air for them to still want to do it. And they didn’t need to tell you so that you would know they had done it and then be thankful that they had.

This morning, these thoughts were still ringing in my mind. I was thinking that Mom was a little bit like a tree. She had done something for me and we didn’t need to talk about it for her to know I was thankful; or for me to know she had done it out of love for me. I looked over at her and sent waves of thanks and love. She continued reading her papers; and like a tree, myself, I thought that it was okay if she didn‘t outwardly let me know that she knew it, at that particular moment.

Things were slowly falling into place, in my mind, I could tell; but at the same time, the complete picture was still escaping my grasp. I stood up and headed down to the back of the yard to look closer at the trees that lined the back fence. Mom lifted her eyes from her papers and smiled at me; I smiled back but fought the urge to go over and jump on her because I knew she needed to “read her papers”. Dad had told me some time before, “Unless it is really important to you, let your Mother read her papers whenever you can. Because reading them is really important to her.” I had felt very happy, for him to have confided in me, and was bursting with the idea of making him proud. Also, then, I had a new way I could help Mom; I could never have too many of those!

When I got near one of the trees, I could see a caterpillar eating a leaf, just out of reach from my short body. I scanned further up and noticed many more enjoying her slick green leaves. (I had always imagined that particular tree to be female.)

I laughed, first, at the fact that they were making long holes in the leaves that had their own shape, including their little bumps all along their length. I wondered, at that time, if “fill” had two meanings when Mom wrote, “caterpillars eat their fill” in Hunter’s poem. Then I felt a little sad for the tree because so many of her leaves had been eaten on. Yet, somehow, I knew the tree didn’t “mind”. It was so admirable, to me; how many things the tree did for “everyone” in the back yard, including caterpillars. This led my young mind to another thought: The tree made so many leaves that even after the caterpillars were finished eating, there was always enough left over for her to do all the other jobs she did with them.

I turned and called out, “Mom, what is the word when you have way more than you need?” She looked up from her papers and I felt a little sorry for disturbing her, but there wasn’t a single thing I could detect in her face besides love. “A-bund-ant.”, she said slowly, nodding her head with each syllable and slightly drawing out the accent. “A-bund-ant.”, I mimicked back to her perfectly. “A caterpillar has a a-bund-ant of bumps.”, I gave her an example before she had a chance to ask me for one. “An abundance.”, she corrected in a matter-of-fact tone. “A caterpillar has an abundance of bumps.”, I corrected myself in a squealing happy voice. “Perfect, Turner.”, she said, now with a big smile of pride across her beautiful face. A look I was familiar with, and one I conspired to elicit under almost any circumstance. “Thanks, Mom!”, I finished with a smile, three sizes too big for my small face. I turned around and whispered some more examples of “an abundance” to the tree instead of her, so she could get back to her papers.

With my 3 year old awareness, I was deeply contemplating the abundance of life the trees shared with the life around them. Relating it to my Mom‘s actions as well as to my own. All the little concepts I had touched upon while listening to Hunter’s poem over my short life were swimming around in my mind; colliding, mingling, pairing, separating and congealing into new small epiphanies.

I was considering how my silence, quietly and unknown to Mom, was helping her. And how the trees did the same so we could even breathe. That they were shouting welcomes in a thousand silent plant and animal languages that beckoned all to share and sustain from their abundance. Though, I didn’t use these words in my thoughts, the concepts that I did consider on that day are only, barely represented by my description now. And, indeed, the vocabulary of any language would be hard put to relay it in its entirety.

The trees became completely real as individuals in that moment. It was like something had shifted in my universe; I had gone from colour-blind to full Technicolor (a word I learned from Grandpa) in a moment. Each tree with a personality, an individuality, a Mother, a Father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours and pets. They all had a history of interaction with one another as well as with other plants, animals and the earth itself; predominantly of love, respect, giving and receiving.

They were all were saying “Hi” to me when the recognition of their being sprouted in my certainty. I was being told of their overpowering gratefulness for me having acknowledged their complex, hidden existence. The source of that gratefulness, without a doubt in my mind, was coming from them in a chorus of individual silky, silent voices. Inflections of their age, health, heredity and relationships to each other were condensed in each “Hello”, making the volume of greeting from each a biography.

I was totally and completely there and with them; they were equally there and with me. I would have wanted to “talk” with them and hear stories of their adventures; but I already knew everything about them from each, individual, engulfing message of adoption. They considered me as much a part of them as I considered Mom, Dad, Hunter and Grandpa. I was as much a tree as they considered each other. I was “in” the trees and they were “in” me.

Above. I could feel the breeze in the flutter of thousands of leaves; in the stretch of hundreds of branches; in the sway of entire trunks. Below. In the strain of base roots; in the flex of root-branches, sending vibrations to its neighbours on contact; in the micro-shivering of its root-tendrils; in the sloughing of microbes from these, dislodged to enrich the newly loosened earth.

The soil around the trunks were being packed and compressed away from their sway; providing new room for girth expansion, I understood. Fruit was being released and falling to the ground, like little satellites of awareness, still sending messages home after crash landing to earth, I could hear. Squirrels dug nails into bark, I could feel; and evacuated in fear, I could sympathize. Birds landed home to check their young, I could see. And the glory of the multitudinous acknowledgements of sensing and reasons of existence filled my sixth sense that has never been named; totally, completely and instantly.

Mental constructs of time, sequence, distance, location and perception were being fully obliterated in the absolute landslide of communication, understanding and awareness that was covering me. And/Or was coming from my surroundings; and/or that I was in the midst of experiencing; and/or that I was expanding to encompass. My words fall small on the page like a footnote in synopsis of the combined messages of an entire collection of volumes. Making them impossible to relay anything more productive that a tiny footprint and a terse allusion to the actual content.

To add volcano to landslide in the upheaval of my young mental landscape; concurrent with the presence of the mass-communication from the trees, which was crumbling my incomplete human conditioning, marching into the very center of my soul and filling it far beyond my reassessed view of its capacity; came an unbearably hot swelling from below the foundations of my being. A second, parallel, geological-scale experience that was contributing to the reforming of the very terrain that I “knew” to be reality.

I say “concurrent with” and “parallel” only as common-ground efforts to tell you about this. I could say it all happened in a nanosecond. I could say it seemed like an eternity. Or I could say that I used multiple eternities to languish in each of the millions of details present in that nanosecond; or that I repeatedly revisited that nanosecond for another series of eternities to observe the interactions that each detail had on each other detail. All of them would be correct.

If I could overlay the chapter above, describing my awareness of the trees with what is to follow; I would instruct you to read both at the same time, one eye for each. And still at the same time, but with both eyes, read them as overlapped pages held up to a light. Create a new alphabet from the unfamiliar patterns that arise from their intermingling symbols and use those to build a new vocabulary so as to understand the effects that one had on the other as they both unfolded simultaneously. But, you or I cannot do that. So I will attempt to describe it as a sequence, but understand that it was a “happening” with reciprocating influences on what was happening, concurrently. None of which took any perceptible amount of time to occur, and the occurrence brought full understanding of every communication and every relationship to every other one, instantly. The concepts of cause-to-effect and then-to-now appeared to me as seamless as the two surfaces of a mobius strip.

Chapter 3 – Mom

My young body, young mind and young soul bore a massive influx of sensory communications that the human union of form has no mechanism to allow. Indeed, I was no longer in my body, but I was not aware of it in those terms, exactly, at the time. However, I was fully aware of the “fact” that I was in multiple “places” at the same “time”.

The warm blanket of earthly communications from the trees carried no emotional content except those emotions I had as reactions to their messages and the fact of receiving them. In contrast by orders-of-magnitude, the boiling hot, human, emotional communications I could sense from my Mother had a very different effect on me.

Nothing could stop the rivers of impassioned lava in their advance through the feeble human structures that my young mind had barely framed. Burned to carbon in their wake were my ideas of separateness, secrecy and embarrassment; additionally weakened by the trees’ intense openness. Seared into my certainty were truths about individuality, love, admiration and sharing; the path for that understanding was being hurriedly proofed under the steamroller of history I was receiving from the trees. Dichotomies, unthinkingly passed on from generation to generation by unwitting indoctrination, vaporized in their mere proximity; having been liquefied under the compressing weight of my new awareness of the trees.

The earthly embrace of the landslide under which I found myself, filtered the destructive temperatures. Letting only warm, elemental gases of the dispersed emotional content to reach me. And like in the same earthly oven that prepared the sustenance of survival for a planet-full of life, I was being irreversibly rendered, down to the only base elements that could survive the core’s furnace blasts: being, communication and love.

Mom was no longer reading her papers. She was burning a hole into the back of my body with a volatile stream of emotional communications. I say “volatile” without negative connotations. I mean unpredictable, free in its potential to change, open to swing from one extreme to any other, tenuous in its precarious stability. But completely in control under the formidable weight that her choices, decisions and convictions commanded over the combustible mix.

I understood her worries that I had stopped moving as I communed with the trees. I could sense her images of me in her future that she called in to counteract her worries and beam into my still, standing body. I could feel her will, exerting intention for me to come to her. I could see and understand her personal insight into the trees and her admiration of them. I could sense her desire to be looking at them “through my eyes”. She was spiking on her love, care and interest for me; and had invited the opportunity to share everything with me to get a glimpse of what was holding me rapt.

Within her molten core, at the same time, I could perceive the presence of Dad, Hunter, Grandpa and even my late Grandma within her, each of which had the potential to swing into the full force of her attention in a heartbeat, though temporarily subdued by her focus on me. I could see her intertwining tendrils of emotions for them, each with their own nuances of spectrographic identity, some mixing to produce new compounds of stable relationships; some, on contact, consumed themselves in miniature, spiral explosions of understanding that only left the spent trail of its meaning behind.

The influence of the tendrils of “coloured swirls” that represented me, in her mind, seemed commensurate to the rest in the flux of her broader encompassing of love for her family. But that represented the foundation of all her love. Her specific love for me was the most prominent at that moment; not more valuable, not “bigger“, but simply the most prominent in her attention.

I was in the middle of the live, varying, interactive and illuminating presence of my Mother’s unguarded, welcoming, total self; focused in my “direction“. It is difficult to explain the massive weight of responsibility I experienced as I was engulfed in the thick colourful stream of emotional complexity that represented her ever-changing, voluminous love for me. It was clear to me that this was her creation, she chose this mix and the exact measurements of every element present; and it was clear that she deliberately and continuously altered the compounds to fine tune her enchantment.

I felt no slightest sense of onus from her. But, from myself, I experienced something akin to onus. The human concept that witnessing something is not the same as being responsible for it had been reduced to a small pile of dust and carried away by the gusts of the swaying tree histories and my Mother’s molten river of love. I was as much the cause of this love as she was for creating it. There was an unspoken, joining of forces and the line between the two was all but invisible. And, even as a 3 year old child, I realized, at that very moment, that all the little things I did, and attempted to do, for her were my contribution to the joint creation that yet had an independent existence in each of us.

The feeling of onus and responsibility dissipated as the tenuous glimpse and purchase that my young heart already had, on the concepts of the love of my Mother, and mine for her, re-congealed and transformed into a new homogeneous mixture.

A promise.

Chapter 4 – Rebirth

In my understanding, “promise” is a word that represents both a singular action and a commitment to future action; with responsibility that one has willingly taken on. And in the hierarchy of promises, there is one type that sits atop them all; the type on which all other types of promises depended. The promise to oneself.

And, just below that, by an infinitesimal margin is the next most important type. The promise of love. That was the sense of responsibility I had. To continue, no matter what, to love my Mother, my Dad, Hunter and Grandpa.

This new hot vaporescence of a mixture, PROMISE, cooled to liquid under the scrutiny of my new 3 year old wisdom. Poured over me and cooled again as I drew every drop of understanding out of it. Finally, formed the mould from which I immerged, crumbling its dry husk; such that no other may be duplicated. A new being, born of emotional alchemy, educated by the aged knowledge of trees, forged into shape in the furnace of a Mother’s love.

And in that moment of rebirth, my, still, young heart was knowledgeable enough, strong enough and compassionate enough to extend my Promise of love to all living things. And doubled up with the personal Promise to myself. The first person with whom I wanted to share this new breath of spiritual awakening was my Mom. I was already, fully, in the midst of her emotional presence as a result of her powerful desire for me to come to her and share what I was seeing.

Then I touched her physical awareness with deliberation. I felt her breathe in a short gasp and felt her thought that it wasn’t sufficient air. I gently pulled on her diaphragm until I could feel the rush of oxygen clear her mental vistas. I said “Hi”; much like the trees had greeted me. Imparting the full impact of what I was experiencing. She let out a moan from the overload she was feeling from the fantastic quantity of information I was delivering; and bawled from happiness at the wonder of having me so completely with her. Then…

“Turner!” she exclaimed, suddenly, admonishing me lightly for intruding on her physical space. I instantly understood; she had much more solid human conditioning than I and my communications, alone, were not enough to dissolve them. I had been cut off from influencing her body and our intimate emotional (or spiritual) connection had also been severed; precipitated by her feelings of privacy, embarrassment and believing herself incapable of withstanding it. I judged none of it. I turned my body around and glided across the length of the yard to her. She was waiting with her arms already opened to me.

“Don’t do that again, honey.”, she said as we hugged each other, “Mommy can’t handle that much love.”, she added. I hugged her harder. “I know how much you love me, Mom.”, I told her. “You are like the trees. You make an abundance of extra love for us all and still have more left over for special times.”, I added with my scant vocabulary. “And an abundance of food when we’re hungry and an abundance of heat when we’re cold, and an abundance of smiles and an abundance of everything for everyone!”, I summed up. “Thank you, honey, thank you so much. I do love you so much, Turner.” she said, repeating her words like I did, her voice a little cracked. She kissed my face all over and crushed me into her so we could no longer talk. We stayed like that for some time until she stood my body back on the ground, kissed me and disappeared into the house.

I could still feel the presence and live update of the trees and I was still “outside” my body; but the entirety of Mom was gone, only the certainty of her location remained. I realized, then, I knew exactly where Hunter was also; and Dad and Grandpa as well. But not in the normal way one might say, “Hunter’s at school and Dad’s at work.” More like I had an individual tether connected to each of them, with which I could perceive their every change in physical location as it related to mine. I bid farewell to the trees; their full-compliment chorus attenuated down to a comforting hum like furnace sounds on a cold winter night.

My body felt like a toy action figure I might carry around in my pocket or a pet puppy that might follow me around everywhere. I was changed forever, I knew that. The desire to show Mom I could move things had lost its importance, after understanding from her that yesterday was the first time anything like that had ever happened in her life. Moving things by just looking at them was the least of my concerns at the time. How to join with the people I loved without making them uncomfortable was at the top of my thoughts.

I walked back into the house and heard the piano as I entered the back door. I walked through the kitchen and dining room to where she was sitting, on the piano bench, playing out the melody she often hummed to Hunter and I. I climbed up on the bench, sat to her left and pressed my body into that side of her, so I wouldn’t interfere with her right hand playing on the keys. She looked down at me without a hitch in the melody. Her eyes were still full of tears and her face and blouse were soaked with them. Her gaze was so warm, welcoming and kind, that it almost produced a sound in my ears. Her incredible smile confirmed for me that every, single drop of moisture had been produced from happiness. She nudged me with her body, which let me know it was okay for me to be there; and I pressed harder into her in response; laying my head under the curve of her arm.

I didn’t have to be intimately “joined” with her to tell she was deep in thought. I had often seen her playing this melody before, and being gently warned off disturbing her by my Dad’s shaking head and beckoning, outstretched hand. So, I just sat there in her comforting presence, watching her fingers and wondering if there was anything I could do to help her figure out whatever it was she was contemplating.

We sat there through many iterations of the calming rhythm of her melody. I had a realization about the musical structure of the piece. I looked up at her to see if she would invite talking. She gave me her “questioning” smile that told me she wanted to hear what I had to say. “The ending of the song is like a beginning, but, the song doesn’t start with a beginning, it starts with the main part. So, you don’t want it to end because the ending makes you want it to start all over again.”, I said, hoping my explanation was clear. “I agree, honey. You have explained that very well!”, she responded, nodding her head and smiling as she continued to play. I sat quietly with her again.

Though she was still smiling, I knew the type of distracted smile she now had was for my benefit, so as not to worry me. And, as I knew at the time, grownups didn’t fully realize that by doing that, they were basically revealing they were seriously worried about something. I distracted myself from my concern for her by watching her fingers and relating them to the notes and rhythm of the melody. I would do my best to wait until she was ready to talk. But, it was excruciatingly difficult to be there, seeing her worried and doing nothing to comfort her.

I started humming the melody along with her playing. Obviously, playing it was comforting for her so accompaniment should help. She could have told me that she wanted me to stop with a quick nudge. Instead, she kept on playing and added a little sway to her body in time with the phrasing of the song; I quickly matched it and continued humming. She turned her head and smiled at me, then turned back to her fingers and watched them playing out the tune. I wrapped my arms around her free one and hugged into her swaying.

It started very slowly. First with the key notes only, accentuating the phrasing. Mom kept her eyes on her fingers and, ever so slightly, increased her sway into me. I squeezed tighter on her arm with both of mine, so she could carry me, together with her motions. I was just tapping out the keys that looked exactly like the ones Mom was playing, just a little further down the keyboard. Gradually, I added more keys until I was tapping out all the same notes that she was playing. Holding tight and swaying; I closed my eyes, but could still see everything.

Mom slowed down her playing, which always indicated she was going to end it soon. I opened my eyes as she continued to draw out the melody; more of a reflex than a necessity. I followed her tempo. She never took her eyes off the keys. I saw fresh wet drops on the white and black strips under her fingers, standing firm like hard little bubbles. Her face was a strange mixture of joy and concern that I’m at a loss to say how I even discerned it. The tempo continued to elongate and the key notes were getting more pronounced; I knew when she was going to finish. I followed her every nuance to the end. And we hit the final notes, together.

She untangled her arm from my grasp, picked me up, spun me around on her lap and squashed me into her chest. “Oh, dear, God!”, she said, each word punctuated with a breath in between. The last word lasted over a second with slow vibrato highlights, giving it four or five syllables. She twisted her body, left and right with me in her arms as each word and syllable escaped her vocal chords; and squeezed me tighter with each twist. It was amazing anything got past her throat; I was clinging to her neck with a bear hug to keep from flying off.

I had an abundance of reasons to be breathless also, I had thought to myself, comically trying out another example with my new word. I was ecstatic from her joy. I didn’t know its source but I was certain I had contributed to it. “What is it, Mom?” I asked when I finally got a breath in. She settled me back to her lap and twisted me so she could see my face.

“I just remembered something that I shouldn’t be able to remember.”, she started. “Something that Grandpa and Grandma told me about many times. But I actually remembered it, myself! How could I remember something from 3 days old?”, she blurted out in a rhetorical stream. “I’ll have to ask Grandpa; it will floor him.” she continued, non-stop. But, then, I could sense her shifting gears.

“Honey.”, she said as she kissed my forehead and took my head in both her hands and held my face so we were in stationary eye-to-eye contact. ”That was incredibly beautiful! What you just did. I could see colours coming off the keyboard while we were playing together. It was so beautiful, honey. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”, and she kissed me again, her tears, dripping onto my cheeks. She hadn’t stopped crying for some time, now. But they were clearly happy tears.

The smile on my face was so broad that I suspected my ears would touch at the back of my head at any moment. I was speechless; no doubt, in part, caused by the swelling of my heart, crushing my lungs for space in my small chest. The object of my desire and intention from yesterday was in full blown manifestation in front of me. Though in a fantastic scope greater than I ever could have imagined. A singularity of joy that I will carry with me for eternity. I deeply and profoundly (for a 3 year old) wished the same for my Mother.

“I have to think.”, she said abruptly. I could tell her social conditioning was kicking in. The very conditioning that had popped me out of her intimate presence when we were in the back yard. “You stay here for a few minutes and play some more for Mommy, okay?” she instructed. Without waiting for an answer she went to the kitchen and put the kettle on. I could hear her pull a chair out from the table and plop down on it. No PhD in rocket science required to know that she needed space to think. I could hear her get up again from her chair, then rummage around in the cupboards and fridge. I just started playing her melody again, on the same keys she had been playing, this time. Hoping that hearing this in the background of her thoughts might be even better for thinking, if she didn’t have to play it herself.

After much pouring, clinking, chair movements and sipping sounds, she finally called out to me. “Turner, come in here, honey.” I wound down the song like she usually did and headed into the kitchen, through the dining room. Mom was sitting in her char, facing me as I walked toward the kitchen table. She had a glass of juice and a sandwich on the table for me; with tea and a sandwich in front of her. I reached the chair, adjacent to her left and in front of my food. I only pulled it out a little bit, and squeezed myself in, sitting on my calves. “Thanks, Mom.”, I said, looking at her with adoration, thanks and pensiveness all rolled into one. I started to eat in silence. She did the same.

Chapter 5 – Rules

“Mummy has some important things to talk to you about, but she doesn’t know where to start yet.” she said, finally. She had started with “Mummy” (with a ‘u’) and referred to herself as “she” instead of “I”; I knew this was going to be important and personal between she and I. She never talked that way when anyone else was around, only when we were alone together, and even then, rarely. But always to prepare me for a long explanation of something important and always followed by asking me to do something for her. I sat quietly and continued eating while she worked out “where to start“.

“I don’t know how your stroller came back to me, yesterday. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before. I thought you were in it and I thought you were going to get hurt.”, she explained. “I know, Mom.” I said, gently giving her back the conversation.

If she had said this to me yesterday (or even this morning after breakfast), I probably would have been confused; unable to resolve it against the convoluted logic I had used to “deduce” my previous “understanding” of those events. But it only took a moment of time in the yard, fully connected with her, to completely understand everything, without her having to say a word. On the one hand, because we had been connected, and because that experience is a two-way street; she already knew that I knew, really. On the other hand; as I could see when joined with her, she was “set in her ways” (as she sometimes said of Grandpa) and couldn’t really face the entirety of what took place without dismantling herself in the process. But my new-found understanding was beside the point, this was her “talk” and I didn’t want to interrupt her.

“And, I didn’t really mean for you to never do what happened in the yard again. I was just shocked and maybe a little, tiny bit frightened.”, she continued, illustrating “tiny“ with thumb and index almost touching. “I understand, Mom.” I said, again passing the conversation back to her. “We can do it again when Mommy is ready for it, but not right now, okay?”, she said, more of a statement than a question. It took feats of will and volumes of restraint to subdue my excitement at that thought, but I did so that she could continue. “Okay.”, I said, obviously happy and smiling, but betraying nothing close to my actual bursting, un-containable, jumping up and down joy.

“Now, I need to explain something to you first, then I’m going to ask you to do something for me, okay?”, she prepared me. “Okay…”, I said, leading her to continue. “Most people would be very frightened if you did things like you did in the yard with them, or even just in front of them. Like making their body do something that they didn’t make happen; or moving toward them without moving your feet and legs like we always do; or even what you did at the piano.”, she paused, looking at me closely, her face expressionless except for benevolence, opening a gap for me to say something if I wanted. I nodded that I was listening.

I knew we were getting close to the rules that I so wanted to understand. But in a much broader frame of reference than I had been thinking. I could barely contain myself. Talking seemed so slow! And I was already backed up with questions. I stuffed my mouth with the last of my sandwich and chewed it as slowly as possible.

“Yesterday, did you see that the man from the car didn’t smile at you or Mommy?”, she asked. “Um hum.”, I mumbled though my full mouth. “He was unhappy and frightened because he saw Mommy move the stroller like she did. And because he had never seen anyone do anything like that before. It didn’t make any sense to him.”, she paused, looking directly at me. “Making people unhappy or frightened is not a good thing to do. And Mommy was unhappy that she had done that to the man; but she was very happy, at the same time, that you were okay.”, she finished her disjointed thoughts.

I completely understood; but it was obvious, to me, that she was far from finished. I had a dozen new questions that I swallowed with the last of my sandwich. “So, that’s why he didn’t smile back at us.”, I said, to let her know I was listening.

“Yes. Now,”, she paused, then, “I have met a lot of people in all the years I have been alive.”, looking over my head and out the window, like she was getting her information from the trees outside. “And I have never met anyone else who can do the thing that I did yesterday or the things that you did today.”, she said, still looking out the window.

She went on, “So, we don’t want to do things that frighten people or make them unhappy. Like doing things without our hands or legs instead of how we always do things.”, she paused again to think. I helped her out, “Or, being inside them if they didn‘t ask you to.”, letting her know I was understanding her; and also so she would get to the “rules” part.

“Yes, exactly, honey.”, she turned away from the window, looked back at me and smiled broadly. “So, what are the rules Mom?” I asked, trying not to show my impatience. She twisted her head like a confused puppy, then shook it off like she‘d been hit on the head and was getting her bearings. I instantly felt sorry for having jumped the gun. “Sorry, Mom.”, I said, now a little remorseful for throwing her off.

“No, Mommy‘s been taking a long time to get to the rules.“, she said, graciously. “Until we know more about all these things you can do, we have to have some rules.”, she summed up; as much talking to herself as me. My face probably showed my relief to hear this because a knowing smirk grew across hers, so much to say, “I know what you’re thinking about right now.”

“First, a rule about the rules.“, she started. “These rules will not be forever; and if you want to change them, you will have to ask Mommy first. Okay?” she asked, it was not a rhetorical question. “Okay.”, I agreed.

“Good. We will not tell anyone outside this house about these things. Not even Grandpa. It will only be us family in this house to know, until we know more about it.”, she said, with finality. “Okay.”, I agreed, at least that meant Hunter and Dad.

“Okay. We will not do any of these things outside this house. Unless it’s a real accident like Mommy had yesterday.”, she continued. “What about being with the trees?” I asked her. She looked upwards, thinking about my question. “That’s ok in the back yard.”, she qualified for me. “Okay. I understand that rule.”, I confirmed for her.

“Good. Except for the trees, you will not go inside anyone unless they really want that. And even if they want that, if they get frightened or unhappy or angry, you have to come out.”, I could tell she was struggling with this one. “Okay, Mommy.”, I said, nodding my head in understanding.

“Alright. And the last rule.”, she said, taking in a deep breath. “Except with Mommy, you can’t talk about these things with anyone else or do any of these things in front of anyone else unless Mommy talks to them first or unless Mommy says it’s okay, first. That includes Hunter and Daddy. Okay?”, she said, tentatively; expecting objections to this one. “But you are going to tell Hunter and Daddy, right?” I asked, without answering her. “Yes, honey. I will talk to Hunter and Daddy today.”, she assured me. “Okay, I can follow that rule.”, I said. Feeling a little relieved that we were probably finished; I wanted the rules, but that was a lot!.

“Wonderful. Now, what was the first rule about the rules?”, she asked. And she went through them all a few times until she was satisfied that I really understood them all. Finally, she asked for my promise to keep the rules unless we both agreed to change any. This was the second time in so many days that I was making a promise with a grownup. I felt honoured to do it and genuine in my resolve to keep it.

She poured some more juice into my glass and broke out the cookies. We played “afternoon tea“ with raised fingers and small round mouths. We always had a great laugh playing that game. Hunter could eat a whole cookie with his mouth like that without a single crumb escaping! I wished he was here with us. “Can we keep the cookies out for Hunter? So we can play again when he gets home?” I asked. “Definitely, honey. We’ll play it twice today!” she said with giddy excitement, grabbing my face and kissing me.

Chapter 6 – Grandpa

Within those two days my eyes had been opened to a massive scope of new possibilities and my young mind expanded to encompass whole new universes. I don’t know, still, what parts genetic, spiritual, anthropological or personal factors played in my awakening. But I hadn’t considered these things as a child.

Over the course of five chapters, I have technically answered the question “How did it happen for you?”. Though, whenever I tell this story, my discovery of Grandpa’s abilities and the profound circumstances surrounding that discovery, is an inseparable part of that answer.

There are a few things that are common to every answer this question elicits from our small group of prodigies. In every case we witnessed another performing some Meta-Skill which brought on our “awakening”. In every case, we wanted to increase or reciprocate love for a particular important person in our lives; not necessarily the same person we witnessed. In every case, a “joining“ with that beloved person occurred, preceded or followed by the manifestation of telekinetic abilities. In every case, we were already markedly loving children before it happened.

Other commonalities included: a massive increase in the admiration and good wishes for all life; a dissolution (or at least, considerable weakening) of the concept of separateness; and a dismantling of stigma related to many dichotic concepts like good/bad, right/wrong, plant/animal, etc.

But the stigma of a thing is not the thing itself. Outside of the transcendent state of being in total communication with my environment and all life within it, I was still a 3 year old boy who liked to get his way when he found himself on the disagreeable side of a dichotomy. I’ve never been malicious (in my own opinion) but I could pout, tantrum and cry with the worst of us.

It was very difficult for me to keep a secret from Grandpa. But I had given my word to Mom and I trusted her that she had good reasons. I had asked her, a few times over the next 1½ years, if she would tell him. Each time she did her best to comfort me, “Not yet, honey. I’ll know when the time is right.” she’d say, or similar words.

I became particularly insistent once. Shortly after I had learned the “Nutcracker Suite” on the piano. Mom had showed me her dance that she used to do, as a child, for Grandpa, when he played that song. We had done it for Hunter and Dad; they loved it and we all had so much fun! I felt it was not “right” that we didn’t share it with Grandpa. Finally, my intense pleading was too much for her patience, she said, “I’m sorry, honey, but not yet.”, she tightened her lips, then continued, “Grandpa will probably want to experiment on you and I don’t want to have that conversation with him, yet; and I don‘t want that for you.” After much explaining what she meant by “that conversation” and what the word “experiment” meant, I let it go again. I was not at all worried that Grandpa would do anything that would harm me in any way; but I didn’t press her about it any further after that.

It is important that you have read the first book, for you to be familiar with the part of my history that I am about to cover. I hope you will enjoy getting a second viewpoint on the events leading up to what Grandpa relayed so beautifully in that book. I will mainly be covering those parts that he did not experience directly; or in lesser degree, those shared but told from my viewpoint.

Throughout my childhood, Grandpa visited us almost every Sunday. When I was 4 years old, late one week, he called to tell us that he wouldn’t be visiting us on that coming Sunday. And promised a surprise to make up for it on the next one.

On the Friday before he was to visit, Mom, Dad, Hunter and I were eating supper. And in the middle of trading off collard greens with Hunter for his carrots, I noticed that Grandpa‘s “tether“ ended in our kitchen. I leaned close to Hunter‘s ear, “Grandpa‘s here!”, I whispered. “He’s not coming until Sunday.”, Hunter whispered back and patted my leg; comforting. I realized that Mom and I had not fully talked about my awareness of where everyone was, so I decided not to press the point until I discussed it with her.

We had been whispering about Grandpa’s surprise all week so we wouldn’t reveal any of our ideas to Mom and Dad; that way, they wouldn’t use our surmising to get the jump on us in figuring it out. “Have you figured out what Grandpa’s surprise is, Mom?”, Hunter asked, shooting me a sly look, like he was an undercover spy, gleaning important information from the enemy camp.

“No, honey.”, she said, acting feigned ignorance then looking at Dad for answers. “Me neither.”, said Dad. “Come on! You guys have an idea, I know it!”, Hunter pushed for details. “Well, it has to be something you two can share.”, Mom tossed in, equivocally. Hunter nodded at me; we had already covered that one. “And?”, Hunter prompted, running the conversation like an interrogation. Throughout most of suppertime he was unrelenting and using every skill in his spy arsenal short of water-boarding. We whispered new ideas back and forth as they came to us. I wondered if Grandpa could hear what we were whispering. Mom and Dad regularly nodded, knowingly, at each other; but we were certain that they knew even less than we did.

After supper we all gathered in the living room. Grandpa was back at his home since mid-supper, I could tell from his tether. Mom was playing a new piece she had recently learned. Hunter was sitting next to Mom and I was sitting next to Hunter; all three of us on the piano bench. Dad was in the loveseat in the curve of the piano. A call came in. I whispered to Hunter that it was Grandpa. “He only calls to cancel, and there‘s no way he would cancel twice in a row.”, he whispered back, “But you can punch me if it is him.”, he finished, with confidence in his logic. In my quiet voice, “Okay, but I’ll take it easy on you.”, I promised him. He ran over to the couch and touched the keyboard to wake up the display. Sure enough, “Grandpa.”, he read off the screen. Mom stopped playing and looked at Hunter, “Go ahead and answer it, honey.”

I so much wanted to tell Grandpa that I knew he was “here” this evening, but I was still not allowed to talk to him about “my” things. Mom hadn’t had “that conversation” with him yet. So, after spending my free punch on Hunter, we pummelled Grandpa with questions but, unfortunately, without him revealing a single clue. In between our alternating sallies, we were introduced to “Josie and the Fishes”.

Mom transferred the call into the den before he hung up. When she came back, we both looked at her with intense expectation. “Nothing.”, she said. She sat down on the loveseat and whispered something to Dad and they both laughed. Dad looked at her and said “Kitten?” and they both burst out again. I looked to Hunter, excitedly. He just shook his head. “Nothing.”, he told me, “They know nothing. And it‘s not a kitten.” Though I didn’t know at the time, Hunter knew Dad didn’t like cats, and therefore knew it was a weak attempt at misdirection, as any spy worth his mettle would see through.

“Panther!”, Dad blurted out to Mom. Sending them both into hysterics, as Hunter explained what a Panther was to me. Playfully glaring at them; they knew their jig was up.

When Grandpa arrived at the door that Sunday, I could barely control myself from, literally, flying into his arms. (Good one!) Mom didn’t want me jumping onto Grandpa because, she explained, “When you get really old like Grandpa, you lose a lot of your strength, so I don’t want you to hurt him by mistake.” As a result, over the last year and a half, I had made it a point to always give him a “soft landing” whenever I did jump on him. I justified that I was actually following Mom’s real reason. Plus, I could tell, Grandpa was never really shocked when I jumped on him, and I could also tell that he liked it.

Hunter figured out the surprise first; that it was videos. And I knew he was right as soon as he said it. I got down from Grandpa and dragged my brother into the living room with me and tried to get everyone to hurry up to come in with us, so we could start the show.

I was strongly suspicious that Grandpa could also do some of “my” things. Especially since I had sensed him in our kitchen on Friday. Then, added to that, as we watched the video, it was a complete giveaway, in my opinion; I certainly connected the dots that he was trying to move the pin, but the only thing moving was his hair. We were hurting with laughter. And, I so wanted him to move it, hoping that it might force “that conversation” with Mom. I kept urging him on in the video, wishing success for him. Though I was being faithful to my word, it was difficult to contain myself when he finally moved the pin and his hair shot straight up. And at the same time, I was slightly confused and worried that I might be giving something away to Grandpa in my excitement.

I looked to Mom to gauge if she was worried. I could see no concern on her beautiful face and continued to let loose my excitement. Dad picked up Mom off his lap, stood up and placed her back on the loveseat. He then left the room to check on the food and Mom questioned Grandpa on how he had made the video. Not committing to anything, he attributed the magic to Wolfgang von Magnificent. Mom and I put the browbeat on Grandpa for his evasion and Hunter took his side. Then we redirected the browbeat on Hunter.

Dad came back, picked up Mom and sat back down with her on his lap. Finally, Grandpa explained, we were ready for Act II. In the video, he was playing piano with his hair moving to the music, and when he took his hands off the keyboard, the playing continued. This was tantamount to proof-positive for me. I turned to him and exclaimed, “I play piano, too!”, bursting with pride. He acknowledged me with his proud and loving face. “I play Mom’s-”, and I stopped myself; I was about to tell him that I played Mom‘s favourite piece with her dancing. But, mid-sentence, I had suddenly realized that everyone behind me had gone quiet. I was so caught up in my excitement that I almost violated one of our rules and couldn‘t shake the feeling that I had recovered too late. Grandpa would figure it all out and it was my big mouth that had revealed it.

Chapter 7 – Recovery

I looked at Mom and saw a person that I, completely, didn’t recognize. Her expression, or lack of it, carried a finality that was unbearable to me. Truly, I felt I had lost her. I could see no way for her to ever develop another smile, laugh, mischievous look or any other of the expressions that I had come to love about her. She looked dead, and, indeed, Grandpa had described it aptly in the first book. He murmured some question to me, but I was transfixed on Mom.

Her body was completely motionless, I couldn’t even detect breathing in her chest. I honestly felt, in that moment, that I had literally broken her heart and was now responsible for having killed her. That moment lasted an eternity, wherein my own heart broke, over and over and over, for taking her away from Dad then Hunter then Grandpa. It would be impossible for them to forgive me and I would spend the rest of my life, an outcast from my family. Grinding, relentlessly, at the futile task of atonement. I lived ten dark lives alone and without her, within the second before I screamed in emotional agony and burst into painful tears. Tears that hurt my eyes and burned my face.

Mom appeared in front of me, but I was past consoling. Now I would be an outcast to all four of them for breaking my promises. I heard her voice as faint mumbling below the full complement dirge of my imagined operatic tragedies; that now had taken on the same validity and weight of memories of actual events. She picked me up as I wailed in unworthiness; howled with every crushing thought of never being forgiven; moaned in hopelessness at ever atoning; and bawled at the irresolvable set of circumstance that I had brought about with one disjointed sentence and three revealing words.

I was certain I could never survive this. The weight of ten dark lifetimes, marooned and useless, seemed a light load compared to looking my Mother in the eyes ever again. That would surely seal my fate, one look from my Mother with a deliberate lack of love and a reproachful stare of deserved blame would absolutely end me. No vocal reprimand could come near that in effectiveness of reducing me to nothing; a state I was already nearing, all on my own.

Mom brought me into the den and closed the door behind her. I stopped voicing my pain and my dirge had gone silent, not from relief; but from the resolution of the certainty of my new existence in the cold, dark, soundless void of my imminent empty life. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her as she sat me on the small sofa there. She knelt down on the floor and I lowered my head further. She moved her head lower, tilting it upwards to meet my eyes and I lowered my head even more; when my chin hit my chest, I closed my eyes.

A new wave of loss struck me out of nowhere, as I considered that the trees would never talk to me again. Though it may sound incongruous; in the hierarchy of my small world of relationships, they were next in line of intimate importance. They were my teachers in mass communication and my mentors in abundant giving.

This compounding blow drove me so thoroughly “into” my little body that I felt tiny, insignificant and undeserving. I couldn’t feel the comforting tugs from the tethers with Dad, Hunter or Grandpa; or Mom, who was kneeling right in front of me. Now, light years away from the glorious life I had been honoured with by my family; they had snapped.

“Really, honey, you haven’t done anything wrong.”, Mom said; more faint mumbling. I had not been using my physical ears for some time now; I had only, really, been latching onto my body to speak and move, “normally“. At first I felt relieved that her sounds were indistinct; sparing me her ire. But the audio imprints had yet arrived to my brain and had been faithfully recorded. Their sense slowly decoded up to the surface my awareness like bubbles that I burst, one by one, with sharp and pointed disbelief. I shook my head, quickly back and forth, grinding my chin into my chest, reservoirs of spent tears falling from the corners of my mouth onto my lap. Dried tear trails, cracking on my face as my small cheeks flapped as so much loose skin over lifeless bones.

She lifted me up off the sofa, much like Dad had done with her only minutes before; and sat back down with me in her lap. She wrapped her arms around me and hummed her melody. She laid her head in contact with mine and I could feel the melody vibrating through my whole body. My chin was relaxed from my solar-plexus but my eyes were glued shut with crusty tears. I let her rock me like a toy doll. Offering no resistance, giving no contribution. Only a Mother’s love could imbue life into the limp, inanimate, ragged state I had brought upon myself. Only a Mother’s instinct could lead her to the only communication that could penetrate my wall of despair; bricked tight all around me, damming my very life force.

I started to recognize hunger growing in my stomach. So mundane and out of place in comparison to the retching grips of loss that it was replacing. I started to sense faint smells of baby oil and talcum powder, though they were nowhere to be found in our present environment. Overpowering these was the smell of my Mother, solid, and real compared to the ghostly wraiths of the others; stifling the dank odour of salt covering my face. In the background of her melody, I could faintly hear the soft tinkling of the wind-up mobile that lulled me to sleep as an infant. Long buried in the depths of the attic. It’s soft, pale blue replacing the cold dark nothingness behind my sealed eyes. And the most prominent of all, the most physical memory, re-enforced by its actual presence, was the gentle falling into the softness of my Mother’s body and the weightless, freedom of its rebound. Each falling, a loving hold of embrace, bringing me closer to her heart. Each rebound divining another union, attendant with a safe certainty of never being let go.

Transported to the most safe and caring circumstances I have ever experienced on a purely physical level; the ones that first educated me in the most wonderful of emotions, the love of my Mother; a brick was loosened. And my own powerful desire to exchange love with her, poured out and took over. The deconstruction of my dam commenced, brick by brick. I pushed into her movements and added to her sway. New tears welled up and dissolved my crusty lids. I put my arms around her neck and cried in appreciation of her affection, starkly different from my previous desolate tears. My ten terrible, empty lives unravelled to ten empty memories of forgotten impossibilities.

The contrast in my state of mind was nothing short of miraculous. Though I was not in the full swing of my usual bubbly self; I was quickly recovering in the safety and loving certainty of my Mother’s arms. My overreaction to the, now remote, possibility of falling from her graces was dawning on me. Thoughts of losing her love faded away. Familiar thoughts resurfaced that my efforts, in kind, to show my love and care for her were worthy to be received. Senses of my family outside the door of the den started to wind back though to me, re-tethering their comforting presence.

Thoughts of blame were being doused by her wash of love. Like she was talking to me, telling me that she was shocked by Grandpa and not by what I had almost said out loud. Or that I was falling through that understanding as I fluttered back to reality in her warm, rocking, melodic safety. I don’t know how I understood, I can’t exactly remember her talking, and the method didn’t matter. It could just as easily been coming from her, through, or as a result of, this fundamental physical communication.

Her high-speed, umbilical cord of physical tether to me, told me that I was I and she was she and we were one; like always. I had nothing to fear from being myself with her; and nothing to fear from her being herself with me; or anyone. Any traces of aloneness were replaced by the flow of my Mothers protective intentions to validate and encourage me to be exactly myself without qualifications; coupled with assurances that she would continue to be unapologetically herself. This transfusion of love over physical pathways rebalanced my world.

“Grandpa knows how to do ‘my’ things.”, I said, finally. “I know, honey.”, Mom started. “I knew there was something he wasn’t telling me on Friday.”, she said, like she was talking to an adult, now. “I never imagined it could be this; but after seeing the piano playing in the video, I knew he was using Wolfgang von Magnificent to tell us without shocking us.”, she said.

“He was in the kitchen on Friday, at suppertime.”, I blurted out, excitedly, even; a little overly excited for her tastes, I quickly realized. “Oh, was he?” she asked, rhetorically. “I’ll have to ask him about that.”, she said, her eyes looking up into her head.

“Listen,”, she said, “I want to make sure you know that I love you completely and nothing will ever change that. There is nothing that you could do that would ever take that away. You understand?”, she asked. “Thank you Mommy.”, was all I could muster as I squashed myself into her. Those words dissolved the last remnants of worry from my entire universe.

“Well?”, she asked, while squashing me in return and swaying a little, “What do you think we should do, now?” I got the decided impression that she saying that she didn’t need to have “that conversation” with Grandpa. I wasn’t sure, but it seemed like that in the moment. I put one hand behind her neck an one hand on her opposite cheek and pulled her ear close to my lips. “Nutcracker.”, I whispered and kissed her on her cheek.

“Okay. You go out there and play Nutcracker for Grandpa, then I‘ll follow.”, she toyed with me. “No, no. no.”, I said, in a didactic voice (though I didn‘t know that word described it at the time), “That’s ‘our’ thing now, so we must, must, must do it together.”, I finished, wagging my finger at her. She took in a deep breath and let out a long sigh, feigning her resign, “Very well, young maestro.” she said. “I’ll go out first, then you come out when I wiggle my hand.”, she instructed.

Chapter 8 – Bond

I will not re-describe what happened next on “Nutcracker Sunday“ (as we have come to know it). In the first book, Grandpa fully relayed the events of my Mom’s and my performances for him, Hunter and Dad. (Representing a beautiful and insightful understanding of what took place.) If he does say so himself.

Sunday dinner, eating and comfortable banter brought us all down to earth and closer than ever before. Afterwards, we watched Josie’s video. Grandpa helped Hunter with any words he didn’t understand in the poem and Hunter filled me in on anything I missed in the translation. I think it took us about eight or ten watches, but who was counting? Our goal was to perfectly recite the poem to the bouncing ball, which garnered standing ovations for Hunter and I. Hunter read it; I mostly memorized it.

We had no idea so many cat videos existed! Grandpa found an archive for us and set us up to view them. He and Mom went into the den; she was leading him in by the hand in a march. I was sure she was finally going to have “that conversation” with Grandpa. Hunter and I stayed on the couch and Dad on the loveseat.

We combed through the archive, tagging a few as favourites to show Mom and Grandpa when they came back out. Dad was roaring in laughter with us. We jibed him about getting a cat for ourselves, but all we could get him to commit to was to have Josie visit one day a week, if Grandpa was with her. “Maximum! And the cat bathroom is going in the garage.”, he outlined, “And you two will be have to empty and clean it after each visit. And then it stays outside for the rest of the week.”, he finished; in the forceful but harmless mixture that only he could pull off. “Small price to pay.”, Hunter told him crossing his arms in resolve, nudging me with their pendulum swing for my agreement. “Absolutely.”, I confirmed, showing off the latest word I had learned from Hunter on Friday. We three continued howling to cat antic after cat antic.

Mom poked her face out of the den door after a good, long while and beckoned Dad from the loveseat. He disappeared into the den for a few minutes and then they all came out. Dad went into the kitchen and made coffee (I could smell) while Hunter and I caught up Mom and Grandpa on the favourites we had tagged.

With Dad’s impeccable host’s sixth sense, he called us into the kitchen for drinks and snacks as we wound down to the last favourite on the list. He towered over his gathering like a giant bear in a small den of cubs as we four took chairs at the kitchen table; he continued standing and hovering. Tea for Mom, coffee for himself and Grandpa, juice for Hunter and I. He had laid out a variety of cookies, sweet cornbread and biscuits in a swirl around a large round platter, atop a lazy Suzan. In his expert, gentle manner he foreshadowed the hardest part of Sunday, easing us into the end of our visit with goodies and doting.

Grandpa told us all that he would take care of Josie’s “bathroom” for the next visit; but told us that he didn’t know how she would react to the new space and all the new people. So, warned us that he, alone, would be getting her comfortable before introducing everyone. And if he couldn’t get her comfortable, he’d have to keep her in her own “private little room” for most of the visit. We agreed to his cautions, but one look between Hunter and I confirmed that we were both certain that she would love it here; and us! “Absolutely!”, I lipped to my brother.

Grandpa excused himself to go to the bathroom and came back with his coat on his arm. We all got up from the table as he put it on. He walked down the hall with our family behind him. Mom, Dad, Hunter and I, in single file.

He put his right hand on the handle of the front door and turned to face us. Mom kissed him on the cheek, “Love you Dad. And remember what I said.”, she lilted, sweetly. He grabbed her hand with his left and squeezed it, then nodded one long nod and she kissed him again, on the top of his head. Mom moved off near the door to the den and Dad stepped up. Grandpa looked back up and met Dad‘s kind face, He extended his hand. Grandpa let go of the door handle and extended his own; Dad shook it (and Grandpa a little) and said, “Look forward to seeing you next Sunday, Dad. Thanks for coming.”, a genuine, welcoming, thanks that always seemed to smoothen wrinkles off Grandpa’s face. He bowed in response and Dad backed up into the living room entrance.

Hunter stepped up and hugged him around his waist. “Bye, Grandpa.” he said, simply; not wanting to cry and already having pushed the maximum number of safe syllables by two. Grandpa hugged Hunter’s head into his chest and held him there for what seemed like an uncomfortably long time; his eyes closed, like he was listening to something, intently. Finally, they let each other go at the same time. Hunter went to Dad and hugged his arm in his.

So far, Grandpa hadn’t said a word. I looked up at him and could not contain my tears. I sniffled up courage to open my mouth but found the infusion wasn’t near enough to brave it. I forced myself to take the two, effortful, resigned steps between he and I; my knees, refusing to bend; my hips, back and shoulders doing the work of slow-lobbing my legs forward. I had promised Mom to move “normally” whenever possible and the end result must have been painful for her to watch.

I stood before him; I overpowered my locked knees to simulate a small, but noticeable, flex and glided to his chest. I lightly wrapped my arms around his neck as he encircled me with his. He looked at me with an open-mouthed, shocked smile as he realized I was completely weightless in his arms. Through my tears, I was able to, yet, convey a quick, bright smile of accomplishment followed by a very short flash of camaraderie. He buried his face in my shoulder and started crying. I buried my face in his and resumed mine.

I wanted to join with him, know him, understand him like I had with Mom. But, that level of welcome wasn’t there. I didn’t understand why at that time, but it didn’t matter. We had shared a bond and an awareness together during the Nutcracker that was more than I could have ever hoped for this morning, while waiting for him to come so I could simply jump on him without hurting him.

Now, my secrets with Mom, Dad and Hunter were safe with him and his were safe with us. And, though, no one ever made me feel in any way alone because of my uniqueness, knowing Grandpa could deliberately do “my” things had brought a sense of relief to my heart. Knowing someone else existed that shared some (all or any) of my abilities opened up possibilities that I had inadvertently suppressed myself from even considering. I knew the bond between us would only get stronger. Surprisingly, to myself at the time, I was willing to let it unfold at whatever pace it presented itself; like Dad would have done.

We stayed like that until Grandpa and I had stopped crying. Then he bent his body forward to let me down. I hung off his neck but carried my own weight to the floor. He shook his head and smiled at me, knowing what I had done. He uttered a sound that started like a chuckle but ended in a high pitched clamping of his vocal cords before his lungs stopped pushing air through them.

I turned around to go to Mom, she had her back turned to us and was facing the door to the den. I walked over to her and hugged onto her leg. I looked up and saw that her face was soaked. She put her hand into my hair and pressed my head into her hip. Then she turned us both around so she could face Grandpa at the door. She just raised her chin to him and he lifted his open hand in goodbye. Then he left, making every mechanical sound of opening and closing the door as quiet as possible.

That day brought about a certainty within me, about my abilities and their future development. Knowing I could share this with Grandpa opened the floodgates of possibilities for me. I hope you can see how this plays an important part in answering the question, “How did it happen for you?”. An answer that would not have been complete, in my mind, without relaying the events of Nutcracker Sunday. Summing up, for me, the most important parts of my life, related to the manifestation and development of Meta-Skills. And has the added benefit of showing you my loving family environment. I have been so graced to call myself a member of this family.

Grandpa had asked me to describe a little of my history to provide a frame of reference to what is to follow. He is quite protective of me and worries that my more dastardly side might be misconstrued as mean, or worse. Indeed, I enjoy a very broad range of possibility of action compared to many and have a considerably more flexible concept of good, bad, right and wrong than most. But my intentions and end results hopefully speak their message past the details. I think he has nothing to worry about.

I will hand you over to Grandpa, at this point. He will describe some of the developments he has made in our new metaphysical “science”. And, possibly more importantly, some rules we have discovered that apply, which may not be so obvious.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, and Thank you.

Chapter 9 – Transition

I’m so glad Turner suffers (puts up with) my old-school (antiquated) embellishment (fodder) of favourite (overused) conjunctions and prepositional (generally unnecessary) introductions of grammatical objects. However that (Even though) our writing styles are somewhat (considerably) different, thankfully, our sense of humour is (wonderfully) not. Indeed, he may not admit it (or may gracefully so), nonetheless (but, truly), his writing style has definitely been influenced (expertly mentored) by his honoured (the honour’s all mine) Grandpa (beloved quintuple spouse), yet, whom which whose (his) gratefulness is eternally offered for the joys of sharing so much of my life (and for whom life would be markedly impaired were it not so, my husband).

That being said, observation is a two-way street as Quantum scientists had so intimately discovered many years ago; and finally, have fully extrapolated such, in recent years. Though my writing style has little changed, my demeanour has undergone some radical modifications in exposure to Turner‘s exuberant energy along with his dauntless purpose and drive. Not the least of which influences, as the first paragraph of this chapter so clearly illustrates, has been his ability to stretch my comfort zone with his trademark fusion of insightful comedy and love.

In an effort to tie up loose ends and provide continuity, I’d like to enlighten you on “that conversation” (as Val had dubbed it and as Turner jokingly refers to it), that Val had with me, in her den, on that Sunday of note, Nutcracker Sunday.

Except for during a couple of teenage revolt years, Val had always been one to start out with her best foot forward. She had explained to me as a 12 year old, “If you start out on the good stuff, usually the bad stuff takes care of itself before you‘re finished.“ I believe that this shiny diamond of insight has been instrumental in her expert mothering skills. And, very possibly, instrumental in getting many a confession from many a “defendant”.
She started out “that conversation” with acknowledging me in my new-found abilities. After pumping me for details as to how I developed them, she was genuinely impressed and congratulated me, wholeheartedly. My relief of not having to bear that secret any longer was written across my face and she hugged it out of me in recognition of my only waning discomfort.

She expressed concerns regarding the shock to her (and her family) on discovering my abilities in light of the fact that after 1 ½ years, knowing of Turner’s, they still had not fully come to terms with it all. She candidly explained to me that she had not informed me of Turner’s amazing development in the fear that I might want to expose him to the scientific community and have him frequent some medical facility (or worse, be abducted, unawares to either of us) to be poked and prodded. And hurriedly made me promise to never, never consider such a thing as ever being even a remote possibility of occurrence. “Never!” And, indeed, it was with great relief that I more than gladly obliged.

She then described the events of 1 ½ years previous, with she and Turner in the back yard. About the intense joining, one that she had never since invited from Turner in an effort to maintain as “normal” an upbringing as a child deserved in their young years. In that light, she elicited another promise from me; that I would refrain from the same with Turner for that said reason. I qualified my promise with the exception that this point could be open to revisiting; she agreed. She told me that she had admitted to Turner, since that time, that it was additionally, honestly, and simply too much for her to handle. And she added that if I was capable of such, that she was unwilling to “go through it” again; “So don‘t try.”, she said, in jovial tone, but commanding of my attention. She hugged me again and said, “Thanks for hearing me out, Dad.”

Then an olive branch. Introduced like clauses of a non-disclosure agreement. She expertly manoeuvred my previous promises into her welcoming that I may have Turner over to my home to teach him more “piano“, whenever it was possible… (pause for dramatic effect) … and whenever I was sure to be alone… (pause again) … or at least not with any non-family visitors… (pause) … and no taking any “documentation” videos. (period)

“Maybe you can help him better control it.”, she said, now in her usual unaffected cadence, “I nag on him a bit much because I don’t know how to help him.”, she admitted, looking at me with the “Please, Dad.” face that could always guarantee capitulation. For all intents and purposes, in my view, I had just inherited a protégé! However, it proved, much more often, to be the other way around! “Thank you, Val.”, I said, searching for more words but reluctant to inadvertently break her spell of offering; so I just hugged her and thanked her again. “Just remember what I said.”, she whispered into my ear, ominously. I knew she meant that she had just said that I could help Turner, that she had given me her blessing for “piano“ lessons; but her subtle shift in tone left me somewhat hanging.

Then the shoe dropped. I knew the lawyer was not far behind as she released me from our embrace and inspected me at arms length. The mahogany box was self-constructing around me in her mind and imprinting on mine, putting me on the stand under her cross examination. Sizing me up and planning her attack to break me into remorseful confession. I exaggerate, slightly, only to give you an idea of how completely on-the-spot I felt under her expert, honed and perfected “legal” scrutiny.

Finally, she brought up the point that she was aware that I had “visited” her home on the Friday before. I wouldn’t say that she was angry, exactly. Forceful and intent might be a more gracious framing for her mood during that part of “that conversation“. I admitted it without a fight; she had made sure to forfeit that possibility already! Ultimately, she made it very clear that I was, under no circumstances, short of genuine or fatal emergency, ever to “visit” her home like that without her express permission. “Ever!“ She asked for an apology and asked me to provide the same to Terrance. She called him in and explained the circumstances. I genuinely apologized to both Terrance and Val.

I remember standing in that room thinking how enormously thankful I was that neither of them had a penchant for holding grudges. This mighty duo, each endowed with more than ample brains and brawn for the pair, would not be welcome adversaries for anyone who might cross either of them. Val hugged me like “my little girl”, pulling her weight on my neck; “all forgotten“. Terrance reached his massive paw out to me, shook it and said, “Let’s have snacks!”, with his large, purifying smile. Both of them fully belaying my ascent back to their favour.

I took Val up on her offer and had Turner over to my home, usually, a few times a week over the next many years. Over the next four, I had kept my word to her and never attempted to join with him (or her, for that matter); nor welcomed him joining me. I also never revisited their home without my body in tow. “Ever!”

I deferred to her judgement whenever I wanted to instruct Turner in the development of his abilities, besides piano playing; and other than that, I generally helped him get it all under control while never forgetting that he was a little boy, with little boy definitions for fun and banter. When, in actual fact, he was a little boy a with lifetime of second-hand knowledge from his Mother and just a smattering of years of first-hand life experience with which to interpret it.

Chapter 10 – Memories

As the years rolled by, I realized something very important about Turner; which reflected on new information concerning the end results of joining with another human being. This became more markedly apparent to me once Turner started attending school. It was the expansion of his vocabulary and his interaction with a larger group of people that started a process of integration of his “larger than life” quantity of information. The meaning of which he was basically unaware because of his limited vocabulary and limited life experiences. These conditions which, in turn limited the scope and number of definitive concepts with which he could use to decipher this mass of information.

In order to explain this better, I’ll present, here, a working model of the concept of human memory that will simplify further explanations and observations. This is not to be construed as a definitive model, by any means; but an initial hypothesis of the potential structure of such for the purpose of providing an interim frame of reference with which to promote further understanding. (You should have been a politician.) So, though I may sound definitive in my relaying of this hypothesis, please understand, it is a hypothesis. (Though, another one has never been formulated, by us, to retire it.) The word “memory” has many definitions, but for my purposes, when I use this word below, I will be meaning the hypothetical concept as described here.

A memory can be considered to be a recording of an actual event including details of physical and emotional perceptions, and a host of other “tags” that identify associations such as emotional viewpoints concerning its content; informational opinion about it; decisions involved or prompted; and relationships to other memories, concepts, decisions, emotions, and present state.

The physical perceptions of the base memory recording are encoded in one’s own personal “shorthand.” In most cases; the details of the physical perceptions, actually occurring at the time the memory is being created, only contain those elements that your “shorthand” requires you to encapsulate; with as little overhead as possible. Therefore, our first lighting on a memory, in the action of recalling, would be much like seeing a sheet filled with partial letters and symbols making up shortened words and condensed phrases, yet, knowing that it represents a very specific message of an event. And only after reconstructing it against the symbolism that the shorthand represents would we be able to “read“ the full sense of it. To extend the analogy to include the emotions experienced during the event, one could imagine that the background colour of the paper on which a particular part of the message was written would change as the emotions experienced through that event changed. Basically, meaning that no actual “shorthand” is required to store the emotions attendant with the event.

Added to this, then, is a highly variable and extremely personal “tagging” of these memories. Which employment effectively makes it useful and applicable to other memories and to our business of experiencing life in general. One can tag a memory as good one day and bad the next; or leave it in an “undecided” state. One can tag it with an emotional viewpoint of the event, completely different from the one experienced during its occurrence. One can tag it as fundamentally important or as ancillary fluff; or to be ignored. Similar to emotions experienced during content, tags of emotional viewpoints would appear as “colour-coded” tags and would require no further deciphering to understand.

The slippery slope of this concept of memory might be obvious in the presence and understanding of our vast capability and unlimited potential for creative thought. Indeed, no battery of CGI professionals could come near the detail with which any one of us could create a full action “memory-movie“, attendant with all perceptions, emotions and a plethora of significant “tags”. On one hand, as harmless as thinking, with certainty, that one remembers laying their keys on the hall table, only to find them on the kitchen counter. On the other hand, a full blown fantasy existence that has little to do with the reality that the majority of the population may agree upon.

And, finally, to throw a few huge wrenches in the works: both our shorthand and tagging methodologies can be altered at any time; though our emotional colour scheme remains unchanged and shared. So, older memories encoded with previous shorthand and/or tagging versions can become fuzzy to us. Or worse, misinterpreted and being “remembered” as something else entirely than what they were originally encoded to represent. And throughout all of this, the only encoding that doesn’t change is the emotion experienced attendant with the actual event so stored and the emotional tags, if any. So, opening the door to feeling a given emotion about an event that is either being interpreted completely different from what actually occurred; fuzzy, indistinct, yet, somewhat decipherable; a misinterpretation of the emotional tag as being the experienced emotion when in fact it is only a viewpoint of one; or completely recreated in the image of our own creative paradigm.

Not an exact science!

The point being that most of the information Turner received from his Mother was in the form of memory “movies” and “video-snippets” of her experiences, condensed with her shorthand and tagged with her personal tagging system. Though not making them indecipherable in her absence; merely “fuzzy“. But, until he had the words and concepts to decipher these, they were effectively, so many movies for which he didn’t understand the subject matter.

The emotional content represented both the emotions Val had “assigned” to and had “experienced” with these events. And, indeed, he needed no vocabulary to understand these. It was the physical perception recordings of video, audio, smell, touch sense, body position, etc. that presented situational and circumstantial scenarios for which he had no frame of reference nor any familiarity with the concepts involved to understand.

Further muddying the waters; only those “movies” and “videos” that Val had considered important enough to remember (i.e. expressly encoded in her shorthand for future reference) were present in his knowledge about her. And further yet; only those details and perceptions of those experiences, so recorded, were present that conformed to her own personal shorthand, from which she could easily reconstruct the full details of these events. But for Turner, appeared as somewhat out of focus.

Based on his 4 and 5 year old descriptions of the experience; everything seemed crystal clear to him while “joined” with Val; however, mostly very fuzzy now. It seemed to me, at the time, that whatever he fully understood when joined with her, he took away with him; whatever he observed that Val didn’t have considerable attention on at the time, was now fuzzy. And anything Val didn’t have any attention on was invisible or non-existent in his body of data from her. Though, that was simply surmising at that time, it proved to be mostly true on experiencing it myself.

Until Turner started Kindergarten, I had him three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday; I picked him up in the morning and dropped him off just before Hunter arrived home from school. During the school years after that, I only had him on Saturdays and the odd Sunday or Holiday. During the summer months, however, I had him as often as possible and he quite regularly slept over. I always made the most of my time with him. As did Josie; she made clearly apparent!

After a few years of school, added assistance from his brother, Hunter, and extensive exposure to my literary inclinations, his vocabulary had expanded greatly. I have to say, Val contributed to this with her own language, piling on acknowledgement, encouragement and love. By the time he was 8, much more of the content he had acquired from his Mother had become understandable to him; though much still lacked context.

One day he asked me about something that no 8 year old should have need or concern to understand. One summer afternoon, we were both sitting in the kitchen, he was in Josie‘s chair and she was on his lap. “Why would Mom hide Hunter’s teeth from Dad?”, he asked, eying me for reaction. “I’m not sure, Turner. How do you know that?”, I asked in return. “Well, she wouldn’t let Dad in the bathroom when he knocked and she felt bad about it, then she hid Hunter’s teeth in a little bottle, before letting him in. She was still feeling bad about Hunter’s teeth and about Dad after she let him in. But then they had a shower and… and… she felt good again.”, he explained. I was obvious to me that this was something picked up during the joining with Val. I could tell he was uncomfortable talking about it and that he was most definitely sitting on other details about which he was even more uncomfortable.

I didn’t push him on it. But realized the ticking bomb of potentially misunderstood, personal exposure to which Val and Terrance were open. And, the potential premature sex education that might be required in this light. I also realized that I would have to talk to Val about this; and that I would, first, have to get Turner on side. Neither of which I was particularly looking forward to doing, but I was genuinely concerned.

“We may have to talk to your Mom about this to get a full understanding.”, I fibbed; truth was, we would definitely have to talk to her about this. “She would be too embarrassed.”, he started. “She might feel like she was being spied on or that it was too personal.”, he concluded, more talking to himself than me. “Well, …”, I stalled, my concern mounting, “we’ve talked to her about other memories you‘ve had from her. And that always went well.”, I said to his unusually blank face. “Yeah, but that was all silly stuff that was funny. This one is weird and… complicated. I don’t think she’ll like it.”, he paused, looking up inside his own head, “Dad locked the door and I could tell she was happy he had done that and she didn’t want anyone to come in or even hear them.”, he gingerly dropped some more details.

To whom was help being given, here? A moment ago, all I could think of was how to help Turner through this precarious situation. Now I was getting the decided flavour that Turner was running a gambit on me. It was so easy to forget that this young 8 year old boy, with the most loving demeanour, could, yet, run circles around me. He’d been expertly manoeuvring me into situations since he was 5. And I never seemed to figure it out until it’s too late. Resigned that I’d met my match, I went “all in”.

“Okay,”, I sighed, “I’ll talk to her first and get her…”, I paused like I was looking for a word. A small counter-gambit to give me a sense that I at least had a little bit of control. “Acclimated.”, he offered; I made a mental note that the language he‘d been using up to now employed his very “young“ vocabulary. But now that he had me paint myself into a corner, he was bringing out the big guns. “Yes, acclimated to the idea of gently addressing this with us.”, I finished, raising one eyebrow at him. Belatedly noticing that I had used “us”, like it was somehow “our” problem and not Turner’s.

He stood up, laid Josie on her chair and came over to me. He fell into my chest and hugged me. “You won’t be sorry, Grandpa.”, he said. I hugged him back, warmly. I was now certain that he was ten steps ahead of me, as usual. This was just the impetus of something he had already, completely worked out. Within a few days or a week, I would witness the end result. After he had dropped the other nine steps into place.

What made it so easy to allow myself to be manipulated by this boy was one simple fact. Wherever he was leading me, albeit by the nose, was somewhere to which I would be wonderfully happy to arrive. If he was unfailing at anything, it was most definitely that. Honestly, he has always been unfailing at almost everything. (Thank you.)

When I dropped him home, I talked to Val in her den; I sat on the sofa and she on her desk. I told her what Turner had told me, in the same young language as he had used, in an effort to weaken the blow. Surprisingly, she wasn’t at all embarrassed. “I was wondering when that would come up,”, she said. “Terrance thinks it’s gross that I keep the children’s teeth after they fall out. I don‘t even know why, but I can‘t bring myself to throw them away; so I keep them out of sight.”, she informed me, matter-of-fact.

“The other thing. Well. It was all the night before,”, she giggled, “and all that morning I was bouncing between thoughts of my handsome husband and my gross habit of collecting teeth, then Turner ‘showed up’ in my head.” she finished. I couldn’t tell if there was a euphemism in there or not. Nonetheless, I probably just checked off steps two and three in Turner’s plan. “Okay.”, was all I had.

“Thanks for being honest with me, Dad. Though I’m sure Turner put you up to this in some way. I’ll take it from here.”, offhanded and businesslike. Maybe, even, step four! “Okay.”, I repeated, feeling a little like a ping pong ball between she and Turner. “I’ll see you Friday morning, when I pick him up. Love you, Val.”

“Love you, Dad.” she said and walked me out to the door, hugging me goodbye. Turner was in the kitchen, peeking down the hallway at us. I rolled my eyes at him over Val‘s shoulder. He silently snickered into his hand and gave me a thumbs-up. What was I getting myself into?

The day after next I showed up at Val’s in the morning to pick up Turner. Terrance had made an extra serving of breakfast, knowing I would be coming over. I thanked him in absentia and enjoyed his eggs, sausage and cornbread while I chatted with Val and Turner. Finishing, I thanked her and then thanked her again for Terrance.

Turner and I headed out the door. She touched my forearm as I reached for the opened door’s handle. “Turner and I would like to come visit you on Sunday!?”, she asked, or informed, it was not always clear with her when she didn‘t want it to be. “Absolutely!”, I said, excited about the prospect. “How about Terrance and Hunter?”, I asked. “Terrance is taking him to a bike park with half-pipes and grinders and about ten other things I can honestly never keep straight in my head.”, she told me. “So, it’ll be just us.”, she wrapped up with a smile and moving her head side to side like an Egyptian dancer; then blowing a kiss to Turner.

Step seven or eight? I wondered.

“Mom’s got a plan!”, Turner enlightened me after I had closed the door behind me. I was feeling too ping-pong-y to figure out if that meant his plan or her plan and offered myself to the winds of fate. “Wonderful!”, I said, and I was genuine. “She said it will be our ‘Sunday Meeting’ to figure everything out.”, he added. “Like what?”, I asked, uncharacteristically terse; my mind was deadlocked. “She didn’t say, exactly, just that she’ll be joining us and we’ll get everything figured out.”, he said, equivocally mischievous; unidentifiable grey messages thumping out of his expression like a concrete mixer, burying me in the dark, immovably.

Definitely step eight. Minimum! There was one little thing that I was certain I had over Turner (and Val), in that moment; my anticipation for the coming “Sunday Meeting“.

Chapter 11 – Remote Control

Before I relay the events of Sunday-Meeting; I would like to go back a little to cover some of my activities and development that also occurred during the 3 ½ years between Nutcracker-Sunday and Sunday-Meeting. Still, for the most part, inextricably tied in with Turner’s involvement and contributions.

It took less than two weeks to write the first draft of “Legacy” (now titled “L.E.G.A.C.Y. Book One”). Val was kind enough to proof the draft before I submitted it to my publisher. After some small corrections and alterations on advice from one of the editors there; the book was released for printing within a record three weeks. I had published a number of short story and novella fictions through this publisher over the years, but this represented my first venture into non-fiction. Non-fiction writes fantastically faster than fiction, I had learned. This also marked the first time I had ever published anything under a pseudonym. Which, realistically, only offered minor insulation between my family and the general public. But I was not that well known as an author to warrant much subterfuge; and it was not the general public about whom I had any concerns.

After giving my book the legs to walk on its own, I returned to the business of development. I still had many questions about my, and now Turner’s, abilities. And was particularly interested, initially, in controlling Josie’s loud sensory information and learning to control her motions. I also, very much, wanted to improve and perfect my ability to perceive outside my body.

For the purposes of discussing some details below and for future reference throughout the remainder of this work, I would like to introduce the following terms:

1. Remote-Sensing: Perceiving through the biological organs of a life form other than one’s own body. As, for example, I have done many times with Josie.

2. Remote-Control: Operating the motor controls of a life form other than one’s own body. Mutually inclusive with remote-sensing. Not to be confused with moving a body part of a life form with Free-Motion.

3. Remote-Perception: Perceiving without the biological organs of any life form. As one might experience when “out” of their own body but not necessarily “in” or “with” another’s (remote-sensing); though both can be managed concurrently, under various proportions.

4. Joining: The circumstances under which two or more individuals are sharing their emotional, creative, and memory “spaces”. Regardless of the presence of or connection to any physical body of any party.

I’d like to repeat a point, here, that these phenomenon are not necessarily exclusive from one another; in that they can all be done simultaneously to varying degrees. As one can “be” in more than one place at a time, so one can perceive or “move” in more than one place at a time and via multiple methods. Though I had found this duality of, or multitudinous, ability a little difficult to develop, Turner had perfected it very early. As you will see in a later chapter when I describe how I came to learn this from him.

For many months after the release of the 1st printing of ”Legacy”, I spent a considerable amount of time sharing Josie’s body for the purpose of perfecting my ability to manage her perceptions. Controlling her muscles and actions would come later.

In that process I learned how to attenuate all of her sensory information streams down to a dull roar; in marked relief from their, general, cacophonous blare. Initially I was concerned that I might be, inadvertently, influencing the volume of these data as they arrived to “Josie“. But none of her movements or other actions seemed impaired while I was doing so; this provided sufficient deductive information for me to lay the concern aside.

Her super-sense of balance was the most difficult to dampen. Being from an organ for which we, humans, have no, exact, counterpart. We have such an organ, but its structure is sufficiently different that the sensory information coming from it appears altogether foreign. Plus, there is an additional layer of integration with hair follicles, and tail orientation; all undercut by an almost continuous hum of static body position information. Making it difficult to interpret, much less control or dampen. This all being from my personal experience; minimally scientific and highly subjective. Nonetheless, I eventually got control of the volume of the super-sense information and an improved sense of interpreting its information flows.

My next project was bringing this all together for the purpose of moving Josie’s body while “with” her. I approached this very methodically. I listed out, then flexed each muscle and muscle group I could fathom the concept of her having. All the while, being careful not to upset or shock her. Miserably failing at both for a short while, but with persistence, I was able to move her around, adeptly. Under one very important qualification: when she was so inclined to allow it. If she (or I for that matter) was in the slightest of “concerned” moods about an activity, little worked. This included, as you already know, even the simpler exercise of merely being a passenger with all movements under her control.

This led me to an odd, occultist, hypothesis; debunking the concept of “unwilling possession” by demons, spirits, ghosts or any number of unknown spectres from the “other side”. If, indeed, such exist. The hypothesis being that one’s body cannot be “possessed” by another life force when either of them are unwilling. Enforced by the fact, that the feeling of admiration and good-will, culminating in love for each party for the other, was an absolute prerequisite before any such joining or “possession” could occur.

Without a doubt, this proved to be the foundation of understanding of the self-correcting mechanism that effectively barred me from performing any motion with Josie’s body that was in any way interpreted as disconnected from admiration and good-will. As soon as some motion of mine was hurting her, or made her “uncomfortable” or was out of alignment with her survival instincts; it got shut down. Then the pathways that might allow the execution of such actions disappeared and my exertions for such “fell on deaf ears”.

This line of research also reinforced the validity of the corollary to the “Metaphysical Law” developed in the first book. And gave me quiet comfort in the growing certainty that military, governmental or corporate espionage and warfare would be thwarted in any attempt to use these developments for ill gains.

I exhausted my research into this after well over a year of experiments. Turner was 6 years old by that time. I approached Val concerning these new abilities and explained the auto-correcting properties that effectively removed the possibility of anything from going wrong. I asked her permission to introduce these abilities to Turner. She had already read my book in proofing and again in print; so she was well aware of what she might be getting Turner into with the “Occupation of Josie” as she, offhandedly, put it. She gave me the green light.

I spent the next few months bringing Turner through the reading of “Legacy” (the first printing). I watched him closely so I could detect when he wasn’t getting what he was reading. Going over the definitions of many new words with him and getting examples of their usage. I quizzed him after each chapter and detected other holes in his understanding, mostly related to my, arguably at times, convoluted grammatical structures. And, indeed, grammar tuition consumed the larger part of getting him through the book with understanding.

As an aside, within just these few months as his tutor, his already impish displays of his disproportionate vocabulary turned absolutely monstrous! The unbearable ferocity with which he devoured, then demonstrated, new words would set a new standard for his literary rampage over the next 2 years; peaking when he was 8 and finally toning down as he got to the point of exhausting the language reservoirs of any obscurities for which he was reduced to scouring. It was only shortly after he started to learn a foreign language, late in his 8th year, that his whole method of communication changed. Employing only that vocabulary necessary to convey the idea at hand and nothing more. It was a radical and refreshing change. (And welcoming salve to the bleeding ears of our loving family.)

In all fairness, I should point out, for the most part, his erudite displays were mostly reserved for Val and I. And though I can’t speak for Val, I willingly take responsibility for encouraging him with equal or greater ferocity than he displayed. But I may speak for myself in saying that, from my observations, she did the same; at least as far as I believe my memory has faithfully recorded.

Once I had successfully and completely over-killed preparing Turner; we set out to get him oriented to being with Josie. They already had established a loving relationship. Without a doubt, she spent the majority of her time on his lap when he was visiting compared to her infrequent brushes with me on those days. It took no time for him to get acclimated to being her passenger and very little to get a good handle on controlling the volume of her perceptions. “Much easier than Mom.”, he had commented.

Notwithstanding his impressively growing vocabulary and grammatical prowess, Turner was still very much a 6 year old boy. So, as you might imagine, he couldn’t wait to tell Hunter, and Mom and Dad, that he had felt Josie poop and pee! I opted for Terrance’s approach and stayed out of it. Hoping that no blowback would come from Val’s quarter when she would, undoubtedly, hear about it too.

Controlling Josie’s motions took a little longer for Turner than simply riding passenger, but outstandingly shorter than my own development path; privately, I held him to a high bar. (Privately?) He just dove in, got locked out, re-established connection and repeated; 1. 2. 3., with an unstoppable enthusiasm. Josie didn’t seem to mind; she simply cut him off when he over-stepped the line with his trigger-happy excitement. To a marked degree, it was she controlling the rate of development; putting a ring in his nose with which she led him through the process. She was having no rampaging bull in her china shop!

Compared to my many months of painstaking, muscle by muscle, group by group, experiments; it took Turner less than three days with her. On the third day, he did something that shocked me. It should have been an obvious logical progression, but, for some reason, I had never even considered it; nor had it ever occurred to me.

Chapter 12 – Intimate Control

Turner’s body was sitting in his Grandma’s chair, he was “in” Josie while intermittently letting her clean her fur, then taking over to run or jump her around. Unlike his bullish learning curve; he was very aware of the motions she was instigating for her own purposes and very respectful of her ownership-rights (as he had described it) to do them. At one point, she headed down the hall toward the bathroom, to her litter box. Turner got up off his Grandma’s chair and followed her. He came back, following her, and sat down on his chair, then resumed running Josie around but still allowing her own actions when she so instigated them.

From his chair, he looked at me and smiled. I had assumed he was now “out” of Josie and back in his body; as I had assumed when he had gotten up to follow her. But Josie kept doing things that were easily recognizable as not characteristically her type of actions. “Are you out of her?”, I asked him. “No.”, his body answered me. “How are you talking then?”, I asked, knowing that I had this very trouble when out of my own body. “I’m almost never all the way in my body anymore, Grandpa. I only get in enough to speak and move so people don‘t get frightened.”, he informed me.

How was it possible that I had missed this? I was floored; not only had I missed it, but I hadn’t ever followed this line of thinking to its, now, plainly obvious conclusion. If you can be in multiple places at the same time playing two different melodies involving chords, why not control two bodies at the same time?

“Turner!”, I exclaimed. “I have never thought to try it!”, now giddy. “Oh. Not much different than playing ‘Swan Lake‘.”, he said simply and continued playing with Josie; like he had been reading my mind; which he hadn’t, I don’t think (joke). (But one never knows.)

“Then why did you bother to follow her?”, I asked, something still didn’t make sense to me, as my logic got the better of my giddiness. If he could just “be” in the bathroom to remote-perceive and, at the same time, “be” in Josie to see with her eyes; why would he need a third method of sight with the eyes of his body? “Josie lets me do more if I’m … “, searching for the words or lost attention; I wasn‘t sure, “Um … She just likes to know you‘re there.”, he finished, somewhat distracted with the fun of running around with Josie. I wanted to pump him for more information but decided to leave the 6 year old boy and the 10 year old cat enjoy their fun. I hurriedly went to my pile of notes and jotted down some pointers to follow through this line of investigation with Josie.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but after a few days and many lists that had been dutifully checked off in the name of science; I had a good handle on being partially in my body while controlling Josie‘s. I also experimented, with success, the operation of multiple fishes at the same time.

I, additionally, verified that Josie was decidedly more likely to allow me an action with her body if I was in her perceptual, as opposed to line of sight, proximity. I determined this by running her in the kitchen, then moving out of sight, on the other side of the wall, at which point her response to my actions very slightly decreased but made no further decrease as I increased my distance from the kitchen, across the living room and down the hall. However, when I made a sympathetic purr with the back of my throat, while out of her sight but within earshot, her awareness of my proximity re-established a more fruitful connection. Her sense of smell did not seem to play a part, though I wasn’t exhaustive on that line of evaluation. In Turner’s succinct assessment: she just likes to know you’re there.

The next time Turner was visiting after that, I demonstrated my progress with the fishes. I had them all swimming after each other in a circle. Opening their mouths and snapping up fish food. All the while, I was talking and making ’gulping’ sounds whenever one ingested a morsel of food. He was roaring with laughter.

“Let’s make a video for Hunter! And Mom and Dad!”, he squealed, uncontrollably. “You be the fishes and I’ll be Josie. We’ll call it “Josie and the Fishes” and we’ll write a poem for it. But we won’t use the bouncing ball this time.”, still no breath. “I know!”, as, impossibly, more lights lit up his already bright face, “I’ll get Josie sitting by the tank, swatting her paw at the fishes, but them doing nothing. And whenever I get her to look away, you make the fishes do something weird; like, maybe come out of the water and look at her, then go back in before she turns around. Or run them in circles, then when I get her to look back, you stop them all.”, he hadn’t taken a lick of air from the start. He inhaled a long deep breath while looking off, with joy, no doubt at the imagined finished product, now playing in his mind. Probably populated with all of us rolling on the floor in laughter.

“We can do an Act II.”, I said, getting caught up in his excitement. “I’ll set up the other fishbowl outside the frame. When you get Josie to swat her paw at the fishes, I’ll move one of them to the other bowl. Like she’s dismissing them, one by one.”, I laughed at the thought.

“Perfect! I’ll make a paper crown for her, with hearts on it. We can say ‘Off with their heads.” each time she swats and makes a fish disappear. Or ‘Be gone‘!”, he continued. “I wonder if I can get her to ‘meow’?”, rhetorically, “If I can get her to ‘meow’, then we could just add subtitles, and have her say all kinds of things. Even in Act I. Forget the poem. Let’s do it that way!”, he shouted, raising both hands in the air.

We spent the rest of the afternoon making that video. Truly a wonderful time with my grandson. And the premier at “Valance House” was literally a roaring success.

Over the next couple of years, I continued training and being trained by Turner. I could tell my body was getting weaker as my muscle mass gradually decreased. Thoughts of mortality started to find their way into my days. Losing contact with my family was something that I would do almost anything to prevent. And in relentless scientific form, I addressed this with a list of options which quickly whittled down to one.

I needed to prepare to be able to survive without a body.

I didn’t know what all the ramifications might be, but I had plenty of paper and ink; and I wasn‘t dead yet! It didn’t take me long to get a highly generalized short list:

1. I needed to find a way I could snap back to a pet or a family member or a robot, or something along any of those lines.

2. I needed a corporation through which to continue writing and making my own way; whatever “way” that might end up meaning. This corporation would need to be endowed with the rights to everything I’d written and would have to be allowed to continue to print current and new works under my name and pseudonyms.

3. My family would have to be aware of these plans and I would have to elicit their help to keep my corporation in the family.

A week before “Sunday Meeting”, I had gone over this very rough list with Val, after dropping Turner off. She shook her head at it in disbelief. “Of course I will help you, but you can’t really believe that this is possible. Dad. You don’t know what’s going to happen when you die!”, she said, shaking her head and looking up at the ceiling. “I really need to think this over and come to terms with the whole concept of what you‘re trying to do here.”, now looking at me and indicating the list with an open hand.

“Even if it were possible, this would never get past corporate law;”, she said, shaking her head again and looking at the list, “the articles of the corporation would have to be iron-clad; and any hope for its future would have to nailed to ‘legal‘ nepotism.”, now realizing she was thinking out loud. Looking back at me, “Okay. Leave it with me, Dad. I’ll work out something under the assumption that you’ll pull off whatever you ‘think’ that first item really means.”, she ended on a professionally noncommittal note. She laid my list on her desk, face down and patted it. A gesture that told me that the “law” talk was over and prepared me for a change in modality. Her communication skills were always impressive.

Then, “You haven’t done anything that we talked about with Turner, right?”, she kicked up to a new notch of “strictly business”, but not the business of law anymore, much more important business. “Absolutely not, Val.” I said. “Never going to happen without your blessing. I promised. And even death wouldn’t make me break it.”, quickly realizing I maybe shouldn’t have brought that idea so close to home. I felt sorry, now that I had used that wording; I could tell I had made her think of my dying even more and I could tell it was affecting her. I added. “I’m not going anywhere soon; but you know how compulsive I am about preparing for things. This is still a long way off, but I want to get it all in place soon anyway.”

“Okay, Dad.”, she said and walked over to me with her arms out. I got up and gave her a big hug, she held me in it for some time. “Thank you, Kitten.”, I told her and kissed her cheek. She walked me to the door and I called out “goodbye” to Turner who answered back, out of site in the kitchen. I said goodbye to Val and left, heading back home. For all her flare for relaying every nuance of her intentions; she was completely unreadable after our long hug.

Chapter 13 – Sunday Meeting

As I had mentioned before, when I open my eyes to a Sunday morning, I always know what day it is. But my normal comforting thoughts about the character of this day were playing a poor second fiddle to the solo performance piercing my thoughts. A wonderful movement of excitement; with highlights of anticipation and counterpoints of apprehension. Indeed, inspiring me to think about composing a piece to communicate the concept that even in the heights of beautiful mixed emotions, sobering reality, invariably, makes its subtle presence felt.

Val and Turner were coming to visit today. And what was it that 8 year old boy had said to me on Friday? “… she’ll be joining us and we’ll get everything figured out.”, yes. What on earth did that really mean? Rules about hiding things from family; sex education guidelines; corporate law dead ends; what? There wasn’t enough scrap paper in my apartment to capture the possibilities running through my mind. Like a thick rain that precedes the springtime blossoming across The Netherlands countryside and almost equally as one that precedes a dense London fog. I couldn’t decide if I would be blinded by colourful surprises or cloaked in damp, grey ones.

Scientific methodology would not help with the complex melting-pot in the emotional hamlet of my family. I would have to sit for tea, shut up and wish for the best. I had the two most formidable individuals in my life coming to visit. Individuals who did very little without precisely considered objectives. Individuals who rarely failed to accomplish said objectives. Objectives about which I had a torrent of ideas with no umbrella of certainty.

In the absence of scientific methodology, certainty may only be obtained with faith. And what more fitting a day, in our Western Culture, to give myself over to this fickle virtue, which has been attributed to having moved mountains. And, indeed, I needed to move the massif of ambiguity that was sitting on my chest if I had any hopes of getting out of bed.

At the expense of over-staying the welcome of my metaphor, I entertained that I was, probably, making a mountain out of a molehill. I had the two individuals for whom I had the most love visiting me today; and indisputably, from whom I received the most. If anything was deserving of my faith, they and their love for me were most certainly candidates of the highest regard. And, with that thought, I pushed both range of concern and folds of sheets off my chest and confronted the day. I freed Josie from her carrier and we performed our morning hygiene rituals.

Though we hadn’t set a time, it was doubtless to me that they would eat breakfast together as a family, before coming over. So, I prepared my own and ate well as Josie licked the last crumbs of hers from her chops. Following her cue, I cleaned up after myself, then laid out preliminary preparations for tea, juice and snacks before their arrival. After pouring the last cup of coffee from the carafe, I put on a fresh pot that I intended to store it in a thermos for myself. I sat with my cup of coffee and regarded Josie, who was looking in my direction; she had finished her cleaning also.

Usually she would hop over to my lap. But she stayed on her chair and meowed at me. Something I had only ever heard her do when Turner had “asked” her do it in the “Josie and the Fishes” video, and that was, easily, two years ago! “Turner?”, I asked Josie. “Meow.”, Josie answered. I hadn’t developed the “tether to loved ones” that Turner had; so I wasn’t 100% sure if it was really him.

“Meow once for ‘Yes’ and twice for ‘No’, okay?”, I asked Josie. It was impossible to put the thought out of my mind that I should be “documenting” this as “Josie and the Grandpa”. I set my handheld to record. “Meow”, Josie answered. “Is that you, Voltron Electron?, I tested. “Meow, meow.”, Josie answered. “Is that you, Turner?”, I asked. “Meow.”, Josie answered and swatted her paw at me; something else she had never done to me.

Not only was her meowing very un-Josie-like; it was very un-cat-like. It sounded completely normal for a cat, but looked like a painful contortion of her neck, jaw and facial muscles. Possibly like an actor might look, running through mouth exercises with a biting toothache. Her neck craned, her head tiled, her mouth opened, causing her eyes to partially close, all before any sound was uttered. Then in a sudden short burst, a very normal “meow” sound exited her throat. Followed by an instantaneous return to her usual calm, symmetrical composure. If it wasn’t for the joviality of witnessing it, I’d say it was downright excruciating.

“Incredible!”, I laughed through each syllable, “Are you with Val?”, I asked. – “Meow”; “Are you on your way here?” – “Meow.”; “Does she know you’re here?” – “Meow”; “Ask her if she wants me to put the tea on.” (pause) “Meow.”

I stood up and flipped the kettle, on. I was tempted to get him to ask her if I should be worried, but I didn’t want to put him in between our conversation. Plus, I thought to myself, I was going on faith, right?

“Can you make Josie smile? Like the Cheshire Cat?”, I toyed. He did; I was instantly sorry I asked, “Stop, please!?” I begged him, covering my eyes with my free hand, embroidering my disgust. John Tenniel’s rendition for Lewis Carroll was manifestly more palatable than the grotesque result in real life. It literally made me shudder. I peeked out between fingers to see Josie’s usual sweet visage. “So sorry I asked!”, I laughed. I received no response to this comment as Josie started darting her tongue in and out of her mouth, demonstrating her own disgust. Which was only slightly less repulsive to endure than her smile. She had probably, I suspected, temporarily locked Turner out. I stopped recording; mentally changing the title to “Josie and the Faces”.

I got up and took some cookies and biscuits out of their packaging. Laying them on a plate in a swirling pattern that would have made Terrance proud. I puttered some more as I waited for either the kettle to boil or to hear back from Turner. I filled my thermos with the fresh pot that had completed brewing, then emptied the used grinds and cleaned the carafe. The kettle whistled; I warmed the teapot and made the tea.

Josie was now on my chair, watching my every move; probably wondering why she hadn’t had a chance to nuzzle in my lap yet, this morning. I picked her up, sat down and delivered her due of love and attention. For which I receive much purring and jowl rubs.

A knock came on the door; I put Josie on the floor and went to let them in. She followed as usual and circled Turner’s feet as soon as he was in the door. Greetings and kisses ensued then we all went to the kitchen. Turner sat in Josie’s chair with her on his lap. Val sat opposite my chair. I hosted the refreshments.

Val had a purse with her that effectively doubled as a briefcase. She pulled out a yellow, legal size, pad and a pen that had four different colours of ink. I could see there was a list of items on the top sheet; written in her hand and in various colours. She arranged her space at the table as she might at her desk. Fiddling with her placement of the yellow pad, adjusting the arms-length reach of her teacup and moving the plate of goodies a little closer to she and Turner.

Turner was remarkably quiet but not disquietingly so; he was petting Josie, possibly in apology for having commandeered her face for the expressions that were not in her repertoire; mercifully. I’ve often wondered if she knows or can recognize the difference between being controlled by Turner or myself; and therefore know against whom to level any complaints. Nonetheless, it was obvious that no grudge was being held over the ostensibly unpleasant experience for Josie (and the Faces).

I sat down with my coffee and grabbed a handful of biscuits off the plate so I could keep my mouth filled; giving Val the table. After all, she had called this “Sunday Meeting”.

“Okay.”, she started. “I have thought on the things we talked about a week ago.”, right to business, “And I have discussed some aspects of them with Turner. I have also come up with a few items that I’d like to discuss with the both of you.” I put another biscuit in my mouth.

Turner looked up from Josie and put his attention on Val. “I’ve come to the conclusion that Turner is actually in the best position to help you with your plans. I will help you legally and we will work out how to write the charter articles to keep the ownership secure and allow you to be involved no matter what state you find yourself in after… you know.” Definitely a euphemism. “Turner will help you with whatever you need to do for that first item on your list, if he can. But I don‘t want you two talking about why you are wanting to do this; just do it as an experiment or something.” Red ink selected and item checked off. In my mind, I was garnishing it with Daffodils.

I nodded, slowly, deeply and thankfully. Turner was still looking at Val, serenely. “Aside from whatever you and Turner get up to; we three, whenever possible, will meet and hammer out all the corporate details, together. I think we can get it done in a few weeks.”, she checked off another item on her list.

Tulips to my ears! I was ingratiated, honoured, grateful. “Thank you, Val.” I said to her. She nodded, smiled at me, then Turner, and tapped her pen on her list. “Thank you, Turner.”, I said to him. “She figured it all out, Grandpa.”, he said, never taking his eyes off her.

“Okay.”, next item. “I know Turner is only 8, but I am giving you the responsibility of his sex education. He is probably going to ‘recall’ other things that he got from me; he probably already has, and it‘s too late to do anything else about it. So, I’m trusting you to address them with him as he has questions. I‘ve already talked to Turner about keeping these things to himself and not discussing them with anyone besides you. I don‘t even want to know.”, no euphemism required. “Okay?”

“Okay.”, I said. Momentarily exiled to the misty shores of the Thames.

“Okay.”, she acknowledged and checked off another item. “Now, for the tough one.”, she started, sitting up in her chair and shaking her head in disbelief of herself. “Dad, you should ‘join’ with me like Turner has done so that you know what ‘information’ he is dealing with from me.” “Okay.”, I pre-empted. “And I don’t, ever, want to discuss a single thing that you see in there that we haven’t both expressly experienced together in the real world! Nor will I accept discussing any personal viewpoints I have about any of those that have not come about from my willing, vocal disclosure with you. Got it?”, she asked with a small forward motion of her head that stopped dead, with her eyes locked to mine. “Absolutely understand, Val.”, I answered respectfully, Gladiolas breaking ground in my heart. “Okay.” she chirped and checked off another item with a little wiggle of her head.

“Next.“, she resumed. “You should ‘join’ with Turner so both of you know what one another are dealing with, in the face of all this extra ‘me’ floating around. Additionally, that may shed some light on what you need to do for that first item on your list.”. She took in a deep breath and let it out, then inhaled again. “I will be here when you ‘join’ with Turner for the first time to make sure it all goes well. After that, it is up to you two how you manage each other’s… head spaces or whatever. If anything goes wrong when you ‘join’ with Turner, the whole thing is off. Okay?”

“Val,”, I started. I was transfixed, wordless. Faith had delivered a bounty of fresh blossoms on row after row of White Lilies. I would step up, be worthy and harvest. Turner had an expression of pride, admiration and adoration on his face that would have unsettled Mona Lisa. He turned his head slowly toward me, his face unchanging; as soon as my eyes connected with his, he drew them over with his own, inciting me to regard her.

I have never been a particularly religious person but I had the undeniable urge to get down on my knees. Maybe it was primal or maybe it was from my touch with faith this morning; but it was a physical calling for which no other action seemed suitable, in that moment. I searched for words or actions that might portray the gratitude and respect I was feeling towards her. Finally, I stretched both hands out and dropped them to the table as I bowed my body to her. Imbuing meaning into this ancient action with my heart and soul. “Thank you.”, I said, fanning orations of such with my bowing torso and arms.

It was not lost on her, I could see. She bowed her own head to me and wiped tears from her eyes. Then shook it off her shoulders, gracefully and looked at me, bravely. “Okay, how do we do this Dad?.”, as she made another checkmark on the yellow pad, without taking her eyes from mine.

Chapter 14 – Joining Val

We moved into the living room; I sat in my chair, Val in her Mother’s chair, and Turner sat on the piano bench, but facing the room while playing her melody. She had decided on her willingness for this earlier in the week. “Bump me out at any point, Val.”, I told her. “Oh, you can count on that!”, she said without hesitation and a shrewd smile. She darted her eyes over to Turner, he just quietly smiled back at her. She closed her lids and settled back into her chair. And I “went” to her.

Turner had done justice to describing her “personal, family space”, previously in this work. I recognized, from his descriptions, the wisps of gaseous colours, each tagged with an identity of one close to her heart, each intertwining with the others. Some in stable swirls and some continuously firing little fireworks on contact at various points along their length. And, as Turner had described, I witnessed that there was no scale to her love of her family; each jet stream of individuality had no value-classification compared to any other. They all contributed to, and comprised, the staggering volume of her love without qualification; neither of size nor relative influence or importance.

Like a van Gough, of his sweeping forms of colour and brush, each of which, fully required to communicate his deepest feelings; none could be left out nor added. Or a Seurat, no dot could be said to be more or less important than any other to convey his imagery and content. Or a Colville, no line, curve or shading in stroke or colour any less important than any other in representing his respect and regard for reality. I was in the middle of my daughter’s personal Louvre, showcasing her artistic creations of love; in active display with the nuanced techniques of the masters.

But her memories of her lifetime were, at the same time, impinging equally on my attentions. As Turner had undertook to describe, the concurrency of it all was both overwhelming and enlightening. The sheer volume of content, colossal and vast. With an even greater volume representing the relationships and interactions between each. I fully understood her “shorthand” while joined with her, but it took focused concentration to reorient to that understanding, later, when not in her intimate presence. The same was true for her “tagging system”. The totality of her keepsake memories, their content, their tags and the significance of both their relationships of content and relationship of tags, descended on me in an instant. Bringing a level of understanding of my daughter that I could never have imagined having.

I was, yet, in the midst of a third concurrency. A miniature galaxy of information! “Mom’s got a plan.”, Turner had said on Friday. And I was humbly engulfed in the light, layered folds of it; much more substantial compared to her wispy representations of family and her freeform, state-diagrams of memories. Turner had described very little of what the future looked like within the many frontiers of Val. I could easily discern that these were tagged as creations; altogether different in character to her entwined representation of family and her mass quantities of memory-recordings. Though, constructs of, and references to, both were present within it.

She had many individual groupings representing various plans, each, about which she had the choice to bring to focus for active envisioning. Each a celestial formation in its own right. I was swept up by the one that was dominating her mental field of vision; her current plan for which “Sunday Meeting“ was designated to enact.

Familial emotional tendrils actively intertwined within it folds, leaving little pockets of coloured gases and collapsing others, giving its structure both body and breadth as well as colour and character. Memories and tags of memories provided the earth from which patterns of possibilities grew. One could describe it as having the conceptual shape of a multi-coloured cornucopia in the form of an Archimedes spiral. Etched in its surface were fractal recursions of its own shape representing inductive, deductive and reductive significance to elements of the plan.

The whole structure was tagged with a sliding scale of commitment; certainty at the larger end, down to the smaller end that represented mere contingencies. Mid-sections of it were pulsating in body and shifting in colour as her real-time re-assessments altered their dynamic within the whole. Her plans were succinct, closed-system, dances of factors and variables; with lives of their own.

Regal children of the love, memories and intentions that constituted the monarchy her domain. Ruled by a powerful wielding of rationality and compassion. Each conclusion, stamped with her Royal Seal. Each decision, made noble by the bejewelled sceptre of her will. Her galactic realms of order contained no dissidence, no subversion, no waver.

“Awe” is the only apt word to say; a single syllable when words fail; a sympathetic breath, long of both tender vowel and soft consonant. Communicating humility, wonder, relief, acknowledgement and thanks at once. I wanted to stay there, forever; which would be exactly half the time required to fully appreciate any one aspect of the complex beauty before me.

I had no thought of self in that moment, except that the exposure my daughter was allowing me was being reciprocated at the same time. I could see the results of her “fully seeing me” as a contorting gas nebula in the throws of stabilization. It’s shape, temporarily distorting under the influence of an unbalanced gravity source of understanding at its core. Then stabilized once her own realization of reciprocation balanced out that gravity well, obscured by the fluctuating clouds; its presence only known by the confluence effect it had in shape, colour and form.

A static union was made in that “moment“. Two glorious nebulae of communal summation merged in a silent melding of vaporous co-existence.

Then it was all evaporated with a cosmic-scale wave of energy coming from Val. Obstructing my view of her entire universe with a single lick of its gamma-ray intensity. Her full attention was directed to something she hadn’t witnessed in over five years.

This massive burst of energy came from her recognition of the essence of Turner. And she greeted him in a welcome modelled against the big-bang itself. I thought I would lose my connection her. But his blanketing calm quieted all.

Turner was “with” us both.

Chapter 15 – Joining Turner

No sound was necessary, no direct communication, no spiritual nudge or mental awakening. His presence stifled any imbalance with his clear, unambiguous intentions of good will, that everything was going to be wonderful, that he was going to take care of any possible strain and imbalance. No thought of worry could survive in the midst of his silent chorus of angels, tending to our tiniest concern. Thoughts of losing Val in the presence of his obvious power flitted away in the wake of fresh air encouragement from white wings of sweetness. And after harking his arrival with these warm, quiet messengers, he showed himself to us; exposing his spiritual underbelly.

A crisp, soundless, pristine High Arctic expanse; as untouched, clean and white as our own Northern parts have been for over a million years. In the permanent evening of an eternal autumnal equinox at the height of its enduring wisdom. A half set Sun to the South-West, a vast composite of day and night at the Zenith, and a continuous Northern Lights display to the North-East.

Fun, furry, multi-coloured Malamutes of welcome, with tongues hanging out and tails wagging, bounded towards us. More real and visual than his subtle greeting of angelic impressions. Their piercing blue eyes, smiling as wide as their lolling mouths. Intentions of jumping and licking and sharing warmth, written in every motion, hit us in waves before they ever neared us. The powerful security of the pack, promising unreserved protection, love and immunity on arrival.

Slowly lumbering behind them, huge, white, elderly Polar Bears; taking their time, ruminating over precious memories, digesting their lessons and rehearsing the tales they will tell of them. Laughing at the dog’s young uncontained excitement. Commanding attention with their massive bulk; waylaying fears of their unstoppable weight with an un-purposed progression of relaxed pace. In no hurry, soon to arrive to curl us up with the dogs, in their warmth. Tendering huddle for ears.

The Sunset!

All too many colours in horizontal transitions from one to the next. So subtle as to be impossible to tell where one left off and the next began. Layer upon layer of highly organized, compressed information he had recorded about his life. When I lighted my attention on any area it swelled into a three dimensional magnifying globe of insight. Revealing expertly reduced details, now expanded in full sensory and emotional accuracy. Though it was apparent that the colours in the sky compressed tighter as they neared the horizon and less as one‘s gaze approached the zenith; the details never suffered as I perused his life in sentimental reverie and adventurous discovery. Moving my gaze upwards, away from the horizon, the recordings were of more recent events; more detail available on initial glance, less magnifying required to expand. In understatement; I was fascinated by the orderliness!

The Zenith!

The metaphysical concept of the present moment has been addressed by many philosophers, spiritualists and scientists over the course of our documented human history. No consensus has ever been agreed upon, except for one. The present moment is that phenomenon of sentience that is both the “everything” of awareness and the “nothing” of substance. No matter the vocational platform from which it is viewed; this observation is all anyone may hope to extract.

Where the stark blue sky of recent history meets the twinkling twilight of nearing futures; bracketed by the totality of experience to the West and endless possibilities to the East; the zenith of Turner‘s mindscape presented one with an incomprehensible urge to look away. Where only the brightest of stars may peek though; each dangling a string like bright, reflective, tiny helium balloons; tethered together and held by the invisible hand of a child.

Geometric lines of compass and rule fired off in all directions; plotting formulae of past and prediction of future; a graphic display of mathematical proof and statistical analysis far beyond the years of his junior education. Astoundingly beautiful and edifying to view, unbearably crushing in its weight of intangible force for which I had no understanding past its pressing presence. Indeed, I looked away from Turner’s living display of the present moment with little more that those who had engaged the concept before me.

The Northern Lights!

Turner envisioned the future in a chaotic dance of colour and form. Not limited to the green, blue and yellow hues of our physical-world counterpart; but similar in its random, sporadic fluctuations. They were superimposed over a field of stars representing those with which Turner may need establish a gravitational relationship. The lapping, serpentine sheets of colour shook, dissipated, exploded, bled, died, ganged up on neighbours, murdered enemies, incinerated incongruities, glowed in appreciation, pulsated in desire and sang both hymn and requiem.

No imaginable emotion or intent was missing in the interplay of potentialities his young mind could encompass. No embarrassment or remorse for revealing the scope of his entertained possibilities of action. Unapologetically displaying the unconceivable breadth and power of his free will. I was proudly scared in horrified thankfulness. Like with the unbearable weight of the present moment, I had to look away.

The expanse.

On white-covered land and sea, the huddle had begun. The dogs snuggled around Val and I. The polar bears’ bodies fashioned a cave of fur, warmth and safety; with a fire pit in the center, bellowing calming crackles. Burning our heavy logs of overwhelm; thankfully limiting our vision to the comforting circle of the light it threw. The Malamutes shuffled and stirred, continuously, providing maximum surface contact with Val and I. Infusing their welcome with touch, pressing their smiles into our laps. Melting any dichotic thought that might lessen our comfort with minor adjustments in their heat transfer.

The polar bears “talked” to us, each an indisputable facet of Turner himself, as were each of the happy dogs. The bears’ kindly visages appeared out of the walls of fur, affectionately brushing our “faces” with theirs before “speaking“. Imparting plans of future rendezvous cloaked in stories of hilarities with “slapstick” Josie.

And Val disappeared.

I cried in Turner’s fur igloo and the dogs consoled me with sympathetic howls. Some standing now, pressing their sides into me, with their heads raised, issuing lamented farewells to our shared beloved; their coats shifting through shades of purple. I followed their lead and let my moaning free to the soft absorbent ceiling; through which they dissipated. Releasing my woe, supported and sympathized by the choir of my pack. I felt renewed, and renewed again as each dog returned to sitting in acknowledgement of my healing. Gradually returning to their happy, colourful dress and subtle, comforting nudges of togetherness.

Turner had “left” also, except for his reassuring presence in the shifting bundles of warmth in which I was being cuddled and the solid ones that shielded me from the unendurable completeness of he, just outside these walls.

I don’t know how Turner did it but the environment in which I found myself was palpable and real. I could smell the fire, feel the wiry hairs of the Malamutes and hear the resoundingly smooth voices of the bears. I knew he was “gone” and knew he was still “here” and knew he would be “back“. Neither thought contradicted any other in this timeless shelter; unbound from rules of logic, sequence, and necessity of any kind.

Chapter 16 – Running Turner

On the other side of the bears’ bodies, I started to hear murmuring and I knew Turner was speaking to Val. Though, I couldn’t, exactly, discern the words, Turner was cheering and reassuring her, that was clear from the tone of his voice. I wished I could be there with him and contribute to uplifting her. Then I saw her face through his eyes; in answer to my whim of a thought. Up until that moment, I had not engaged Turner’s physical senses; I had only been wrapped in the safety blanket of his mind. Now, just with the decision to do so, his other senses opened up access to me. I was remote-sensing Turner.

Being in a human body was much different from being in Josie. Familiarity abounded in interpretation and volume of sensory data. Indeed, I thought of the “riding a bike“ adage; but riding a horse might be a better analogy.

I only monitored his senses, as I had first done with Josie. But, unlike being with Josie or the fishes, I found I was unable to share my attentions with my own body. Maintaining my connection to Turner consumed my all, and I did not want to impair my connection in the slightest. I had the safety of the furry den as a protected fallback if I inadvertently got bumped out. I was not concerned. However, I made a mental note to investigate how I might increase my bandwidth in this regard.

Turner was hugging Val close while sitting in her lap; thanking his Mom, over and over as one might expect from a young boy. Fantastically, her melody was, yet, playing on the piano and I doubt it had ever stopped, throughout. I realized, I truly had no idea of the depth of his abilities; however, in his presence, it was clear that he did, and with all the confidence in the world in that surety.

I had missed some of the conversation between them, I was certain of that. “Okay, honey.”, she was saying, giving him permission, agreement or acknowledgement, I wasn’t sure. “Are you still with Grandpa?”, she asked. “Yes, he’s seeing and hearing now.”, he informed her. It was clear she’d understood what he meant. “Hi Dad.”, she said and rustled Turner’s hair; throwing her head back in laughter.

Turner gave me the reins. I don’t know how he did it nor how I knew that he had. “Hi Kitten.”, I said, with Turner’s young vocal chords. The cadence and inflection pattern were completely mine, I could hear with his ears and feel with his throat and bones. But the pitch was at least an octave above my own. Val shivered in feigned disgust and made a face like she had something terrible in her mouth. “That’s just wrong!”, she said, and shook her head again. “That’s definitely you? I wish I could ask you something that only you and I would know, but that ship sailed this morning. Maybe something I haven’t thought about for a really long time?”, she asked, in earnest. “Give it a try.” I squealed. She shuddered again but didn‘t grace me with any clue of feigning it.

She rolled her eyes up to the left, searching for some obscure old event in her memory. After some long minutes, “Now, don’t bother if Turner knows the answer to this.”, she qualified. “Okay.”, I squeaked. “What did I say when I was 13 and you took my phone away?”, she asked. I, again, still not sure of the mechanics, consulted Turner and received a negative response.

I personally had to scour my memory to pull this up. Indeed, this was a long forgotten tiff, buried under much larger conflicts in her revolting years of discovering cigarettes, boys, pornography and sex. Finally, it fell out of my dusty attic, “That you would send smoke signals out your bedroom window if you had to.”, I exclaimed, inescapably like a child. “And Turner, honestly, didn’t know the answer?”, she asked, turning her head and looking out the corner of her eye at me. Turner gently relinquished his welcome to his motor controls and answered for himself. “Nope, never saw that one.”, he said. She instantly recognized her lovely son and kissed him.

“Okay, Turner, I get the idea. You two just work out whatever, whenever. But I want to talk a little more about this new corporation.”, she outlined. “Okay, Mom. Just a minute and we’ll be ready.”, Turner informed her. Val wiggled him off her lap and he hopped to the floor. She went into the kitchen to pour another cup of tea for herself and I heard her use the microwave to heat it up.

Turner’s sensory information flow disappeared and I was back in our huddle, this time with a reproduction of his 8 year old body where Val had previously been sitting, surrounded by nuzzling dogs. The level of security and comfort in that virtual space was incredible! I could sense his compassion for me; his knowing that I didn’t want this to end. And I was impressed with his rationality and patience in that he conveyed his joyful focus on the fact that we could now move forward, joining each other, with his Mom’s blessing. The bears agreed in soft rumblings and a few of the dogs yipped in consent.

And, without a second thought, I was back in my own body, shifting my old bones for relief. Turner was sitting in his Grandma’s chair, looking at me. I opened my arms to him and he glided over and hugged me tightly. Josie was up on the breakfast counter with Val behind her, both looking over at us. She was smiling and sipping her tea with one hand, stroking Josie with the other.

It was not surprising that Val’s melody was still playing on my piano.

Chapter 17 – Snapping Back to Turner

Indeed, “Sunday Meeting” had been Val’s and Turner’s master plan. Neither of which would take full responsibility for it. I gladly submitted to being an unwitting recipient from noncommittal benefactors. It is difficult to express the deep level of honour and gratefulness I felt for them both; for the most profound and caring gift I have ever received.

Within a few weeks Val, Turner and I had worked out the corporation’s charter and established the “recursive acronymic foundation” of its name (Well put.). Within a few months, we had gotten it up and running with office spaces and staff. I had the first working prototype of my new “half-body” developed that I would call home once I could no longer sustain my biological one. And I managed Legacy Corp. from a distance in dry-run of the eventuality when I would no longer have my physical body.

Over the next four years, myself and Turner stumbled though the moral limits of our abilities; though, mostly mine. Some of the adventures of which will follow. And, toward the end of that four years, Turner had resolved my problem of failure to snap back to my faux-android body; for which I will be, literally, eternally grateful (Good one!).

Turner will describe our many exploits into remote-sensing, remote-control and remote-perception. He also further developed his ability that we eventually called control-space; though it deserves a more descriptive moniker, in my opinion (I agree, though concede that it is preferable over my original suggestion: “space-control“.).

As Grandpa said, between the ages of 8 and 12, I spent a lot of time with him exploring “remote-everything“, and of course, “joining“. It was early during this time that Grandpa increased his bandwidth for simultaneously maintaining various tasks outside his body with remote-whatever. Including, importantly for him, to carry on a conversation without having to relinquish a connection with me. It progressed quite naturally; indicating that it was simply experience and application that was needed to develop it.

Together we explored remote-sensing via many different animals. Trips to the Zoos and farms took on a whole different meaning for us! We weren’t, particularly, interested in an exhaustive documentation of these experiments regarding remote-sensing with animals; they were mainly just fun outings. But, we evaluated what level of rapport was required before permission to control was allowed with much greater attention to detail. And, we discovered, much less rapport was required to merely remote-sense compared to remote-control. We could ride passenger with almost any animal with little or no “effort” or familiarity. But, to remote-control an animal required that we get to know them somewhat and establish a trust of sorts. As a result of following this line of investigation, we got to know many of the pets belonging to neighbour‘s around us. And, we stumbled on a very important moral issue in the process of addressing this: the right to privacy.

Now, Mom had already addressed the limits of remote-perception allowed in her home; and made her parameters very clear to Grandpa and I. But remote-sensing, say, a dog who decided that humping the leg of a lady in a dress was only slightly less interesting than burying a bone; well, that was a very different animal, indeed, and forgive the pun. Though, as a young boy, I found this to be a howling hilarity, Grandpa was more reserved about it. And, of course, myself and Grandpa set out to evaluate the subject of privacy, much to his unreserved dismay.

Eventually, he had to come to terms with something that I had already told him. “People are just worried that you might do something bad with the knowledge they consider ‘private’.”, I had said, summing it up in my young (and accurate) simplicity. “Probably, the whole concept was originally enforced on society as a result of ‘benevolent leaders’ wanting to hide their insular and exploitive intentions.”, I added, happy to jam in a few new words and “fingered-quotes” for effect.

After much discussion, and conversational squirming, Grandpa settled into the fact that it was okay to perceive anything, so long as you didn’t use it for harm of any sort. Though, he qualified it further to include: “without intention to specifically violate that which someone may consider as personal and private.” I acknowledged his right to any limitations for himself, but that I was simply using my reference of not using information for ill-will as my guiding rule. It didn‘t take long before he shed his self-imposed barrier.

We helped many people as a result of being in their homes with their pets; inadvertently or otherwise. One time, Grandpa woke up a neighbour with their dog after he smelled cooking oil burning, from outside their locked apartment. Another time, one of my neighbours was hunting for a lost set of keys while I was “visiting” with their cat; I found them behind a sofa and pushed them out into plain sight.

Grandpa wrote a series of short stories under the banner of, “A Josie and the Tiger Short Story“, using the obvious pseudonym “Tiger Banter”. Where in he described various adventures of an old man, Tiger, and his beloved cat, Josie, who he could both talk with and control. Together they rescued other cats from trees, put out literal and figurative fires and generally saved the day for law abiding citizens. Only our family and close friends knew they were loosely based on actual events.

Mom was not so flexible on this aspect of the subject privacy during remote-sensing either, though she quickly handed the issue over to her trust that Grandpa would manage it well. She understood that we wouldn’t be able to make a cat or a dog do anything harmful, simply because of the nature of the relationship required to even “be” with another life form. We always kept her appraised of what we were doing.

Abilities related to remote-perception were a little more difficult to develop. Initially, we were unable to project ourselves much further than our immediate environment when doing it within Grandpa’s apartment. However, if Grandpa was at his home and I was at mine, I could easily “go” there; but if he was not, I was unable to get a “lock” on the location of his apartment. We finally deduced, in those circumstances, that a loved one must be at or near the desired destination; a workable premise, initially.

This led to three areas requiring development: fine-tuning of Grandpa’s ability to maintain “tethers” to loved ones; discovering the part “intent” played when we were attempting to remote-perceive in any space; and finally, our development of the capacity to geographically traverse the world to any location desired with remote-perception (with the proviso that the intent was based on admiration and good-will).

Chapter 18 – Expansion

The ability to confront the love that one has for another being, or any life form for that matter, carries a flavour responsibility with it. On top of the promise to continue that love, which is fundamental to it, sometimes it is not so easy to encompass some of its ramifications. The willingness to drop whatever you are doing when a loved one is in need; the ability to stretch your comfort-zone to accommodate them in your life; and, the most difficult aspect to confront, the recognition that separation from that source of mutual love is, qualifiedly, inevitable, even if, finally and only, in death.

The more you embrace these aspects of your love for another, the stronger your connection to them becomes. When out of your body, to whatever degree, only those connections, that you have committed to, appear as tethered to you; but you have to maintain an awareness of that commitment in order to perceive the tether. It’s not a passive phenomenon. Once Grandpa (and I) understood this, his tethers to our family, and closest friends, came into “view”. All he had to do was fully feel his love for them; and the more presence of mind he had while doing that, the clearer the tethers appeared.

This understanding expanded both our abilities to remote-perceive over a broader range of locations; but not a greater sphere within those locations, necessarily. And as we flexed and exercised our remote-perception muscles, we came around again to the two fundamental principles incorporated into Grandpa’s Metaphysical Law and its Corollary.

As an example: one time I tried to frighten Hunter while he was in the back yard at home. My tether to him instantly disappeared as I had the thought and I was snapped back into my body, directly and fully. I felt terrible! After re-establishing my thankfulness for everything he had done for me, how much I genuinely loved him and how much I wanted to do good things for him, my tether to him came back into view. And I could easily “be” in the back yard again to admire or observe my loving big brother.

This was shedding welcome light on Grandpa’s Corollary Law. He had told me that throughout much of the 20th century, various military and governmental departments were trying to develop remote-perception for espionage and warfare. And invariably failed, though they reported limited success in clinical reproduction of the actual phenomena; it was never successfully deployed for their, less than humanitarian, objectives. A comforting observation which supports that Law, and provides confidence in the self-monitoring, good-will properties of our activities.

I found no “natural” ability to remote-perceive outside a limited sphere within the chosen destination of a loved one. Nor had Grandpa. His approach to understand more about this took the path of his scientific methodology. Painstakingly boring for a young boy and a comforting, familiar procedure for Grandpa.

I never understood why he bothered with paper and pen when he always had his handheld with him. At any rate, we spent many afternoons in the park with pen, paper and a rolling tape measure (also unnecessary with his handheld). We practiced “being” at varying distances from our bodies’ location, verified the maximum distance while maintaining crisp perceptions, and repeated.
You might not think about how you are perceiving as you scan the views of an open park while listening to the birds sing. We are so used to using our eyes and ears that it is easy to overlook the fact that we shift our focal length on an almost continual basis and exercise selective hearing at the same time.

Remote-perceiving does not have these facilities “built-in”, so we had to develop them for ourselves. The concept of focal-length did not transpose without eyes. What we finally worked out was a method of shifting our viewpoint regarding the scale of detail we were interested in perceiving. One can look at a tree and see the trunk, branches, leaves and flowers; or look at a tree and see a splash of colours in an outline of form and recognize it as a tree without further inspection or attention to any specific detail. It is a deliberate and very subtle shift of viewpoint that, as far as I know, we have no similar counterpart action in our physical perception of the world around us. Except, maybe, selective hearing. Though, after remote-sensing with cats, dogs and other animals, some of what we learned in the attenuation of their sensory information flows proved useful.

Soon we were visiting the city to flex our abilities to reach, and clearly perceive, various levels along the towering floors of skyscrapers. Then to long stretches of beach, comparing notes on which structure we were reaching up or down the coast. Finally, after those exercises, we were able to easily, and quickly, make the leap to inter-city, inter-national and inter-continental perspectives for the purpose of “being” somewhere only for the primary objective of perceiving; as opposed to being somewhere for the purpose of being with or near a loved one.

Again, all painstaking but fantastically effective. The development and resulting ability seemed somewhat unnatural. Being at Grandpa’s to see how he was doing or being in the back yard to check in on Hunter seemed as natural as hugging Mom. And, technically, neither actually required perception to satisfy the desire, in that I always knew when I was in the vicinity of Grandpa or Hunter without the necessity of “seeing” or “hearing” them.

This extended our perceiving abilities to include doing so primarily for the sake of perceiving. I was glad Grandpa was in charge of this one. Not that I took charge from him, particularly, but technically, I was 1 ½ years older than him Metaphysically, and a few more culturally. But our “age” difference had no bearing on our development in this specific area.

It took very little time before this seemed completely natural for both of us. Sort of like walking upright; it is not the instinctual method of mobility a baby chooses; but eventually, it becomes second nature. One could walk away with the thought that, spiritually speaking, our first instinct is to “be” with love, followed by development of the ability to “be” with perception.

Eventually, both of us came to the understanding that it is our right to be and perceive from the viewpoint of any “location” we chose. Knowing that it would only be possible under circumstances founded in good-will and admiration. And for us, this put to rest the privacy concerns regarding our abilities in both remote-sensing and remote-perception. The only limitation we put on it was if we had promised not to do so; to whomever.

But that only laid to rest the two preliminary aspects of our moral concerns regarding privacy. One: where an individual is being observed while remote-sensing through the eyes and ears of an animal, under circumstances where they are not aware they are being observed. And two: where they are being seen and heard, also unknown to them, during remote-perception in their vicinity.

A further and more intimate issue of privacy had to do with the matter of joining with another’s totality of self. And very little privacy survives that type of union.

Generally, when a “joining” is brought about, private and intimate thoughts, memories, plans, etc. are exposed to each other; to a greater or lesser degree. I, additionally, have an ability to create a “control-space” where my own expanse of self is not visible. Though Grandpa never developed this ability, he did develop a “quiet-space” where his own presence of thoughts, memories, plans and emotions were sufficiently attenuated as to appear invisible. Which kind of made things seem doubly “unfair” concerning privacy. In that not only could we view the entirety of available information from a willing person, we could do so without revealing anything about ourselves in the process.

In an earlier chapter, Grandpa had talked about the precarious tightrope of creative thinking that can lead to potential misinterpretation of memory information under circumstances where a change of memory “shorthand” and/or “tags” occurs. Related to this, we observed that some people additionally “redact” parts of their memories with an extremely complex shorthand that makes it difficult, even for them, to fully reconstruct an accurate account of the events actually recorded in a memory. This being a different shorthand in use to compress regular memory information. So, even in the joining of minds, some things are kept private from others’ scrutiny; but often also from their own. All that being said, we found this type of stratagem to be extremely rare. Most people are open books and experience no strain on their “spine” as a result of being so.

Regardless of reciprocation or not, during joining, ill-will, however “innocent”, blocks visibility of all information. Meaning, if an individual has ill-will towards you, yet you have built a rapport with them and they have agreed to a joining, even tacitly; your information will not be visible to them. And, of course, vice versa. So, privacy has its own built-in protections in alignment with “Metaphysical Law“.

Finally, the real elephant in the room; the subject of remote-controlling an individual’s body. This melds a mixture of both free-will and privacy. But, most importantly, free-will. We already knew from our experiences with animals that no action that affronted their survival instincts or presented a flavour of ill-will were possible. But things are not always as black-and-white as these guidelines might appear to demonstrate. A sentient, human being, is much more complex than an animal; and we are often much less rational.

An individual may want to do a particular action but restrain themselves out of personal concerns. There are actions that an individual values as intimately connected to their survival; simply by thinking them to be so. Josie, as a comparison, almost always locked us out when she felt she needed to clean her fur. So, some individuals would always lock us out when they needed to brush their teeth or wash their dishes. People put different importance on different actions and relate them to their survival based on emotional, social and experiential factors. And by “people”, I mean you and I.

Rules were difficult to establish regarding this; when involving us human beings. And, ultimately, because of such variance between one person and the next, we resolved that the only way to deal with it was to “wing it” for each individual. Unlike with animals, we simply couldn’t predict what actions they might consider as immediately necessary, at any given moment, and therefore lock us out from their motor controls. Nor which actions, however inconsequential to us, might be considered completely disagreeable to them with the same result.

And then there is the subject of using remote-control to prevent a self-destructive or an other-destructive action. One might think this would be straightforward, but we did not find it to be. What an individual considers to be important or necessary is exactly that. And any attempt to remote-control counter to their will to prevent such actions invariably fails.

This led us to an understanding about free-will that neither of had ever considered before. We had skirted around it and had bumped into it. But after so many encounters, we finally had to confront the frightening truth about free-will.

Every individual has the free-will to do absolutely and unrestrictedly anything they wish. This doesn’t change the fact that consequences may be dolled out by other individuals enjoying the same freedom. Nonetheless, as brutal as it sounds, we all have the free-will to do anything, good, evil, kind, covetous, or any other extreme of any dichotomy possible; and any grey area in between. One might go as far as to say that free-will to do as one chooses is the most fundamental right an individual possesses. Regardless of anyone else’s agreement or lack thereof with the actions taken under that license.

This was the greyest of grey areas we had yet encountered. In both observing the intimate, private and personal spaces of someone’s mind; and the control of their bodies to perform actions willed by us.

I, like Grandpa, have written many “fictional” short stories over the years (since I was 12, in fact); one of interest here, under the fictional author Viorel Bucur. Showcasing the Romanian Vladislav Dascalu and his sired grandchilde come protégé, Stephan Nectaria. Please keep your Romanian dictionary handy! In an effort to illustrate some of the ramifications I’ve covered in this chapter in a less didactic voice; I present you with a very short story:

Chapter 19 – Vampirilor de Dragoste
a short story by Viorel Bucur

Desiree D’Amour was a little shy, a little shorter and rounder than her friends, a little self-conscientious and a little bored with all the stereotypes. But there was nothing little about the capacity for Desiree’s heart to live up to her name. And, in fact, nothing little about her heart at all. She was prettied with a matronly and pleasant 18 year old face that was no stranger to smiles. One of those faces, you would instantly know, that would age fantastically well; but no idea how you knew it. She was a barista at “Bean Time” in the only mall in her hometown. A summer job before post-secondary education in the big city.

Mario Cantavero was slightly shy, slightly shorter and rounder than his friends, slightly self-conscientious and slightly bored with all the stereotypes, himself. Unfortunately, Morris, more than slightly, lived up to his name, which his “friends” had never let him forget since middle school. “Marry Oh! Can’t have her, Oh!”, which finally got shortened to “Can’t have her.” before his 1st year was out for summer. A truly kind and mature face for an 18 year old young man, that extended all the way to his heart; the source of his unassuming good looks. Morris worked as a security assistant in the only mall in his hometown. A summer job before post-secondary education in the big city.

An old man, 80 years of age and a young boy of 13 (though he looked no older than 8 or 9), frequented the mall together, almost daily during the summer months. Vladislav Dascalu and his grandchilde, Stephan Nectaria; of obvious Romanian descent with their stark-white complexions; sharp, angular facial features; straight brown hair; and patently handsome visages. Contrasting their almost regal procession through the mall was their keen and genuine interest in people. Charming, enchanting, and engaging; with memories for detail that bordered on eidetic.

On introduction, they never uttered their own names and conducted the affair as though announcing their arrival at royal court. “This is my Grandchilde, Stephan Nectaria; call him Steph, if you please; or Stephan, if more to your pleasure.”, the old man would say, bowing as he waved his arm in a grand, aristocratic sweep to indicate his Grandchilde. “And this is Vladislav Dascalu, my Grandpapa. Call him Vlad, if you would be so kind.”, the little boy would say, sweeping both arms down then upward, with princely composure, introducing his towering Grandpapa.

No one ever questioned this ritual; attributing it, in absence of understanding, to a quaint cultural oddity. Nor did the few who knew them from last year, question the fact that the little boy hadn’t grown a lick since the previous summer. “A congenital issue, no doubt. It’s impolite to pry.”, they likely thought.

Very little observation was required to catch glimpse of the exchanges between Desiree and Morris, which lingered marginally short of staring. Or to notice the inordinate amount of coffee young Morris drank and the slow pantomime search of his pockets for tips as the queue grew long behind him; and his shaking hands as he dropped coins in her jar. Or the particular and doting attention Desiree paid to his condiment measures and her exactitude in lining the lid’s drinking opening opposite the paper cup‘s seam; to minimize possible leakage.

Both Vladislav and Stephan were, of necessity, intimately familiar with subtle rituals. And this urban fertility dance was not lost on them. The longing was palpable, the restraint, excruciating and the intent, wondrously pure. A feast of emotions laid out on a platter of granite and terrazzo.

Vladislav and Stephan got down to business immediately. Though, not abruptly. If patience is a virtue, then these two souls were the most virtuous of the virtuous. They undertook a ritual of their own; planned, methodical and invariable successful under these circumstances of young love; circumstances under which lifetimes of decision could be pledged in a moment of consummation with a mere kiss.

After “formal” introductions with Desiree; any many days of establishing himself as a welcome regular, Vladislav gained a rapport with her. “Well, my new Granddaughter, what do you suggest I try this evening?”, he would ask her. She would offer up coffees from around the world and explain the details of the bean’s agricultural heritage, processing methodologies, preparation techniques and condiment variations. Vladislav had the natural ability to be so completely “there and interested” while listening that it almost mesmerized her. Amid giggles and uncharacteristic flare of facial expressions, Desiree soon grew to adore her time with her new Grandpapa. “Please, call me Grandpapa.”, he had said, until she tried it on to a raucous round of applause, ear-to-ear smiles and hopping dance from young Stefan. Who made it a point, now, to call her “Big Sister” whenever he could, for a while.

Grandpapa humbly, and eventually, regularly, asked her to mind Stephan. “Would you be so kind as to care for our young boy while I perform some of my more elderly errands?” Vladislav would ask her after some more days had passed. “I would simply die if anything happened to him! Could you seat him behind the counter, close with you, dear daughter?”, he entreated her, subtly shifting her “relationship” to he and Stephan, appealing to her maternal instincts for their young boy. “Of course!”, she squealed. Stephan hugged her waist as a boy might with his mother, unapologetically familiar. “Thank you Mo-… Desiree.” he’d falter, often, but not too often. “Big Sister” had been gradually phased out of his vocabulary.

After “formal” introductions with Morris; and many days of establishing himself as a local of the town with heartfelt interest in its welfare, Vladislav gained a rapport with him. “Well, my new Grandson, what has happened in our town this past day?”, he would ask him. Morris would offer up various issues of library reconstruction; municipal meetings scheduled; town holidays, fairs and special events; road repairs underway and the detours involved. Vladislav always made it a point to express thanks to him and illustrate fitting details as to how pertinent Morris’ information was to him; helpful in his day to day life; with commensurate concern, outrage or excitement, as the case may be. Morris felt someone was truly listening to him; but more importantly, that he was being, actually, helpful to this decent old man. Morris grew to like, and even anticipate, Vlad‘s new comforting address, “Thank you, my son.”, he’d say.

Yes, this decent old man who, obviously, couldn’t bare to have is Grandchilde, Steph, out of arms reach; unless he was with “…our dear darling Desiree, that lovely young woman, takes care of him as if he were her own!” And what a bundle of joy that young boy was when hanging on his Grandpapa‘s hand! Always watching, back and forth, from face to face as his loving Grandpapa and kind Uncle Morris talked. That is, when he wasn’t with Desiree, ecstatically waving to his Grandpapa and Uncle Morris from across the foyer. “Uncle Morris is so kind to Grandpapa.”, he would say to Desiree, sometimes, for a while. “Look,“, young Stephan had said, pointing at a plaster strip on an elbow or a knee, “Da… Morris did that for me!”, he’d falter, once or twice. “Uncle” had been gradually phased out of his vocabulary.

Thoughts of shared love and family blossomed in both Desiree’s and Morris’ minds. Serendipitously encouraged by praising Desiree’s, not unwarranted, mothering skills to young Stephan; and Morris’, not unwarranted, kind attentions to the same. Their exchanges lasted a little longer. Morris’ hands, slightly less shaky. Desiree’s smile, considerably more varied. Their pantomime lingering at her counter turned to welcomed languishing.

Late one Friday evening, just about closing time, Vladislav Dascalu looked Morris Cantavero in the eyes and regarded him with such a look of kindness that Morris let all his carefully erected social guards down. Morris felt a real connection with this person, the likes of which he had never before experienced. He felt calm, confident and worthy. He felt he deserved those relationships in life that he so much desired. He felt he would be able to do anything necessary to obtain them. Thoughts of Desiree dominated his desires; to care for her, love her, share the joys and trails of raising children with her; grow old with her.

Vladislav Dascalu embraced the totality of Morris. Understood his pure motives, aligned his own thoughts with those; and made them known to Morris in a reciprocated embrace of sharing on the deepest level that Morris had ever experienced. Morris trusted this haven of certainty; gave into it and let it take him over.

Late that same Friday evening, just about closing time, Stephan Nectaria looked Desiree D’Amour in the eyes. She had never before experienced such an adoring look in her life. She was rapt with it. She knew her heart was filled with good intentions; she knew she deserved this type of unconditional love of a child; knew she deserved other types of love as well. From Morris; or children of her own, shared with a loving husband and father; like Morris could be. How she wished he would make it clear to her that he could take on this kind of long term commitment to sharing life and love.

“Young” Stephan Nectaria embraced the totality of Desiree D’Amour. Understood her longing for certainty regarding Morris’ intentions, her own willingness to give herself to that man in an equal, loving union. Her fantastic capacity for love and her secret decision to provide it to Morris, provide it also for their children and those people their children came to love. Her view was long, loving and determined.

She could feel the presence of Stephan Nectaria in her heart; she could feel his concurrence with her deservedness; feel his childlike, unstoppable intent to have what was wanted, despite barriers of any kind. A feeling she had had herself as a child, but had let it be compromised by social conditioning. She felt her right to the kind of life she wanted, bolstered by this joining of forces with this young child. She felt a solidarity that made them one, so strong, so certain; she’d willingly put her life in the hands of this boy; so aligned were their minds. She could hardly believe what she was experiencing; but there was no doubt in her mind, she was in the midst of something transcendent; an embracing of another kind altogether.

Before they knew it, Morris and Desiree were walking in the direction of the large array of indoor plants in the center of the foyer, without having fully instigated the motion of their bodies themselves. But it felt so completely right to be doing this, they offered no resistance and, entranced, gently assisted. They met in the center, safe from prying eyes, save their own. Comforting in their private moment.

As Desiree and Morris stepped towards each other, the ancient spectres of Vladislav Dascalu and Stephan Nectaria embraced each other in a way they had many times over their untold years of existence. Providing a temporary link to each other, as well as for the souls of Desiree and Morris.

Vladislav and Stephan could feel the shackles of limitations disintegrate from the couple’s hearts; as Desiree and Morris felt glimpse of each others’ souls in this intangible realm. Could feel the offshoots of a thousand happy futures spring in unison; as they witnessed themselves within themselves. Could feel the need to promise, welling like a tsunami and crashing with absolute dedication to their joint intentions as they kissed.

Vladislav and Stephan, still in spectre-embrace, looking dazed, and uncharacteristically pink of complexion (were anyone to notice), proceeded into the night outside the mall. Generations of love would be created from their handiwork. A new bloodline to traverse the ages, based on the tandem forces of pounding, opened hearts.

They did not return the following summer.

Chapter 20 – Eternity

I’d like to talk a little more in the vein of vampires, to extend my pet analogy. As Bram Stoker must have thought, and maybe Lord Byron before him; if you think about some of the tough decisions you may have had to make over your lifetime, I doubt the decision to live forever, or not, has required any serious consideration. But, imagine, as you may have seen or read in vampire fiction, that you are offered the opportunity to live forever; just one bite and a sip of vampire blood, sired in embrace of your mentor in a becoming. How would you really take that in, mull it over and think for a moment you could actually resolve such an issue, in full awareness of its implications?

Now, Grandpa was not contemplating becoming a vampire (Though not ruling it out.); but he had to consider these circumstances very seriously. In the universe of vampires there were still rules; and we needed to know the rules related to living “eternally”, but, in this case, without a body to call your own.

What would he actually experience when his body died? Would a permanent “snap back” occur that he would not be able to recover from or break? What if he grew bored of existence, a millennium or two down the road? What if he became a grumpy old soul without friends or relatives, however impossibly remote? What if he reached a pinnacle that he considered warranted “spiritually” moving on? How could he actually bring about a spiritual “death” if he no longer had a body? Were there any caveats that would require him to feed off his fellows for spiritual sustenance or subjugate his awareness to some, as yet, unknown Primus? Though, as highly unlikely as many of these may sound, they were, yet, bearing questions.

In the year 2070, as we are writing this, many of these questions have been answered, though not all. But in 2023, following “Sunday Meeting”, they were all up for grabs. The security of knowing that I had a tether to him and that he could join with me were marginal consolations compared to his wider goals and longer term unknowns. But, it was because of that new certainty that these questions were brought to bear with stark importance to him. He did not want to lay the responsibility of his spiritual future on my head (literally?).

Even then, as an 8 year old, I was aware of some of these concerns. Mom had very graciously included me in Grandpa’s plans and had explained the concept of his eventual death, only in a very cursory way. And, I expect, she predicted that, one day, I would be considering similar options.

It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that Grandpa fully discussed these issues with me, and included me in addressing them; at which point he and I really rolled up our joint sleeves and tackled this battery of unknowns. During the four years that had intervened between 8 and 12, Grandpa honed his remote-perception skills; increased his bandwidth for multi-tasking; developed his android “management” representative with, and for, Legacy Corp; and had a fantastic amount of fun with me in my own process of development.

Not long after turning 12, I discovered that Grandpa’s sudden shift of inclusion came from his having gotten my Mom’s approval on my birthday. She was holding out in concern that I would be deeply saddened by the subject of dealing with Grandpa‘s “death“ in a focused way; and I was. But not so much that I was in any way debilitated, in fact, quite the opposite. The thought of losing Grandpa was truly an unbearable concept for me; but the thought of helping him in any way to overcome it and stay with us was a much more powerful motivating influence. At any rate, she had finally agreed to allow Grandpa to elicit my engagement in the matters pertaining to the death of his body; I believe mainly because she was fostering her own concern for Grandpa’s mortality and would never forgive herself if she, inadvertently, censored him from developing “whatever that first item really meant”.

Grandpa already described the circumstance of resolving the important point that “snapping back” must be done with a living, loving, and loved, life form and not an inanimate object. It would be 6 years from that time before we would actually “experiment” with it; since Grandpa always snapped back to himself until he no longer had a body of his own; and Josie had died before he did. Though we were considerably anxious, the first time he was pulled out of his android “body” after the death of his own, he, thankfully, showed up in mine. For all our worry, everything pointed to my hypothesis; you will snap back to the one for which you have the most love, period.

But we didn’t know that when I was 12 nor when I was 18 when he finally let his body go. As we neared the certainty of his “losing” his body, we resolved that wherever he may find himself; he would simply use his tethers to find me. And, as a backup plan; he could try our painstakingly honed skills of geographic location to find me or his half-android.

As opposed to would-be vampires, entertaining the concept of eternal life might not have a big effect on most people, simply because the possibility of that happening is too remote to generate serious emotional involvement or convictional focus. However, when the possibility is very real and extremely likely; talking about such things in the framework of eternity tends to desensitize you to a large array of social mechanics. Many things lose their importance when looking from such a longer scale of reference. The only things that are not affected are the emotions you have about the possibility of losing loved ones.

At the age of 18 I had already considered the subject of immortality with considerable depth over the previous 6 years. To a lesser degree, but more than average, Mom, Dad, Hunter and a few close friends had confronted this possibility for Grandpa as well. None of us were desensitized to the possibility of losing him; least of all, me.

One day after Grandpa had been hospitalized, he informed us that he would be letting go, on that particular day. Positive thoughts, intellectual certainty and emotional desensitization did nothing to slow the tears. When he reminded us of our promise to respect his DNR order, we all broke down with uncontrollable wailing; literally, irrepressibly convulsing in tears.

How he knew it would be that day is still somewhat of a mystery to me, but he’ll describe that for himself.

Chapter 21 – Farewell to Josie

The will to live is generally considered in relationship to both the life force of your body and the life force of your identity, as a unit. Indeed, our current scientific education into matters of life an death make no distinction between the two. I was in the position of believing that these two facets of the situation were quite separate, founded on our new metaphysical observations. Though, in the final moments of the life of my body, faith in my metaphysical discoveries and deductions did play a sacred role. Yet, indeed, some of my early life indoctrinations into religious beliefs surfaced, providing minor comforting possibilities of potential unknown outcomes.

My body was dying of old age. I had enjoyed it for over a century; the last many years of which I had not been as physically active as I could have been. I’d mainly employed Free-Motion for mobility and ambulation; and had spent untold hours sitting in my chair at home while I operated my half-android, managing Legacy Corp. These circumstances possibly contributed to the decrease of my muscle mass, the degradation of my blood circulation and the weakening of my heart muscles; but these represented the natural progression of my aging body nonetheless, and not the cause.

I was aware of other symptoms as they gradually developed. Lack of appetite, physical lethargy, shallow breathing, aching joints, bed-sores, loosening teeth, extremity numbness, greyness under the fingernails and similar skin discolouration. My morning hygiene routine grew more and more complicated, detailed and demanding. My eating habits, more and more concentrated on sustenance requirements than enjoying the broad fare offered by the kingdoms of our bountiful world of life.

I had the Techs at Legacy Corp help me develop a massaging chair to promote circulation in my body, which was remaining stationary for longer and longer periods of time. It was like falling into a massive pillow that engulfed my entire form; cradling me in the comfort of a gentle physical vibration, a slowly varying sway and integrated TENS functionality. I engaged the services of a professional nutritionist to guide my necessary intake; which gradually became dominated by liquid supplements with dissolved proteins and fibre. It soon became obvious that I was fighting a losing battle.

During these later years, Josie’s physical conditions underwent similar degradations and in late in 2032, took a turn for the worse. At 21 years of age, she had lived a very long life in her relative cat years. Though I could sense her pain, it didn’t have the same effect as my own increasing array. It was somewhat more like being told of it and empathizing as opposed to feeling it first hand.

I woke up one Saturday morning and unlocked her carrier, as usual. After I had finished my laborious morning regime she still hadn’t come out. I could tell her body temperature was noticeably low when I put my hand in and petted her. When I joined with her, the sensory information flows were markedly reduced in quantity and “loudness“. I attempted to get her to jump out of the carrier but encountered almost instant lockout to my motor control requests; it was clear that the motions I had instigated were painful, as more ’audible” shrieks of sensory information flared up whenever I tried. I dared not remote-control her any further for fear of aggravating her discomfort.

I carried her to her litter tray, having detected the, now familiar, bodily signals, faint as they were. Then to the kitchen where I fed her a portion of my liquid breakfast in a saucer, calming the quiet, but insistent, hunger I felt from her tummy. Her Veterinarian had attempted to prepare me for this eventuality some months ago; this morning I was certain their prognosis was sound. From the point of this severe decline to the point of her death took less than 24 hours.

I spent most of that time closely connected with her; sharing my attentions between her body and my own. Whenever possible, I kept her in my arms, wrapped in the towel from her carrier. I alerted Turner about her condition; he and Val showed up in the early afternoon. I was a blubbering mess; cocooned in my custom chair with her on my lap; soaked in tears from fitful bouts throughout the morning.

It was so difficult to confront the thoughts of not having her around. And so many unanswered questions about her level of aches and ails. With no emotional content available from her, I had no idea what she was “thinking” or “feeling“. I have often wondered if she had any control over this final stretch of her life. She had obviously been able to attenuate her sensory information, so I suspected and deeply hoped, that she was not in continuous pain. I truly believe that to be the case.

On arrival, Val went straight to the kitchen and put some food in the refrigerator. Turner asked if he could take Josie, meaning both physically off my lap and metaphysically from my connection. I relinquished both to him; he sat on my old chair with her on his lap; still wrapped in her towel. Val came back and held out her arms to me; I got up, embraced her and bawled into her shoulder for half an hour. She hummed her melody to me as I had done for her so many times when she was a child. She listened quietly to my complaints and disagreements with the stark facts of reality. When my laments quieted down she whispered, “Come on, Dad, let’s have some tea.”, she walked me into the kitchen and sat me down on my chair.

Approaching the certainty of Josie’s demise was like climbing a mountain. Counter-intuitively striving against increasingly hazardous elements to arrive at a most inhospitable goal. Every advancement towards the final destination becomes progressively more difficult. Allegorically, the air gets thinner, the temperature gets lower, blood flow slows and every muscle is increasingly more difficult to command. The respite of a meal break depreciates under the sub-zero conditions where layers of protective-wear must be grudgingly peeled off to gain access to gear. Soft foods are now hard, crumbling and tasteless; even the quickly boiling water prods you not to dally and drudge on.

I knew, once I reached the summit of my reconciliation, I would be happy for Josie’s long life and the 13 years she had shared with me. But I was only in the cold reaches of that ascent. My aching emotions pained me wherever I might light my attention on the life of my trusty lab partner. Uncontrollably, I was envisioning days and weeks of listless wandering, searching and picking for a route to continue; lonely, angry and sad. While shaking my head in attempts to dislodge these dark thoughts from their incipient grasp on my future, Val laid a cup of hot tea in front of me.

“Now, drink that and tell me something I don’t know about Josie.”, she said, sitting down across from me with her own cup of tea. Regaling Josie’s adventures was the perfect therapy for a mind, caught in the throws of approaching loss. Only a moment ago, I was thinking that recalling memories of Josie’s life would bring sadness and anger; now I was laughing about the fun injection of life that Josie had introduced into mine. We ate the soft sandwiches she had brought and drank copious amounts of strong tea. “Let’s all watch some of her videos.”, Val suggested. “All of us!”, she added, meaning Turner and Josie too.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening celebrating Josie’s life in video and story telling. By the time they left, I was in a much better state of mind to send Josie off, whenever that time might arrive. I laid her on my bed with her towel and prepared myself to retire. When I returned, I laid down beside her to sleep.

As I have said, many times, I had never experienced anything that could equate to emotional content from Josie, while joined with her. But her desire to be in her carrier was so prevalent that it came as close do being, fundamentally, a feeling. I received pictures of the interior, smells of her pheromones, a sense of warm temperatures and dare I anthropomorphize, safety. Though I wanted her close to me, I did not second guess the mixture of information that I was getting; “volumes” louder than anything I had received in days.

I put her in her home space and lay down to sleep as close to her as I could. Though I did not sleep; I continued my own reverie of celebration and thankfulness for Josie’s presence in my life. And though I have no idea if she ever received them, I impressed those joyous images towards her with all my heart.

At some point, early in the a.m. Josie disappeared from my awareness. There was no build up of sensory information and not a single physical motion from her. She simply ceased to be; in an instant. I have read that hair and nails remain “alive” long after a body is dead. And it may be so, but I could no longer detect any presence of life from Josie, whatsoever, from one second with her alive and “there” to the next, dead and “gone”.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my own body’s death would present a similar phenomenon. Indeed, I was caring for my body in much the same fashion as one might for a favourite pet. My family had helped me prepare for this moment with Josie; I hoped, as I lay there with my lifeless friend in the carrier next to me, that they would also be able to help me prepare for letting go of my next most beloved pet.

Chapter 22 – Dry Run

A few months after Josie died, in early 2033, I had a heart attack, in my home. I was vacuuming and had bent over to move the sofa so I could clean behind it. When I stood up, my chest seared in pain, my knees went weak and I couldn’t stop myself from falling on the floor, nor could I get up after doing so. I contacted Turner who assessed the situation quickly and called an ambulance. He drove over and arrived before them. When the EMT team came in the door, he stepped aside so they could minister to me. During their examination I had another, but this time, my heart failed to resume on its own.

I was ”out” of my body since the first one, indeed, that was how I contacted Turner. But I hadn’t experienced my heart actually stopping until the second one. The oldest form of verification of mortality has long lost its definitive accuracy in the knowledge of exactly what the heart delivers to the body that keeps it alive. Oxygen and nutrients to the cells; the most immediate necessity is, of course, oxygen. Without which life will not last long in a body. But a stopped heart does not make one dead, just that if the situation is not remedied within some minutes, death will most certainly follow.

Though I had no, direct, sensory information to tell me if my heart was or was not beating; I heard an EMT exclaim that it had stopped as they reached for one of the bags they had brought in with them. But I could sense something was very wrong! I was being quickly pulled back into my body and losing sensitivity of sensory data at an alarming rate. Once fully back, I could barely hear a thing and my muscles were responding to my commands with only infinitesimal twitches; if I could even be sure of that. My eyes would not open, my mouth would not close and my diaphragm would not contract.

I wanted to move, but my body was not responding and it had the very same character as having been “locked out” by my late Josie. It wasn’t that I was dead, it was that the life force of my body was in charge and had commandeered all motor pathways. I had never seen this demarcation of life forces ever before; but I was witnessing my body as a self-contained entity, exerting its “free-will” to the exclusion of mine.

I was very much concerned but not as fear stricken as I had imagined I might have been, being this close to death. And, honestly, surprised myself by my own fascination with the observation of being locked out. I did a cursory inventory of major actions that I could attempt and their resulting twitch or tick or lack of either. Limb motions, facial expression changes, neck twisting, etc.; none produced the expected results.

Then, the first real sensory perception, of any volume since I had been pulled back into my body, suddenly dominated my awareness. It felt like my body was being ripped in two. My internal field of vision lit up with a blinding white light as electricity coursed through my nervous system. Then the loud whip crack of sound from the defibrillator discharge; followed by silence. I could feel my body convulse in response to the charge but was still unsure about commanding any motion of my own. I could clearly feel my body again and sensory information had returned to an almost normal level. I could tell that they had put some soft rubber thing into my mouth and I could feel a chill on my bare chest. But it tapered off again, very rapidly, and I interpreted this as being indicative that my heart had not resumed beating on its own.

Then my body was ripped in two again, confirming my deduction. Thankfully, this time, when my senses returned, they stayed. Throughout the ordeal, I realized in that moment, I had been pulling on my diaphragm in an effort to get a breath. My heart had resumed its natural rhythm and I yanked in the deepest inhale of air that I have ever breathed. Fresh oxygen was being delivered to my precious cells. I opened my eyes and they responded to my request. Turner and two EMT personnel were looking down at me with worried faces.

They loaded me onto a stretcher, then out to the ambulance and drove me to the hospital. I stayed there overnight for observation. Val had come and sent Turner home; she stayed the night and drove me home that following morning. I was discharged with a prescription for heart medicine. On the drive home, Val was talking about legal changes to my driver’s licence, suggesting that I refrain from driving for a while and impressing the importance of following the instructions on my new medicine.

I wasn’t ignoring her, but all I could think about was the observation of the fact that my own body had “locked me out” of its motor controls. I had never experienced a time in my life where my body had not responded to a command. And this seemed to clearly indicate to me that there was a larger similarity between my body and a beloved pet for it to be merely an analogy. And, though not definitive nor even particularly founded, my hopes leaped in certainty for the predicted likelihood of surviving the death of my body.

Chapter 23 – Will to Live

Later on in that year I had a stroke. Quite different from a heart attack but similarly sudden and debilitating. It was a Hemorrhagic type as a result of a compromised artery in my brain. It was brought on by the circumstances of some minor coagulation that grew into a clot over intervening months after my heart attacks but was freed before any brain-cell damage occurred. One might think I would have had an Ischemic stroke with those conditions but the clot had worked its way loose in time and without any immediate complications. Unfortunately, the loosening of the clot must have taken a small amount of the arterial wall with it; leaving it damaged and weak. It eventually burst.

I had detected no ill symptoms while the clot was present, nor when it was released. But when the wall of the artery burst, well, that was recognizable as something very, very, wrong. Unlike popping out of my body during my first heart attack, the stroke quickly and fully pulled me back in.

My head all but physically exploded for the excruciating perception that it had done so. After this sharp “detonation”, I felt a heavily throbbing cranial pressure on the right side of my head; I was sure it was going to burst open and take my ear with it; and it continued to grow in intensity. Then I noticed that my ability to move anything on my left side was suffering impairment, followed shortly after with complete unresponsiveness.

This was very different from being locked out. The right side of my body was responding perfectly at first. Just the left side was not receiving my commands. As far as my body was concerned, we were in this together. With my thumping headache getting ready to break open the side of my skull, I called Emergency Medical Services and mumbled with half my mouth that I had had a stroke and required an ambulance. Within the hour I was in a hospital and within another I was though tests and in a bed, on an IV. Within these two short hours, even my right side was waning in perception and accessibility to my commands. Very soon Val, Terrance, Hunter and Turner arrived in my room and lined up along the right side of my bed, in that order.

Is it human nature to feel both embarrassed and culpable when injured? This complex emotion felt like I had broken an expensive birthday present during my excitement in removing it from its wrapping. And all the loving family who had chipped in to buy it for me were looking at me with a mix of sympathy, disagreement and suppressed anger. An uncomfortable moment, to say the least; and completely nonsensical.

I was thanking them for coming. But the looks on their faces were unbearable as shock was added in response to my grunted mumbling. I looked to Turner, pleading with the half of my face that was only barely responding; he put up a “one minute” index finger to the family and joined with me.

He realized, quickly, that I was socked in to my body and that my motor functions were unresponsive on my left side and severely compromised on my right. He could also tell that my mix of embarrassment and culpability were tempered, now, with my resolve that this was, indeed, the end for my body.

He didn’t express agreement or disagreement to this revelation; simply care and interest. I received his clear inquiry as to my certainty about the idea. But I could not provide him with such an answer. Instead, I laid bare some of my ruminations on the will to live and to what degree I might have the power to influence such, as relates my body. I impressed on him, more deliberately, that my DNR order be respected; I felt his reluctant concession.

Turner left the joining and was now talking to the family but all I could discern were murmurs. Val took my right hand in hers and squeezed it. I returned the motion, but with great effort and little effect. Turner moved around the foot of my bed to my left side and sat in the chair. I shut my eyes to receive him again; though I could only be sure that one of them closed.

I had outlived a great number of my contemporary friends and associates over the previous decade or so. And in some cases was able to detect a point where I could recognize that their will to live had either gone from them or had been relinquished by them. I couldn’t say if it was a look on their faces or a feeling in the air; or a combination of the two. But within short seconds of becoming aware of this change in them, they were gone.

I was sure that I was very near this point myself; and as I thought it, Turner was aware of it also and then, he was gone again. I really had no idea if my body would take me with it or not. Still, I felt I had the option to fight for my body’s life and on the other hand, felt I should free it from it’s broken state out of sympathy. I asked Turner to stay with me, though I knew he was not there; he had returned around the bed to be close with his family. I could feel my senses slipping away as they had when my heart had stopped; though in this case it was more gradual.

I tried to turn my head to the right but very little motion occurred. Turner must have seen my strain and assisted with Free-Motion as he was as much locked out from me as I was from my motor controls. My sight was blurry; I could recognize Val from her shape and height, but Terrance and Hunter were now almost twins in length, breadth and outline; I couldn’t tell them apart save my memory of the order they had arrived. Turner’s lean form was unmistakable. I tried to get out of my body so I could view them clearly but the grappling connection would not allow it. My body was hanging on to me as if it knew, itself, that these were its last moments. Needing my presence as I had asked for Turner’s.

I stayed with it, now fully willingly. I would keep it company as it ushered out of animation; as I had kept vigil with Josie. I would be there for it, providing whatever friendship, encouragement and love I could offer. If I descended into non-existence with my body, so be it. This living companion had unquestioningly served my will for over a century; I owed it a debt of gratitude far beyond comforting company in its moment of death.

As I had done with Josie, I expressed my deepest thanks and love. My sadness at letting it go was impossible to ignore but I successfully set it aside for my old friend. And like Josie, I felt no concrete emotional impressions from my body in response to my own vacillating fervour.

The separateness between my body and I came into clear view under a very new metaphysical light. The Autonomic Nervous System was a support system for its own life; all for the purpose of maintaining the healthy offering of all other control in service to me. Such a dedication that no pet had ever had towards their “charge“. Not dissimilar to the trees in Hunter’s poem, the trees of Turner’s awakening; not an emotional dedication, nor one eliciting thankfulness (though that abounded in me). It was simply its nature, embedded in its recognition of its participation in the larger scope of coordinated life. I was truly honoured by its gifts, unquestioningly tendered to me over so many years.

I could still sense Turner’s presence in the room, but out of reach, at a spectator distance. He offered no response when I tried to touch him in inclusion of these realizations I was having; that connection had been severed. Quiet, attentive, caring and very much there; but frustratingly removed from these intimate understandings I was experiencing with my body.

I lay there, saying goodbye in a hundred ways as each sensory pathway faded access. The overall effect was like witnessing the after-party of a theatre production‘s final performance. Each actor and crew bowed out on notes of thanks for their integral contributions. Each warranted glowing summaries of deep appreciation counter-pointed with the sadness of departure. Incongruous mixtures of glory, respect, loneliness and finality washed in champagne and bitters.

Then my heart stopped, I could tell from the increased rate of decline the awareness of my body was undergoing; reminiscent of my heart attack earlier that year. I knew the end was likely seconds off. I fought the urge to pull away, even though I knew it was useless to try. I wish I could say it was courage, but it was a sense of debt that steadied my stand.

The thought that this was a similar debt that I extended to Josie re-visited my attentions. Was I having hallucinations, death-throw delusions, phantom muscle-memories or spiritually bridged perceptions, I don’t know. But I could swear I felt her claw-retracted kneading and her calming purring vibration on my chest for a fleeting moment.

The last notice of information from my body came from a final, crystal-clear, and piercing, perception of hot tears, searing through my ducts. Almost painful, they were; but attendant with powerful a feeling of contentment, resignation and happiness over all possible outcomes. I had embraced the coming event regardless of result. Again, though I could not detect any solid emotional content from my body itself, this was decidedly Peace.

Everything else disappeared, I was yet aware that my body’s life force had not fully ceased. This was likely the moment I had recognized in my close friends just before they died. I remained, truly willing to be snuffed out in the same instantaneous vanishing I had witnessed with Josie. Turner would continue my legacy, I had written everything I knew and he would find others. Nothing would stop in my absence. Life, love and evolution would continue.

Chapter 24 – Big Bang

Then all life in my body was gone and I was instantly joined with Turner. His eyes burst with tears as he shared his ducts with me; “our” face cracked a smile that tightened our scalp to ripping tension. We embraced our family. Every action I wanted in that moment coincided with Turner’s. We were in lock-step like nothing we had ever experienced. He knew. They knew. Their faces were a mess with tears and stretched in laughter and celebration.

We grabbed the hand of my lifeless body and squeezed farewell into it. I was thanking it for allowing me to continue without it; though I have no idea if such thanks were warranted. I pledged a never ending gratefulness to it in all the hopes (as I had for Josie) that it’s life force continued on in some incarnation of identity; still able to hear my messages of gratitude through the ether of unknown realms of life.

The true bounty of what I had been graced to have received fully hit me. I relinquished my joining with Turner and regarded my loving family from across the bed; here in the present. All in embrace, smiling, happy, joyous!

My thankfulness was un-containable. My field of vision exploded with light; only to be matched with four other points of light directly across from me. The gaseous nebula of Val’s love; the blinding zenith of Turner’s present; yellow, lapping Sun rays with Terrance’s signature all over them; and the brightest violet blanket-waves of Hunters permeating observational presence; all mixed together in a ethereal, palpable cloud of love, admiration and timelessness.

We bathed in each other’s essences, in a state where time, space and form reduce to allegory. We consumed each other’s souls as both hungry animals and stately aristocrats. Waste and conservation met in un-exploitable abundance; give and take in ownership; here and there in unity; sense and feeling in knowing. Screams of vibrations produced lullabies of co-mingling and re-mixed to the very first sound of creation itself. Thus reduced our commonality to the potential of a new Big-Bang; opening choice of total destruction and unlimited creation. Spired from this precipice of decision was a stasis of bond like no other any of us had witnessed before.

And there we were.

Decision, promise, dedication, devotion, allegiance… the melding of togetherness can only be described as pure love, empowered with pure potential.

And there we were.

It could have been seconds, minutes or hours. Val’s wraith-like swirls slowly condensed back to her physical form. Turner appeared to repel in free-fall down from his zenith. Terrance’s Sun was eclipsed by his massive frame. Hunter’s permeating gaze took shape in his father’s image.

And there they were.

All looking at me across the bed with my dear departed body between us. Mouths gaped open, looking directly at the place from which I was seeing them!

Then, except for Turner, their eyes started darting around, searching, looking for something that had disappeared before their very eyes… The eternal moment had passed; they had seen me, shared with me, experienced me, and each other. Though the moment had passed from the present, it survives in our lives forever. Eternally encoded into the mycelia of the totality of existence.


Grandpa’s letting go of his body was a brutally emotional time for all of our family. I say “brutally” in that we were all completely spent and exhausted when all was said and done. And yet, the finality of it was a transcendent experience for the five of us present. We have a family shorthand for referring to this event, borrowed from the ASL sign for “Happy”. But for us, it really means “More joy than one can possibly stand in a moment!”

Some weeks after, while joining with him, Grandpa tried to relay the understandings he had at his time of death. Namely, those he had wanted to share with me at that time but was unable to do so. Since, as he neared body-death, I was locked out of connecting with him.

Particularly, he had had insights and ruminations about what might happen to the life force animating his body (and Josie’s for that matter). Recognizing that his own identity-life-force survived, he had the idea that of the body also carried on in some way. Though we have no metaphysically scientific proof of this; we must open the door to quantum metaphysics and deal with the issue hypothetically as it relates to our interaction with it. In other words, where the observer influences the reality.

Our attempts at “documentation” on this subject produced nothing but vague conjecture; yet in our hearts, we had certainties. Neither of us could put down on paper a concise explanation of the hypothesis without violating basic language constructs of person, tense, number, etc. With his agreement I decided to write a poem about it. This medium lends more to “out-there” concepts and obviates structure for literary license.

If anything, this is a tribute to Josie and to Grandpa’s body. As well as any life form with which one has established a relationship. And with that, I leave you a poem entitled:


I see you now, I see you then,
I see you yet to come.
You never end, you always are,
you never have begun.

Where you begin and I leave off
is spirit’s playful trick.
For you and I, the finest line
is shortened to the quick.

I sense when you are near to me
and so when you’re away.
Though justly few believe in such,
beholders have their say.

Aromas, faint; or tingling hair;
or flickers in the eye.
It’s only I can validate
from where they come and why.

In colours claim, I’m in your space,
where no eyes may exist.
Sight always ends, and bodies too;
yet, still, you do persist.

One might think that I would miss you,
your being gone and all;
and sometimes, yes, that might be true,
but hints of you still fall.

Yes, hints of you still fall to me
and light like butterflies,
and drink the nectar of my soul
from water in my eyes.

Yes, drink the nectar of my soul,
and brush my spores of love;
and carry them to trees of life
that only grow above.

That only grow above, you see,
but root in all below.
You keep in touch, mycelial;
with mine the choice to know.

Yes, mine the choice to know, it’s true,
and true to me are you.
Yes, true to me are you, I choose,
and choose for me, it’s you.

The End

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