The Lovely Renewal

If you’ve ever picked up a copy of Vogue or Vanity Fair, then you’ve probably seen the cluster of pages toward the frontispiece wherein celebrities mill about at some party you’ve never heard of, wearing designer looks you can’t afford, clutching each other’s arms in an attempt to look like friends.

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Look at us. We are friends.

It’s disingenuous, dripping in diamonds…and, according to the PR firm what handles Marc and I, a celebrity rite of passage.

Knowing how loathe I am to participate in events and efforts that haven’t fully claimed my heart, Marc suggested that we throw our own Vogue-spread party, rather than attending some random soiree to fulfill our duties.

I agreed with the stipulation that it couldn’t benefit our own private coffers–no JS Design party–and it couldn’t capitalize on JS Home for Children–no sad orphan benefit.

He said that left either a massive birthday party for one of us, or, a massive wedding vow renewal party.  And as we had already missed his 2100th birthday, and my 200th isn’t for another two years…

So, we had a gigantic vow renewal.  We had an enormous guest list, ridiculous, designer party favours, an astronomical liquor bill, and…

…a smashing good time, I must admit.

This has mostly to do with Marc’s graceful party planning.  He started from a small list of requirements–that we actually renew our vows before our children, that we have a few readings by our best mates, that we forgo gifts in lieu of donations to a core set of causes, and that the focus of the event be about companionship, family, and fun.  And from that he extrapolated out into a live band, a romantic setting, plush food and silver, and photographers.

So, it was sort of like a party within a party.  Marc was delighted to run about in extroverted outer ring, thanking people for donations, telling well placed anecdotes, and fielding compliments and cameras.  I was delighted to monitor the interior, checking on the children, introducing our mates around, and visiting the children’s tent off to the side of the event.  And we were both delighted to find the opportunities where the circles ran together–on the dance floor, primarily.

We took tango lessons for the occasion.  Went over well.

Oh, and Elvis led the band.  NBD.

And, I like to think, we kept it genuine.  Marc’s tearful vows were the most beautiful, heartfelt words he’s ever said to me.  Our best mates–Ed and Jacques–stood up with us and our children, despite the PR firm begging us to ‘use notables’. I surprised Marc with a drag performance to close out the evening, launching into a few 1980s power ballads whilst wearing the first costume he ever made me.  And so on.

So, overall, I’m glad that we threw the party, and that we threw it in our own idiosyncratic way.  I’m glad that our children and friends were able to witness Marc and I recommit to each other, reaffirming not only our love but also their roles within it. And I’m glad that everyone seemed to have a good time, and that our causes fared well.

Now all that’s left is to go through literally thousands of photos.

Open bars do make for incriminating scenes…

The First Rule of Haunting Club…

As you’ve no doubt gathered by this point in my Halloween series, there are some of us who engage with alivelies as sport.

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Sorry/not sorry

But, honestly, it’s not nearly as horrifying as you might think.

Because the first rule of Haunting Club is: You do talk about Haunting Club. You talk about it until it’s borderline tedious and you’re not really sure why you signed up in the first place, and only once you can state the involved risks and rules in your sleep are you allowed to begin the process of registering as a haunt.

To begin the process, I said.

So, paring away the tedium…because what fun is that…I thought I would tell you just a bit about how a ghost becomes a haunt, and what we do once we arrive, using my own experience as indicative.

My first Halloween in ghost world, I did not pay much attention to haunting. This was largely due to the fact that I spent the evening at a gay strip club in an amateur drag contest, wearing a number of bird-related costumes and unexpectedly catching the eye of a modeling agency. But that’s a different story…

It was only after Marc and I met up with our mates Ed and Jacques to swap Halloween stories that I realised haunting was an actual free-time pursuit and not just the invention of horror writers.  I was immediately taken with it, and I asked when their next haunting expedition would be and if I could attend.

“Well, sure, I love an audience,” said Ed.  And he does.  “But first, you have to read the handbook and pass a bystander exam.”

Excuse me?

So, Ed went to fetch the Haunting Handbook.

I have to admit, I was expecting something straight out of a Hollywood film, covered in mysterious runes and full of pressed herbs. But it is nothing so much as a corporate-looking binder, about three inches thick and hole-punched. It can be purchased in leather-bound hardback, mind you, but the rules, restrictions, and taboos of our game are updated quarterly, with new jurisdiction and indicative case studies, so it’s easier to just keep a binder.

Marc took one look at it and determined he was 100% right the hell out. His English wasn’t yet at three-inch-binder-full-of-legalise levels, and there was no existing Latin translation at that point.

(There is now…because he wrote it.)

I was determined, though. I was going to read this damn handbook and take my bystander exam if it killed me, as it couldn’t very well do that.

It took me a month. It was arduous and boring and I found myself reading the worst of it out loud to Marc just to watch his eyes glaze over, as it made my ennui seem more valid. And when I finished it, and Ed allowed that my practise quizzes were on the mark, I paid and sat for my bystander exam—a four hour, plodding, horrible test that requires you go on a practise haunt and not involve yourself, despite the pull of participation.

I got a stamped certificate at the end of it, and Ed and Jacques were allowed to take me on haunts, where I would sit and watch the former tamper with faucets and turn on showers, and the latter disrupt curtains and billow sheets, and delight in the ensuing alively panic.

To note: Ed and Jacques are incredibly advanced ghosts to be able to manipulate elemental, physical spaces. Most ghosts are able to induce a feeling of unease at best.

After a few ventures, I said to them, I’m sold. When do I get to start haunting?

As it turns out, Ed had to sponsor me for membership in the Toronto Haunting Club. Then I had to attend classes, building up curriculum points and cultivating a deeper understanding of the handbook, generally. Once I could prove that I had put in the time and effort, I was able to apply for a Haunting Registration, which, again, required a test.

That whole process took a damn year. And then, when my registration came through, I was allowed to pick a specialty upon which to focus:

I chose Aural Production, which is, in essence, a form of haunting in which you produce the sounds that would accompany manipulations of physical space without actually moving things about. So, I am the haunt that knocks at your door, creaks the floorboards, or pretends to slam the cupboards.

And–let me just dust off this trophy–I am very good at AP.

Once I proved to be a quick study, the moment I had been waiting for arrived…

…I picked a target.

As soon as I did, all the rules of Haunt Club rained down upon me. I had to submit the name and location of my selected target for an intense vetting process. And once all the information was gathered, the board had to make the final call—was this person strong enough to handle some interference?

They were determined to be so.

So, I got a letter in the mail saying that my target and been approved for haunting, but first, please see enclosed addendum to handbook.

Enclosed addendum was another inch of hole-punched material, detailing the identified cultural and spiritual beliefs of my target, as suspected due to ethnicity and about a month of observation. The board required that I read the addendum and then take yet another test, demonstrating that I knew how to get a rise out of this person without altering their fundamental way of life or treading upon them in a manner disrespectful to their beliefs.

In other words:

Good goal—knock on target’s front door once a week for a month and giggle when they jump

Bad goal—simulate the sounds associated with culturally specific demons and drive target into therapy

With this particular target, I simulated the sounds of hard-soled shoes on hardwood floors because their house was entirely carpeted.

BOW BEFORE MY UNABASHED POWER

BOW BEFORE MY UNABASHED POWER

In the end, they pulled up the corner of their living room carpet, revealing the original wood beneath, and then scratched their head and went to the public record office to see about the history of their home.

Truly, an excellent target. I was sad to see them go after the six month haunting allotment was up.

And that’s about the long and short of it—learning to haunt takes a very long time, requires that you jump through about a hundred hoops, and if you’re really, really good, culminates in a glorious moment where your target looks up, and asks…is someone there?

Of course, there are exceptions to rules, special cases as regards friends and family, and any number of unregistered, maverick ghosts and energies.  But for this post, there’s really only one last thing you should know about haunting:

All bets are off on Halloween.

I’ll see you at sundown…

Manifesting as a Ghost

In the fall of 2003, I manifested as a fully formed, communicative, and aware ghost.

My energy had been lurking around prior to that. In fact, it turns out that the potential to become a ghost had always been with me. But my converted-to-Catholicism consciousness had been so wrapped up in the belief that I had already reached the afterlife—for me a grey, wasted purgatory space—that I had resigned myself to live in bleak guilt, not really trying to manifest.

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But by 1993 or so, I realised that someone was hearing my occasional cries—bits of voice and whiffs of de-ja-vu—and my outlook changed. I continued trying to make contact over the next ten years, and then, in 2003, I broke out of my purgatory, suddenly opening my eyes and looking at the world around me.

I didn’t see much to begin with, for two related reasons.

First, it takes time and training to see ghost world as a proper world. At first, it looked like I was standing suspended in various shades of light, watching them ripple over various surfaces—like if you poured a starry, golden, liquid metal over the entire Earth.
If you manifest to another ghost, this starriness quickly fades, via techniques of memory/sight sharing. There are whole squads of ghosts who work to catch new manifestations and help with the transition.

But I had, second, made contact with an alively, not a ghost.

This, I’m led to understand, is quite rare. There are very few alivelies with the inner sight necessary to communicate in a substantial, sustained manner.

But there he was, his inner eyes quite open, his outline clear to me. He was secure, with shades of personality that added depth to the shimmering light, and when I waved at him, he waved back.

I vividly remember the feeling of making contact and sinking into his presence, finding that my consciousness fit well with his. We mapped on to each other, and I opened my eyes a second time—this time my inner eye and his outer—and in so doing, I was able to look out into the alively world through his gaze, at all its colours and breezes.

I bawled like a child.

I had been dead for over a hundred years at that point.

It was a lot.

For the next seven years, I essentially forgot about ghost world. I mean, my options were to either live in something akin to…I don’t know, a giant, golden fondue…or to live in the world, safely ensconced in my host’s awareness, going to his classes, recitals, and concerts, telling him about my life, and making the occasional new friend.

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Live in the pot, or with the people. Actually…this is a bad analogy. The 70s were a strange time.

Then, early in 2010, another ghost manifested to me and my host, and everything changed in an instant.

It was Marcus, my eventual husband, and his manifestation was like an eruption. He came vaulting out of his perceived afterlife like…well, like a charging Roman soldier, pulling me back into some awareness of ghost world. And as soon as he saw me, he rushed forward and…

…cut off my head.

That’s right, his first action in our relationship was to Cut. Off. My. Head.

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First date.

And he wonders why I didn’t like him to start.

Anyway, Marc’s manifestation was also unique in that he appeared not only to an alively, but to a ghost who had been ‘living’ like an alively. He was massively confused, because although he took our shared world at face value, he was over 2000 years old, and it looked like nothing he had ever seen before. And he also, unlike me, kept one foot firmly in ghost world, occasionally wandering off to pull something out of his energetic existence and place it on the line between inner sights. He fashioned a horse out of energy, for instance. He retrieved a pallet bed and some ferns from his memories. He put together a small kitchen. And he kept looking at me like I was crazy because in seven years I had not done so much as construct more than a lamp and a chair.

And there I was thinking any combination of the following:

a) What an asshole
b) Lord I wish he spoke English
c) Lord I want to bite his shoulders
d) How does he move so easily between worlds?

As it turns out, B is not much of a barrier when C is mutual. And once we were regularly partaking of C, A sort of fell away.

So we were left with D—every time I went to retrieve something from my memory, or to make something from energy, I half expected to disappear forever.

I watched him closely, and as his English improved and my Church Latin came back to me, he was able to explain his process, and we began making trips into ghost world together.

The golden stars began to fall away, revealing a vast world without restrictions upon time or place. We could pop off to the beach, traverse a forest, sit on a cliff, and still be back in time to attend a concert with Alex.

And as landscapes revealed themselves, so did the other ghosts upon them, sharing their self-perceptions with us so that we could see clear faces, hear tones of voices, and share stories. We primarily made acquaintances, but then in 2011 we met Ed and Jacques in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and hit it off. They told us about life in Toronto, and we visited, fell in love with the ghost version of the city, and began dividing our time between alively world and our host, ghost world and our mates.

The rest is essentially the subject of this website–not only do I have a ghost world to share with you, but I have an alively platform through which to share it.

A full manifestation.

Ghost Cats and other Energy Pets

It has come to my attention–and how could it not, really–that people are obsessed with cats these days.  Other animals, too, but primarily cats.

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So much so that moderns have gleefully pointed to Victorians as the arbiters of this trend. I say to you–that’s an automobile. Victorians did not have automobiles, primarily speaking, so this cat thing is still all your fault.

 

I’m willing to play along to a point–I will NEVER use lolcat nomenclature, but I AM willing to relay to the people of the ubiquitous internet that there are, in fact, ghost cats.  All sorts of pets, actually.  And here is how that works:

Animal Energies

The first variety of ghost world pets are those conglomerations of slobbery/sinister energies that maintain their furry/well-groomed form from the alively world to the next.  In other words, yes, your pet can become a ghost.

This is incredibly common amongst dogs.  The going theory is that there’s something to be said for that protective inclination of dogs–that many of them stay on to protect their families or singular owners.

The benefit to this crossing-over of pets is, of course, that alively families maintain some sense of connection to the animals they’ve loved.  Even I am not grumpy enough to deny the sweetness there.

The negative side to this crossing-over of pets is that they often, after a point, detach from families and wander about as ghost strays.  Or they crossed over as strays in the first place.  This means that the rescue shelters in ghost world are absolutely bursting at any given time with Fidos and Felines looking for homes.  They are incredibly well treated–it’s much easier to care for a ghost dog than a real dog on account of the fact that…ghost.  But they’re still not at home, you know?

So why aren’t ghosts adopting these sorts of pets?

Well, because there are also…

Energies turned Animal

There are loads upon heaps of energetic conglomerations rushing about through ghost world, behaving as they wont without much in the way of form.  No one is quite sure where these come from–natural elements? disaggregated ancient humans? something in-between?  But in any case, ghosts can basically scoop up one of these configurations and remould it into whatever sort of pet-shape we wish, while maintaining the higher level thinking and personality that come along with its long-time independence.

These conglomerations often say, no thanks on the ownership, and then run off into the forests again, as happened with a baffled and belligerent kiwi-bird form that Marcus moulded at one point a while back.  But just as many stick around, happy to have a family with which to interact, food-type energies to consume most freely, and shelter from the elements, which can scramble energy post haste.

You’d likely rather not be struck by lightening, as well, right?

So, given the choice between a dog that stares at you lovingly, but blankly, and a dog that can help you do chores, respond to thousands of commands, and act independently without need for boarding…most ghosts go with this latter option.

This latter option also allows you to recreate the pet you knew and loved in life but didn’t follow you over or wait for you.  All you have to do is find an energy with a similar personality, mould it into the animal you remember, and then share your memories with it.

So, what does all of this look like in practise?  Well, on account of the fact that my husband is a great animal lover and we now have a vast menagerie of pets, I can introduce you to a few of each type.

Our first pets were of the energies turned animal sort.

First, Marcus formed his horse, Nox.  Truly, this is the second thing he did after manifesting as a functional ghost (more on what that means at a later date).  This goes to show that if you were an animal lover in life, then you will be an animal lover in death, to the point that it becomes nearly instinctual for you to create or adopt those sorts of friends who comforted you without words.  Animals are a huge part of newly ghosted acclimation groups for this reason, and as much as Noxwell’s proud, warhorse mentality grates at times, I have to hand it to him…he made Marcus’s transition much easier.

Following that, I determined that I also needed a pet to spend time with while Marcus was out riding, and I formed a dragon on account of the fact that I fucking love dragons.  I formed Toothless the Dragon, to be specific, but in miniature–he’s about the size of a very large Great Dane.  The energies I moulded were petulant, flippant, but utterly joyful, and he’s also taken to helping with construction projects over time, flying about with roof beams and helping me raise walls.  So I’d say he’s pretty true to the film version.

No, I do not fly him.  I’m afraid of heights…

Upon seeing my dragon, Marcus determined that he, too, needed an indoor pet.  And thus Globus was formed.  Glo.  Shitty Kitty.  Destroyer of my home and wearer of capes.  This energy cat is basically all the most entitled and destructive parts of my husband rolled into one tiny ball of fur.  Marc loves him.

I retaliated by forming the exact opposite of Glo–a little duck named Harlequin who is made of sweetness and helpfulness and loveliness.  All the nicest parts of my personality, but in feathered form.  He is so kind and good-natured that it just breaks your heart to see.  If Glo knocks something over, Quin tries to clean it up.  If we forget to make the bed, we come home to find the sheets pulled up and little duck foot prints on the pillows.  If you look the slightest bit sad, Quin is there to cuddle you.  Ugh, I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about how adorable he is.  I need to find him before I finish this post…

Ok, duck in lap, continuing.

Our final pet at home is Sam, a roly-poly hedgehog.  We formed Sam later in our marriage because we realised that we had our own pets, but not a pet together.  He’s exuberant like Marcus and spiny like me, and he has a great love of rolling about in paint and making little artworks with his quills.

After finding that we had access to a great, wide ghost world beyond our home, Marcus and I also discovered all the other types of energy pets.

We discovered that you didn’t have to make a pet that looked like anything in particular.  Our mates Ed and Jacques have this sort of…rectangular box with a tail and one eye and a bit of a snout.  It’s a monstrosity.  They call him Monkey.

We discovered that actual animal energies could cross over when a tiny parakeet flew into our flat in Toronto and took up residence, effectively becoming our son’s pet bird.

We discovered animal shelters when our daughter asked for a little cat for her birthday.  She adopted a tiny, jet-black kitten and named her Cozy.  We thought this was perfectly sweet, and entirely unexpected, until Mira informed us that the full name was Lady Constanza III of Motherfuck Island.  Because of course it is.

Side note: Glo has since met Cozy and fallen madly in love, to the point that he’s tried to take on some more cat-like behaviors in order to win her over.  He refuses to wear his capes around her after he near-strangled himself in the cat door, he’s taken to more regular grooming, and he behaves more respectably in her presence.  Cozy, however, cares not a jot for any of it, because she is, in fact, a real ghost cat, and cares not a jot for most things.

Marc also has a rescue bearded dragon named Barbu in his office at work–a gift from a fellow designer.

Oh, and he recently added a giant toad to our pond at the family home outside Toronto.   Marc has a thing for toads.

blackrainfrog

This toad, specifically. No idea.

So, there you have it.   Ghost pets of all beloved varieties roaming about in the afterlife and making both themselves and their owners rather happier.

Alright, it’s a bit cute.

…I has duck.

The House that Jacques Built

Just recently fell in.

I’m not terribly surprised, mind you.  It has always been a bit touch and go with their home, and I predicted back in October that it wouldn’t survive another Canadian winter.  Look, I said to them.  I’ve built an entire home from the ground up.  And to other homes I’ve added storeys, reinforced floors for heavy machinery, added switchback stairs.  I’ve even built a goddamn stable, and I’m telling you, this house is about to cave in.

Jacques calmly looked at the holes in the ceiling, the splintered support beams, and said, “…nah.”

Except, “yeah.”

Now, I don’t really fault him.  He had every reason to procrastinate acceptance of the inevitable. He and his husband Ed have lived at that property going on thirteen years.  It’s the first place they felt settled post-mortem.  And if you are the sort of ghost that needs to feel settled (as opposed to Marcus and I who travel frequently) then that first location onto which you map your energy becomes your home, even if happens to be a clearing in the middle of the woods or a stop sign in the middle of New York City or a crumbling ski lodge, as in the case of our mates..

The ski lodge edges right up onto a forest, which is quite lovely and private.  It’s not grand, but it’s spacious, with an open floor plan downstairs and long narrow hallways with luxury guest rooms on the upper with worn carpets and lamps and a bit of that hotel feel left over.  And the fireplace…ohhh, the fireplace.  It’s still standing, that stone monster.

‘ome sweet ‘ome

 

When they moved in, it was still in relatively decent repair, but over the winters, without any upkeep, it started to sag.  And then lean.  And then fall in.

So what options does a ghost have when his house bloody topples?

Well, ghosts with homes–unlike outdoor ghosts–need that sense of containment.  In fact, they often map their energies onto the walls and structures, becoming, in a way, a part of the house itself.  Ed and Jacques had been there long enough that they had also used their energy to patch the holes, create some semblance of a working kitchen, and–their big splurge–purchase an energy television (more on those at some point, promise.)

But not this. Let’s just be clear on that.

 

So, the first thing they needed when all of that collapsed was an immediate sense of containment elsewhere.  Naturally, Marcus and I swooped in, picked them up, and took them to our flat, where they had visited before and felt at ease.  Ed, especially; Jacques is a bit more independent these days.

Then, as they healed from the shock, they had to decide between three options.

1. Move to another home.  With the first one in a state of utter disrepair, their “tether” of sorts could reset, and Jacques has been hoping to move further into Toronto for a while now.

2. Stay at the abandoned home and make repairs.  Not that ghosts can actually repair materials that exist in the realm of the living, but we have advanced techniques for building with energy.  This would allow the blokes to reconstruct the frame of their old home in energy, and then simply ignore the caved in spaces, traipsing right on through the broken walls and window frames.  We are ghosts, after all.

But these “repairs” require a lot of construction permits, a lot of ghost gifted with retention abilities, and a lot of energy, which, on the quota system, functions as our “money” as it were.  You can certainly wander through ghost world without any of this nonsense, being something along the lines that alivelies think of as a traditional ghost, but Ed and Jacques decided long ago to live as alively-like as possible.

3. Stay at the abandoned home, living on the side of the resort that didn’t collapse as fully.  Ed was all for this option–almost frantically so, since they haven’t the energy to reconstruct–but Jacques found the idea distasteful, especially since he’s been working two years now and put aside enough for a down payment.

After about two weeks in our flat, they were looking frazzled.  Jacques managed to get Ed out long enough to tour one Toronto loft, but he went a bit weak about the edges at the prospect, I hear, and so Jacques rushed him back to our flat and resigned himself to living in rubble.

Which is ridiculous, of course.

There was a good deal of awkwardness about the whole thing.  Jacques is a proud man, and he didn’t want take money from us.  Marcus managed to get him to sign a “loan” which we will treat as no such thing, and then got him very drunk.

Then Jacques had to contact the project manager at the lead Toronto reconstructionist firm.  Normally, it would be a matter of luck that he works for them.  But the CEO is currently in the process of divorcing–rather, being divorced by–our mate Delphi, so talking to Denis was about as fun as taking a sharp stick in the eye.  Marc went with for moral support, and because Denis has never had the stones to stand up to Marcus, despite the man’s astonishing ability to be nasty to the rest of us.

That settled, construction began, with Edward standing aside and watching the whole thing with such a look of relief and starry-eyed hopefulness that Jacques couldn’t help but melt into the process.

He even decided to add a skylight.  And Marc decided to upgrade the telly, because they both like to bow before it and scream at American football matches.

So, it’s true, if Jacques had admitted the structural unsoundness earlier, we could have thrown up energy retentions to it at its old lean.  If you ever see an abandoned structure so close to falling in that you have to marvel at it’s ability to do otherwise, you better believe the dead are involved in that small miracle.

left

There be ghosts.

But this is certainly a close to an “equal best” option, as Marc says.

Post the First

How pleasant, I think, to launch a new project on one’s anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, Marcus!

It is true, you can meet and be married, or re-married, in the afterlife, which is nye on the happiest thing I’ve discovered, along with the ability of ghosts to adopt children.  (More on our little devil and angel later.)

There are any number of ways that you can marry post-mortem.  Some couples go into death together, as is the case of our dear friends and JS Charities board members Charles and Rachel.  They drown together in a boat capsizing just before the Titanic and rather wish they had gone out with a bang rather than in a dinghy.  They keep their appearances at round about 80, maintaining that although they made fetching youths, indeed, they much prefer the wizened look of old age.

Our best mates Ed and Jacques–French Canadians–also died together but in a car accident.  They were not married at the time, but have since tied the knot, with their anniversary just two weeks after Marcus and I.

Other couples meet after death, in the same sorts of places one would expect couples to meet.  In coffee shops, on sporting teams, and often in support groups for new ghosts….maybe that last one is a bit unexpected.

My personal assistant, Danny, who is actually one of my dearest friends at this point, not only met his husband after death, but as Danny died relatively young (22) and quite ill, this also means that he met his first great love after death.  He also discovered he fancied men, as well as women.  I find both the ability to meet and marry, and the ability to self-explore, to be encouraging circumstances, giving me hope for other young ghosts who pop up too soon.

Marcus and I are in the re-married camp.  He lost his first husband Aulus at war, and his second, Rufius, at the time of his own death.  He had also been married twice to women–once by force (ending in divorce) and once by friendship.

My own track record is equally polyamorous, but more happily so.  I was married simultaneously to Marion, who I mentioned on my “about” page, and to Geoffrey, my schoolmate who set me up in the ways of romance, stayed close through my church-sanctioned marriage, and then reappeared as husband later on after Marion asked me over breakfast one morning just how long I had been in love with Geoffrey, and did he feel the same way, causing me to nearly choke on my porridge.

Given my utterly happy marriages, I was absolutely astonished when Marcus turned down my first marriage proposal.  Perhaps after just six months I came across as a tad bit unctuous, and perhaps he was surprised I would even ask after I spent about two of those months sulking about and wondering when he would move out of my host’s mental space, leaving me the hell alone.  Perhaps.

But in any case, he obviously came around to the idea.

And now here we are, four years in, and still–most days–relatively…blissful is not the right word.  Energized by each other’s company, comforted by each other’s embrace, and inspired by each other’s efforts.  He is an excellent father, a stalwart best friend, and he makes one hell of a cheesecake, which I get to eat precisely two times a year.  He is also batty for dinosaurs, sharks, Locke Lamora, his horse (Nox, or Noxwell as I call him), Christmas-time, fireworks, army drills, falcons, fast cars, and republics.

Oh, and for me. ; )

This post is dedicated to him–to my Marcus.  Amo, Juni.