Turn Around Brighteyes
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Researcher Caulkins,

After careful consideration I have granted permission for you to read the requested document from the recovered personal effects of Foundation person-of-interest Noah Slattery. When you're ready, notify the on-site Director of Containment and you'll be escorted to the proper room. This is a line-item authorization, meaning you will be allowed to view this document once for a maximum of 60 minutes.

You are not permitted to take notes or otherwise interact with the document in any way except as a reader. We'll secure whatever thoughts you record post-facto in a Level 4 bucket for later discussion.

Good luck,
Site Director Fujimura


There are things older than God.

An affinity for pedantry, or just plain cynicism, might convince a person to assume I mean that God or his other facsimiles are a social construct; That mankind invented him more than he, she, it, invented us. Or some other 'clever trick' of wordplay and psychology. I've had that debate many times over the years, especially in my youth. I remember screaming the words at my father as the tears flowed down his cheek and the anger and bile flowed out of his mouth. I screamed, 'God isn't real!' as loud as I could into his face, but again, that was in my youth. I've learned since then. I've seen things as a father myself, or at least tried to.

I remember… When I yelled at my dad, I wanted the whole neighborhood to hear that I had finally made my stand against Pops, and I wanted all of them on my side for the ultimate battle. But it was soon after I came down from that high of finally showing him up that I made two very important realizations. First, that no one else who heard me curse the heavens that day actually was on my side. And second, that there are things that are older than God. Please, let me explain.

After we finished as much of our fight as we were going to finish, I stormed out of the house. I was wearing church clothes and a windbreaker. I had a wallet in my pocket with $17 inside of it and I still had my pride and my ignorance. Not to mention my prideful ignorance. But as the steps between me and my father accumulated, as I crossed city streets and old railroad tracks… I lost some of that defiant edge that had tempered me into action. There were real consequences for defying my father or my mother, consequences I had tasted before, and I had just invited the full strength of that wrath into my life should I ever go back home.

You see, there's a point in any person's life when they have to see past their parents in order to become their fullest selves. A leap, if you will, from a boy to a man. From a girl to a woman. Sometimes that leap is very sudden. Unwanted. You're unprepared. Say, if your mother, father, or both happen to die. You have no choice in the matter; you either collapse in on yourself and remain this ignoble cocoon of childlike helplessness, or you metamorphose into an adult. Tempered like a sword. Heat-treated like steel.

Others, like this me, experience this a little less traumatically but still rather suddenly. There is an uncountable, immeasurable line in the sand where you declare that you've had enough once it has been crossed. This is it! I'm done. For me, it was that quiet Sunday when I was told I was going early to join in the rosary before Mass. I looked my father in the eye and told him 'no', then we screamed. Then I left.

Then mercifully there are those that do simply just 'grow up', as nature more or less intended until their parents feel they can step out onto their own. Leaving the nest, they call it. It's a good thing, right? Everyone is bittersweetly sad but it's for the best, so we say. It's the only way to swallow the pain you're left with, but it is a way. It's what we all hope for as parents but it takes a lot of work to realize.

And then, in the distant future after many days and years have gone by… You have your own son or your own daughter. You are a father or a mother now. And your child looks up at you with their brilliant, innocent, worshipping eyes and you see all of the infinity of his or her possibilities reflected back at you. You can give them that, you have that power as their father. They'll be the way you never had a chance to be, they'll be raised with the love you were preached to but never felt. They'll be better than you because you won't let them become anything less.

But then the day comes when they, too, scream back in your face that you're unfair and you don't understand them. That you don't get what it's like. Those brilliant, innocent, hopeful eyes are dead and you see that misguided but honest fire roaring back at you from behind their pupils. The fire, the passion, the hatred that you too once felt. You can't hate them for it even though it hurts. It is your son, after all. It is your daughter. But then the lesson sinks in. It hits home just how the more things change the more they stay the same for you and for everything else in all the infinity of creation.

Many of us will use love to rationalize it away. 'He'll come around when he's older and you've both mellowed out'. But part of you, a deep and quiet body of water in the furthest reaches of your soul, knows that what was done happened in a natural way you couldn't understand before.

You were his God and he defied you.

You were his God and you raised him wrong. You didn't give him what you promised you would in your dreamy-eyed appreciation for his innocence.

You were his God and he tore you down.

And all you can do is allow the crushing, existential weight of what you have done to slowly, inexorably, catch up to you because… there are things older than God, and all of this has happened before.

Your God was made into what he is today when he drew that line and told his Mother 'no further'.

That Thing at Site-17 did the same to his Mother. And one day… one day we will do the same to him. Not for spite, not for malice, but because we cannot be what we were meant to be if we accept him without question until we perish. We cannot be what we were meant to be if we accept anything so childish as to claim to be our god.

And if he is who and what he claims to be, he would love us all the same because we would be his children. And if he is not, if he is the pathetic attempt at a foster that I know him to be and as I intend to show you, then we will have thrown off this falsehood and found our way back home.

Mother is still out there, watching our fitful adolescence from the distance he makes her keep. But for those who are astute, those who know that this fake must be cast down, She sings us the sweetest lullabies and coos to us the promise of a home worthy of our aspiration.

For we are not yet meant to be men and women. We are children. Poor, lost, children without the guile to piece the veil we've been swaddled in.

There are things older than God, and they miss us dearly.

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