Beloved Nephew

Today, I am going to attempt to define the indefinable – the relationship between myself and my Beloved Nephew.

I’ve had many people question me, as has he, on the type of relationship it is, because we don’t actually share familial genetic ties. And there are some things I’d like to set straight.

 First off, there is not now, there has never been, nor will there ever be, any type of romantic relationship between my nephew and me. This is not something that is even remotely possible, as we are family, even if we are not bound by blood. I am The Aunt, and he is The Nephew. Period. So anyone thinking anything of the sort, needs to immediately stop.

The Nephew and I originally met through his mom, Midnite, who became my heart’s sister. We met through a group that we both used to study in, & ended up best friends for many years, until she passed away from cancer in 2009. It was during our friendship that BN started calling me The Aunt. 

Since neither of them had any blood relatives in North Dakota, I adopted them into my family. They were truly the first of my Chosen Family, & came along with me & mine for holidays, whether to my house, or to my parents, it didn’t matter, as my parents always have said “With Love, there’s always room for more”.

When Midnite passed, BN and I held each other together. If not for each other, I’m not really sure either one of us would have made it through the grieving process sane. It was pretty rock bottom for both of us.

We spent a lot of time hanging out, listening to music, talking, crying & laughing. My kids starting referring to him as their brother. My ex-husband (who I was still married to at the time), didn’t even mind that he came over & hung out at the house all the time, & he hated pretty much everyone.

When I went through my divorce in 2011, BN was my rock, listening for hours on end while I cried about feeling like a failure, tortured myself about wondering whether I’d ever find love again, and bitched about all the reasons I knew the divorce was the right thing. He backed me up every step of the way, told me I was stupid for putting myself down, & comforted me with ice cream when necessary.

Beloved Nephew is my soul mate, in most senses of that word. 

He understands me in ways that most do not. I can talk to him about anything, and everything. And he can do the same with me. There is never any judgment on either side, only unconditional love.

There are nights when we sit on the phone and “game” – meaning, he plays his game, I play mine, & we talk over the phone. We’re not online, just on the phone, talking about whatever. Sometimes we’re playing the same game, sometimes not, but it doesn’t matter.

Other nights, we can be talking on the phone & doing completely mundane, household things. One night I was washing dishes & he was making himself supper – at 11:30 at night, because we always talk late at night after he gets off his shift at the nursing home where he works. There were moments of complete, comfortable silence, while we each went about our tasks. Silence that I broke to tell him that “You know, if I was doing this on the phone with anyone else, they’d hang up on me, thinking I was ignoring them”.

But it’s true, just knowing that he’s on the other end of the phone, even if we don’t speak, some nights – that’s enough. Strange, but true.

We discussed this on the phone last night (before I fell asleep on him, sorry ’bout that, Nephew!), and neither of us can ever remember a time that we’ve been angry at each other. 

Not ever in all the years we’ve known each other.

That’s just weird, even for me.

If Beloved Nephew were to fall in love tomorrow, I’d stand at his side & be his “Best Wo-Man” at the wedding, after, of course, making sure that the Significant Other was worthy of his magnificence.

If I were to fall in love tomorrow, I’d want him to be my Best Man. 

BN knows things about me that no one else does, simply because he’s been there, through hell and back, with me. Through some of the worst shit I’ve endured in my life, he was always there. 

He’s also helped me celebrate some of the best things to ever happen to me in my life, like being published – not once, not even twice, but three damn times. Once for poetry, once for a photograph, & once a whole blog post.

The same as I’ve done for him.

I’ve watched him grow since his mother’s passing, into a strong, confident, capable, compassionate & brilliant young man.

And even though he now lives across the country, we still talk at least 3 times a week, and sometimes more. He is my best friend, and an irreplaceable piece of my heart.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to put the totality of our relationship into words. People just don’t get it. 

BN is family.

He is Best Friend.

He is Soul Mate, without the romance.

He gets it.

So, in the end, I guess that’s what really matters. He gets it – just as he understands me, I understand him. 

And the rest…doesn’t really matter, does it?

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Chosen #flash fiction

I’ve been here before… but when?

Lucien shook his head, trying to clear it, the slight headache at the back of his skull protesting at the maneuver.

“Don’t bother trying to figure it out, Luc, it’ll all be clear shortly,” Petra stepped up next to him, sliding her hands to his shoulders to massage the tight muscles bunched and knotted there. She always knew just what to say, somehow, even though they’d only known each other for a semester. Another thing Lucien had yet to figure out. This weird, almost… instantaneous connection he’d had with Petra, from the moment he’d met her in Ancient Mythology Studies class.

“Let’s go sit while we wait for the others, shall we?” Petra nudged him from behind, guiding him across the – well, the only thing Lucien could call it was – salon, because they were in an extremely old, Renaissance-era home, and this would have been a meeting room, where guests would have been entertained. Luckily, it was now Petra’s home, and she had more modern sensibilities, so the dainty furniture of a bygone era was replaced with deep leather couches, extremely plush chairs, and all manner of side tables, comfortable lighting for reading, and lots of lush, green plants. It was a room for sinking in and getting comfortable, or for lounging around of an evening with family and friends.

Lucien dropped onto one of the deep couches, patting the spot next to him, and Petra immediately followed, curling her legs up behind her and leaning into his shoulder.

“What’s this all about, Pet? I’ve been feeling weird all week, and this stuff tonight has got me wound up tighter than an 8 day clock.” Lucien grimaced, but snugged his arm around her back, pulling her in closer. It wasn’t really a romantic gesture, it was…just comfortable, in an odd way.

And that was the thing Lucien really found weird.

Lucien loved women. He loved the way they spoke, the way they thought, the way they made him feel. He loved everything about them, and had dated many, always trying to be a gentleman, even when it didn’t work out.

Petra was lovely, gorgeous, in fact.

And he hadn’t hit on her once in the whole time he’d known her.

And since they’d met, he hadn’t felt like dating anyone at all.

What the hell was wrong with him?!?

“It’s OK, Luc. Byrin will explain everything when we’re all here. Just, please, be patient.” Petra smoothed out a wrinkle in his shirt with her hand and laid her head on his shoulder, smiling as he let out a huff.

“Fine. I’ll hear him out.”

20 minutes later, Luc was pretty sure he’d fallen down a rabbit hole with Alice, and hit his head on a rock in Wonderland.

He knew everyone in the room…but couldn’t tell you what their names were.

Petra had gotten up when the first people had started arriving, making sure everyone had drinks, found a seat, took their coats. But she didn’t introduce anyone, which Lucien found extremely odd. Petra was always a stickler for manners. This was way out in left field. Lucien found his brows drawing down to the center of his forehead in puzzlement, trying to figure it all out. Petra’s eyes flashed to his, sparkling with amusement.

Dammit, she’s doing this on purpose! He thought to himself. And when she winked, he flushed, knowing it was true.

At that moment, one of the guys, he looked to be about 40-ish, stepped up in front of the fireplace and placed his tumbler on the mantelpiece, turning again to face the room and its occupants.

“Everyone, I’m Byrin, and I know at least some of you are confused as to why we’re all here, so I’ll explain,” he rubbed his hands together as though trying to light a fire between his palms.

“What I’m about to tell you is probably going to sound fantastical, you might think I’ve gone round the bend, or you might have a sudden realization that you really want to be someplace, anyplace else right away. 

“But – I’m asking you to suspend judgment. I’m asking for your patience and open-mindedness, just for the length of time it takes me to finish my tale, and to possibly answer a few questions. Maybe even some of your own. After that, if you wish to leave, no one will stop you.

“You might have noticed that you recognize the other people here tonight, but don’t know why. You also might have a sense of deja vu about this house, or this neighborhood, possibly even just the city.  There is a very good reason for this.

“We are Chosen.

“Chosen what, you might ask? 

“Well… Chosen Family, in a way. Not bound by blood, but by time and by our souls.” 

At this Byrin raised one hand and nodded, as though to forego any incredulous looks.

“I know, how that sounds, but we have all been bound together, lifetime after lifetime, as a family. In one life or another we each CHOSE to join this circle of souls, and we seek one another out, every time we reincarnate.

“How else do you explain that we all instinctively know each other, connect instantly, and yet…here, in this room, right now, you can’t name each other?”

Lucien blinked absently at Petra, her, nodding back at him, and she smiled wide and walked over to Byrin and took his hand and spoke now.

“I’ve known Byrin in this life for a little over a year. I knew as soon as we bumped into one another at the market that we were connected somehow, and I’ve met a couple of you others since. It is hard to grasp, at first. But once you let the weirdness wash away, and settle into the familiarity of the Family, it’ll quickly remind you that you’re home. Please, don’t let the weird push you away. Chosen Family is so much better, plus…there are other perks…”

And Petra’s eyes sparkled again with a mischievous glint as she released Byrin’s hand.

“Once you accept the Family, and your place in it, you get to remember all your previous lives and – including some truly…magickal gifts.”

Lucien watched, stunned, as Petra snapped her fingers and disappeared, only to reappear instantaneously at the other side of the room, grinning wildly.

Byrin shook his head and chuckled, pulling the attention of the room once again with a slight cough.

“Just remember – no one is forced to do anything. All of this is a Choice. Every lifetime, you get to choose. And even if you choose not to stay, you can still reincarnate & choose to come back in the next life.”

“Because blood may last a life time, but Chosen Family is eternal.”

Light ‘Em Up

This song is dedicated to all of my friends, my chosen family that I’ve somehow been lucky enough to gain this year.  You all deserve to be heard, to be seen, to be known.  I just want you guys to know that.

Sparrow, William, Lil k, MarktheIdiot, ShuberLeah, Pia, Viv, Fox, Laura, you guys have helped me stay sane (not an easy job, I know).

You guys are amazing.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and don’t let your own monsters talk you out of it.

GO FOR IT!