“If you want to kill somebody, conquer his heart, Then leave slowly and leave them between death and madness.”
Mycroft had been away on a secret mission for two weeks.
It was the longest Sherlock had been without him in recent years. He always behaved annoyed when his brother came to Baker Street but the truth of it was that he always felt worse when he left. He simply couldn’t understand why that was.
So he did what he did with many things he didn’t understand. Like sex, romance, sorrow. People.
He ignored them and avoided them.
There was enough to keep him busy without engaging his brain in unsolvable mysteries. This didn’t even involve any crime. So boring….
Not seeing Mycroft for so many days had made Sherlock uneasy.
He didn’t know where he had gone and the thought that he may be doing something dangerous made him restless and cranky. As a result when Mummy telephoned and asked him to come home for some important work, his defences were down and he barely protested.
John’s eyebrows shot up when Sherlock told him where he was going. He looked out of the window to see if anyone was waiting there to ensure that Sherlock went without a struggle.
There was no one.
Sherlock was going voluntarily?!
John felt a shiver go through him. He was terrified of ever meeting Mummy Holmes if this is the effect she could have on Sherlock. Wow!
But he was looking forward to some peace and quiet in the flat for the few days that his flatmate would be away.
Sherlock had asked Anthea to arrange a car for him the next morning because going by train was simply not an option.
Too many people. Too many potential opportunities for unwanted deductions and thus possible violence being inflicted on him.
Finally, after a three hour ride he reached his destination. He stepped out of the car and stretched himself, bracing to meet his formidable mother and see what this high priority task was that she wanted him to come down from London for.
But even as he stood there he realized that he was already regretting this, and was about to consider turning back…. when Mummy called out from inside the house.
“Sherlock?! Come on inside!”
So he dragged his feet and went in, barely greeting his father and reluctantly and awkwardly returning Mummy’s fierce hug.
“So what was this earth shattering priority work you had to drag me down here for?” He said in his best teenage sulking voice, pouting and scowling and looking about as fierce as Eeyore in the process.
“Oh that.” Mummy said airily, as she put the apple pie in the oven and went back to setting the table. “Yes……. I wanted your help to clear the attic.”
Sherlock stood there open mouthed at this horrendous revelation.
“Mummy!!! You made it sound like a matter of life and death!”
“Well it could be you know.” she said cheerfully. “Your father and I are not exactly growing any younger are we?”
Sherlock looked at his father in mute appeal but the older man just smiled at him and shrugged.
“Ugh!” Sherlock exploded and stomped off to his room.
Sherlock has a bit of a wobble....going back to one's childhood home is never easy is it ?
"When I love, the water gushes from my fingers, grass grows on my tongue. When I love, I become time outside all time.”
Half an hour later the smell of apple pie drew him out, still annoyed but resigned to his fate.
He made a special effort to drag his chair out noisily and clank the cutlery in a way that had always annoyed Mummy. But she showed no reaction and just served him his food.
As he sat there eating, he looked at the empty chair next to him and felt such a sharp ache in his chest that he actually wondered if he was having a heart attack.
It had been simply years since he had come down here alone.
Mycroft was always there with him. He made time. He made arrangements. He knew how much Sherlock hated facing Mummy alone and so the Most Dangerous Man in Britain always took time off to be there for his brother.
If Sherlock didn’t know any better he would imagine that he was feeling sentimental.
This was one of the reasons he hated coming home……..it flooded him with memories he couldn’t cope with. It opened doors inside his Mind Palace to rooms that were best left closed. It always left him with a sense of unfulfilled longing that he couldn’t deduce and it made him feel utterly unsettled and lost.
And now Mycroft’s absence gnawed at him and made him feel hollow and fragile.
He pushed the pie away.
“You served me enough to feed Mycroft.” he said, even as felt a wobble of misery at not having Mycroft there so he could tease him in person.
“Now Sherlock, we don’t waste food at our table you know that!” Mummy said briskly. “But you did eat more than I expected so I will keep it for your tea time. Help me clear the table. After that do you want to rest or clean up the attic?”
He got up reluctantly. “The attic. But this cancels Christmas dinner Mummy. I am NOT going to come down here twice!!”
“Hmm. We will see about that young man.” She said, her icy blue eyes giving away nothing, while appearing to pierce his very mind and read it.
Those were Mycroft’s eyes. He could never hide from them. They saw everything. Sometimes they saw things even he didn’t know he had inside him.
When he came out from his reverie, he found that Mummy was cooing and petting him.
Father was looking at him and smiling fondly.
He could not believe he had succumbed to Mummy’s will and allowed himself to be bullied into coming here….…no, worse, actually agreed to come down here. Alone. Without Mycroft….
He felt like a hermit crab without its shell. Helpless. About to be eaten up.
He narrowed his eyes at the thought that Mummy really was like a shark in the water.
He shrugged her off and washed the dishes in a strop and fleetingly considered dropping and breaking one of them just to show her….…but the fear of the consequences was too much to consider.
It caused him even more distress to imagine that he would have to face that alone, without Mycie to hide behind.
His brain stuttered to a halt as he realized that he had not thought of his brother by that name in years……decades even.
He looked out of the kitchen window and saw them both, as they used to be all those years ago, playing in the garden. Mycroft would be looking at him fondly, rope tied around him, as his baby brother ran around brandishing a wooden sword and playing pirates.
Poor Mycie he remembered with a wry grin. He would always attack his big brother’s ship and make him walk the plank.
Oh well….clearly adversity had built character and that is why he spent all his days now starting and stopping wars and condemning random people to death….
“I will dry them and put them away, thanks dear.” Mummy was saying as she bustled around the kitchen putting the leftovers away. “You go on to the attic.”
He removed his gloves and wiped his hands on the kitchen towel his father handed him silently. He glared at Father because he dared not glare at Mummy and then stomped away and climbed up to the attic.
Mycroft had to have inherited his diplomacy from someone isn't it ?!
It's not always just patterns and deductions but actually getting things done which is a more powerful magic :)
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Visit here when the world no longer makes sense!
Welcome to this blog where you will find random musings on existentialist nihilism, conspiracy theories, and the occasional words of wisdom.
Thank you to all the readers who have given me the motivation to continue this blog for the last twenty years.
Today marks 1000 weeks of this blog and the readers count stands at 2,88,477.
After all these years of blogging I can now share with you that my lovely and brilliant wife was actually responsible for the invention of the internet and hence the possibility of writing blogs. You won’t find her name mentioned anywhere because it was rather hush hush in those days. Then she then gave it all up to raise our children-- who have grown up to be certified geniuses in their own right. By her reckoning it has been a gain for the world.
Two of them instead of one of her.
But I think she was, and perhaps still is, more of a genius than both of them combined….. but enough about me.
After all I am just The Sane One here!
Monday: And how shall we change the world today?
This week’s question from helpless999 was on how to plant an idea in someone’s mind.
Well, let me first say that I dislike manipulation. Which is not to say that I have never done it. My job required a lot of diplomacy and my older son seems to have inherited my skills. Appearing to be invisible yet seeing more than anyone else is powerful magic in its own way!!
But our younger son is like his mother and believes in the most direct, perhaps even ruthless approach. I guess the fruit never falls far from the tree.…
Enough of my ramblings though. Where was I? Ah yes… I do believe, with the wisdom of my years, that sometimes people cannot see what is right in front of them and may need to be gently nudged to help them figure it out for themselves! Even geniuses need it! So, let me tell you a personal experience which worked very well recently. Try it and let me know if it works for you too!
3 steps to gently planting an idea in someone’s head:
- Talk about the topic at odd times so it gets stuck in their head precisely because it is so random.
- Talk around the topic in a vague way so that their own train of thoughts goes down more specific routes.
- Deny the topic so that the other person gains ownership of the idea.
For example, if you want your spouse to get your son to look at his things stored in the attic:
- Week one: Mention the attic in the context of Jane Eyre. Remark on the symbolism of the attic in dreams as representing the higher self or your higher subconscious mind self. The self that is in contact with the eternal. Also how it may symbolize the total summation of your life's work.
- Week Two: Talk about the transient nature of life and the Japanese culture of minimalism. Look up at the attic every time you walk down the passage when you know they can see you. Talk about fire hazards caused by old paper and clothes.
- Week Three: When she finally remarks that maybe she should call your younger son to look at all his stuff still in the attic, tell her it is a bad idea because he will never come and anyway, how does it matter if it just stays there for another twenty years? When the boys inherit the place they will figure it out.
Wednesday: Mid- Week Musings
Ever wondered what happens when an immovable object meets an irresistible force?
In our household the force just won out.
As I had expected :)
Friday: Frugal hobbies for the weekend
Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, one of the Shetland Islands. It gained popularity when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle jumpers in public in 1921.
Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.
I have found these two websites to be useful in planning new patterns. May knit one for my son’s flatmate. He wears some rather boring jumpers.
Check these out and let me know what you think!
Until next week, stay sane!
Father Holmes’ blog is a nod to the dialogue between Mary and Mr. Holmes in HLV.
It is also inspired by the lovely eloquated and her idea for the secret sex toy blog for Molly in our earlier co-written fic 'Come, if Convenient.'
Poor Father Holmes is almost invisible in the show in the midst of his family of geniuses, so it totally made sense to me that he would have an outlet through a blog....with thousands of followers of course!
Transcript by the amazing Ariane de Vere!! https://arianedevere.livejournal.com/68242.html
Mary holds up the book to show the front cover. The book is called “The Dynamics of Combustion” and its author is M. L. Holmes.
MARY (to Mrs Holmes): Did you write this?
MRS HOLMES: Oh, that silly old thing. You mustn’t read that. Mathematics must seem terribly fatuous now!
(She turns to her husband, who is now gazing into space and humming quietly to himself.)
MRS HOLMES (walking towards him): Now, no humming, you!
(She pats his backside affectionately. Mary, taking another drink of her tea, smiles fondly at her as she leaves the room and closes the door. Mr Holmes smiles at Mary.)
MR HOLMES: Complete flake, my wife, but happens to be a genius.
MARY: She was a mathematician?
MR HOLMES: Gave it all up for children.
(Mary smiles and sips from her mug again.)
MR HOLMES: I could never bear to argue with her. I’m something of a moron myself. But she’s ... (he glances away briefly, then looks back to Mary and leans closer to her, smiling) ... unbelievably hot!
MARY (giggling): Oh my God. You’re the sane one, aren’t you?!
MR HOLMES (raising his eyebrows at her): Aren’t you?!
Sherlock finds out that the attic may be a more dangerous place than a crime scene....
“There is one who loves you quietly, and respects you quietly, and wishes you privately, and walks away when he sees you busy with someone other than him, and his ego restrains him from getting near you, and contents himself with the love for the sake of love.”
Sherlock entered the attic and stood for a while, letting his eyes get used to the dim interior. Then he found the light switch, turned it on and looked around.
The place was filled with trunks, odds and ends, broken pieces of furniture, piles of old curtains and things.
Junk! He thought to himself angrily. She called me here to sort out JUNK!!! I should just torch this place and leave.
He spent a happy minute imagining how he would set fire to the place and watch from across the road (With his parents. Of course he would rescue them. He wasn’t a psychopath. Just a high functioning sociopath).
Then there would be no house, no attic, no junk. Just a pile of ashes….
No reason for him to come here again! No Christmas dinners!
Of course Mycroft promptly appeared in his Mind Palace, with a severely disapproving expression on his face.
“Sherlock!” He said, in his most icy tone. “How can you even THINK of such a thing?! This isn’t junk you foolish boy! These are memories! This is the essence of what made us who we are. You and me. These are our footprints in the sand. Echoes of our childhood.”
Sherlock stuck his tongue out at him.
Well, if you wanted to keep all this, and wallow in those ‘fond memories’ then you should have been here with me. Now GO AWAY.
He shut the door on Mind Palace Mycroft and decided, with a resigned sigh, that since he was here he might as well sort things out.
Not because Mycroft suggested it of course. Never.
The first trunk he opened was full of costumes of all shapes and colours and varieties.
Good lord, was this Mycroft’s Lady Bracknell outfit?
He rolled his eyes.
Mycroft used to wear it and mince around and make Sherlock laugh so much….…he had such a fun sense of humour. But now…Sherlock couldn’t remember having seen him even smile in recent years…let alone laugh…..
What happened to you Mycie?
Then a cuff and lace caught his eyes.
Yes of course, this was Henry the Eighth.
Mycroft was fond of his Shakespeare plays too. He would be Shylock and Lady Macbeth and Sherlock would be tasked with playing Antonio and Macduff and such.
Of course, on most days Sherlock would pretend to forget his lines and just be a pirate.
He remembered one day when they were playing King Lear and Mycroft had finally got utterly exasperated and almost pleaded with him.
“Lock, please!! There cannot possibly be any pirates in this play!!”
And he had told Mycroft exuberantly, swishing his wooden sword, “Well there are NOW!”
Mycroft had pulled off his long white beard and gone off and sulked in the library for two entire days, reading huge complicated books and ignoring Sherlock completely.
He had had to set fire to the chair in the library using the magnifying glass to get back his big brother’s attention.
Those were good days……. he remembered with a smile, as he rummaged some more and found the wooden sword.
He held it in his hand, so much smaller now than it had seemed to him as a little boy. He swung it around in an imitation of his swashbuckling moves.
A deep pit of bleak sadness suddenly opened up in his chest.
He wanted to be that boy again. No, he wanted to stay that boy forever.
Then he and Mycie would play in that garden for all eternity.
Why did children need to grow up?
Look at Mycroft. He had gone from being that chubby sweetly smiling indulgent brother of his to this icy cold sneering control freak who never had any fun anymore.
Sherlock looked at that sword and remembered all those golden hours when they had played together, without a care in the world.
He had never needed anyone else then.
He didn’t even need the sword really. All he had ever needed was Mycroft.
Why had they grown apart?
After many long minutes without finding an answer inside himself, he set the sword aside and rummaged through another trunk.
This one was full of gifts, still wrapped. They were all addressed to Sherlock.
Was that Mycroft’s handwriting?? Huh. Why had he never opened them???
He held one up and frowned at it fiercely as though the intensity of his glare would make it speak out and confess.
Nope. It wasn’t giving up anything.
He kept it down and sat with his fingers steepled under his chin, trying to find the answer in his Mind Palace. He wandered back to when Mycroft had left for college.
No memory of these gifts….what about before that? ….aaah he found something.
Mycroft was standing outside his door begging to be let in.
Please Lockie, say goodbye to me! Give me a hug! I promise I will write to you every week! And I will send you a gift every birthday! Please Lockie?!
And he heard himself yelling through his tears.
Go away Mycroft. I don’t want your STUPID letters and I DON’T want your stupid gifts. I HATE you.
And he had hurled his shoe at the door.
After that thud, there was a deafening silence in his room and he saw himself crying silently with his head under his pillow.
Some minutes later he heard a car turn in the driveway as it left with Mycroft and he cried bitterly till he fell asleep with exhaustion.
Sherlock came out of his Mind Palace slowly….okaaay…so that is why these gifts were unopened. He felt a slight pang of distress that Mycroft had made the effort to send these and he had ignored them.
He was still lost in the memory of that crying boy and the pleading boy as he scrambled around in the trunk randomly, when he saw that below the pile of gifts there were some letters and a diary.
And a bunch of handmade cards.
He flipped through the cards, grimacing as he recognized his own (childish!) handwriting and basic drawings.
Birthday cards, Christmas cards….even a Valentine’s Day card still in its envelope. He groaned.
For goodness’ sake. Really?!
Who could he have possibly meant it for?!
It had an anatomically correct heart on the outside, atria, ventricles, aorta and all.
He opened it to see his own childish scrawl inside.
He sat very still for a few minutes, trying to remember the young boy who had made this card for a big brother he loved very much indeed. Probably the first and last Valentine’s Day card he had made or had even felt like making.
Did Mycroft know? Had he seen this card? Why could he not remember what he had said to him on receiving it?
What would he say if he saw it now?
Was it the cold or was he just tired?
He decided to leave the attic for now. It was getting dark and cold and he was still battling the frustration at having come down here for something so ridiculous.
And a small voice reminded him that he was also missing Mycroft.
It just felt utterly and completely wrong to be back home without him.
He felt like he didn’t even belong here all alone. This was not the way it should be. Ever.
It was always the two of them. It should always be the two of them.
When had they got separated like this?
Sanctuary: Historically, it is considered the holiest of holy places — a temple or church. Now, it's a word for anywhere a person feels especially safe and serene, especially from pursuit, persecution or other dangers.
"My lover asks me: 'What is the difference between me and the sky?' The difference, my love, is that when you laugh, I forget about the sky.”
Sherlock switched off the light and climbed down and went to his room.
It was already dark and he had eaten too much at lunch to even think of having dinner. He washed up and changed into his pajamas.
The house was still and quiet now.
He could hear Father tapping away at his laptop while Mummy seemed to have fallen asleep under her book. Must be one of her Alan Turing collections-- Morphogenesis and Mathematical Logic.
He paused as he realized that his father’s tap-tapping reminding him of John when he updated his blog.
What could father possibly be doing on his laptop? He wondered briefly and then dismissed the thought. He had no desire to get involved in their lives any more than he already was. He shuddered and went into his room and lay down on the bed.
He lay there restlessly for over an hour, tossing and turning and throwing pillows and blankets around. Finally he got up and went to Mycroft’s room.
He stood inside and took a deep breath. After all these years it still smelt the same.
Leather bound books, polished wood, some lingering molecules of a wardrobe freshener.
If Mycroft was here there would also be his woodsy aftershave. And perhaps the fragrance of Earl Grey tea just finished. Maybe also some echoes of the chocolate digestives he always succumbed to when home.
Does he get to eat regularly when he is on a mission?
He doesn’t even like legwork……
Why does he go?? Idiot…he thought again angrily.
He closed the door quietly and went in and sat on Mycroft's bed. He patted the pillows and finally lay down. At once he felt a sense of belonging, a right-ness about the bed, a deep comfort.
Why? What sense did that make?
It had been simply years……fifteen years to be precise, when he had last snuck into Mycroft’s bed at night. He used to do it often when he was smaller and scared and the noises under his bed and inside his head frightened him. When he was a bit older he used to do it simply for the comfort of being close to Mycie. And his Mycie never let him down. He always moved over and made place. He always patted him and told him stories, facts, ideas. He soothed him till he fell asleep.
He had never told anyone, although he was sure Mummy knew, but after Mycroft left for college and his anger had finally subsided ( after two whole years…) , he had taken to sleeping in Mycroft’s bed once in a while.
On days when the morons in school bullied him. On days when the teachers were being idiots. On days when the entire world was a conspiracy to BORE him to death.
He would take refuge here and find Mind Palace Mycie and then all his broken fragments would be slowly put together and he would be ready to face the world the next day.
When had Mycroft stopped being his sanctuary?
But even as that thought crossed his mind, the unexpected answer came to him.
He never had! He was still his sanctuary…...
It was Sherlock who had stopped recognizing that. He had rejected all his efforts to help him. He had not forgiven him for leaving and had wanted to prove that he didn’t need him.
That crying boy had still held on to his anger after all these years. And the pleading boy had come back with steel in his soul, chanting the mantra ‘Caring is not an advantage.’
Like a lightning bolt, Sherlock had an epiphany. He had believed all this time that Mycroft made him who he was, but now, with equal certainty he knew that he too had made Mycroft who he was.
It was his fierce rejection that had made Mycroft so wary of emotions.
He had made his big brother into the Ice Man?!!
Oh ….where the hell was Mycroft??.
Always had to be so dutiful and obedient. He was too senior for such field work now.
But….maybe they asked him to go because it really was dangerous……
A thought flashed across his mind and was squashed in an instant.
What if Mycroft ….no, no NO. Absolutely not.
He will always be there for me he thought fiercely.
To comfort himself from that terrifying thought, he went into his Mind Palace and visited some safe rooms occupied by his big brother.
Mycroft standing in 221B, leaning gently on his umbrella.
Mycroft rolling his eyes at him.
Mycroft handing him some files for a case.
Mycroft interrogating John that first day.
Sherlock grinned to himself in the dark. Trust Mycroft to be such a Drama Queen.
He had spent years in places way more dangerous than in the company of a limping ex-Army doctor, for heaven’s sake! In drug dens, with dealers, Lestrade’s crime scenes….being home during Christmas dinner….
Hmm…..Mycroft really took his job as big brother very seriously didn’t he?!
He monitored him, helped him, paid his bills (even the extravagant ones Sherlock ran up at his exclusive tailor’s shop), sent him to rehab. He dropped in to check on him, he eased his way through certain investigations….he had even tolerated his appearance in a bedsheet at Buckingham Palace …
He wondered what he could possibly do that would make Mycroft finally turn around and disown him….but he had a strange feeling that even committing a murder would not do that.
Mycie would still find a way to save him.
He turned to face the empty side of the bed. He reached out and touched the cold sheets on that side.
Was there anything Mycroft would not do for him?
Come back soon Mycie…..please…. was his final coherent thought before he fell asleep.
Mummy worries about her boys but Father seems rather confident in their pursuit of happiness.
Mummy woke up with a crick in her neck from having fallen asleep on the sofa while reading.
“Hello dear” her husband looked at her and smiled. “You dozed off for a bit there.”
“Just a bit tired today.” She said, rubbing her neck. “Sherlock?”
“I think he came down from the attic a while ago and went to his room.” He said, looking at his laptop. “I guess we will see him tomorrow morning now.”
“Hmm.” She said and seemed to consider saying something but stopped herself.
He looked over at her, so attuned to her patterns of communication. “Something worrying you dear?”
She seemed to have made up her mind and spoke. “Do you think they are happy?”
“Who? Sherlock and John? I don’t think they are a ….”
“No dear, Sherlock and Mycroft. Our boys. I don’t understand human beings any better than they do. You seem to be the only sane one in the family.” She smiled at him. “I don’t know how you survive us all! What do you think? Are they happy?”
“Happiness is difficult to define dear. They seem to be doing well.”
“That is not what I asked and you know it!” She said, eyes flashing, reminding him so much of Sherlock’s angry expressions. “They don’t have anyone to call their own…..like I do.” And she smiled at him sweetly, again the quicksilver mood changes that Sherlock had inherited.
“They have each other my dear.” He said, seriously. “They will always have each other. Have you ever known them to need anyone else?”
She lapsed into deep thought at that and finally got up and decided to go to bed. “Coming?”
“See you in a few minutes love. Just finishing this book review.” He said.
She nodded, wondering who read his book reviews. He seemed to always borrow the oddest books from the local library. Oh well, whatever kept him happy was good for her….…she thought as she went to sleep.
She only wished she could see her boys happy too. They were geniuses, in a world that didn’t deserve them….how could they ever find someone who would be a suitable companion?
She had a feeling they would die of embarrassment if they found out she had been wondering about their choice of partner and had come to the conclusion that neither of them was likely to want a woman to be their life partner.
But it didn’t matter to her if it was a two headed alien.
As long as they had someone.
Genius or not, loneliness was not a good companion.
But then again her husband was right…….the boys had always had each other.
Some faint memories from long ago were jostling for space as she tried to hold on to that thought but she fell asleep before they reached her conscious mind.
Sometimes others need to be the keepers of your memories...
“Days will pass, and you’ll abandon things you were addicted to, and leave someone, and cancel a dream, and finally, accept a reality.” Nizar Qabbani
Sherlock woke up rather late the next morning but feeling much more refreshed than he had in a long time.
He opened his eyes tentatively and remembered where he was. He turned and smiled but the other side of the bed was empty. He heard the sounds of his parents moving around downstairs and he groaned.
Mummy. The attic.
He got ready just enough to drag himself down, pretending to be far more put out than he actually was.
He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he didn’t discover till it was too late, that apparently some neighbours had dropped in for a chat and were IN the kitchen and they actually LOOKED at him and tried to TALK to him.
He stood there aghast, frozen to the spot, wondering how he could escape without Mummy telling him off for being rude….. when Father came to his rescue, unexpectedly.
“Oh Sherlock, here you are. Will you please get me some garlic from the kitchen garden? I thought I will start the preparation for that chicken dish you like.” He said.
Sherlock shot out of the kitchen like an arrow, and went right to the back of the house. He reached the garden and stopped, wondering which one of these was garlic and how many did Father need?
Did Father really need them?? Or had he said it to help him escape? No….of course not…. Father wasn’t one for such tricks……
As he stood there looking at the laburnum tree at the bottom of the kitchen garden, he blinked.
This was where he and Mycroft had slept under the stars one night and Mycroft had taught him the constellations. He had been all of 8 years old then, gazing in awe at the wonders of the universe as his brilliant, all –knowing big brother patiently explained the Doppler effect of the expanding universe, the multiverse theories, black holes and anti-matter.
Aunt Brenda had been visiting (which had been the catalyst for escaping and sleeping under the tree in the first place!) and the next day she had asked him if he had made a wish on a falling star.
Sherlock had snorted in disdain and explained the science behind it and told her that it was pointless and that even if he had, there was no one to grant his wish anyway.
“Ah you never know!” she had winked. “The universe works in mysterious ways.”
“I don’t have anything to wish for.” Sherlock had said, chin in the air and a stubborn look on his face.
“Lockie…..” Mycroft had murmured as he noticed the glint in Mummy’s eyes. She tolerated a lot from Sherlock but he wanted Sherlock to back off before he got into trouble.
“Oh I am an old romantic.” his aunt had said. “I would have asked for someone to love me forever.”
“I already have him.” Sherlock had said, grabbing Mycroft’s hand.
“Oh, that is so sweet! You have such lovely boys” His aunt had said to Mummy who was now beaming at them with pride.
Aunt Brenda had looked like she was about to hug him so he had quickly hidden behind Mycroft and watched him get hugged and have his cheeks pinched instead.
He smiled as he remembered that Mycroft had tried to feed him cake later for being such a good boy and then had read him an extra story that night.
Father interrupted his walk down memory lane as he ambled down to the garden himself and said, “Sherlock, here, hold this basket and I will tell you which bulbs to pull out. After all, I doubt you need to identify garlic during your Scotland Yard cases, do you? But I am sure you do know that chopped garlic if stored incorrectly can ferment and cause botulism, don’t you? Quite an un-detectable way to murder someone and have a fool-proof alibi!! ”
Father gave him an amiable smile and kept nattering on six types of garlic and soft neck and hard neck and sub -species and purple stripes and silver skins and soil and planting and random things for five whole minutes after which he took the full basket and went back to the kitchen.
Sherlock just stared at his retreating back as he made an urgent phone call. “Lestrade! That case with the murder of the Michelin Star chef last week………….”
After he finished his call, he climbed back up the pipe into his room, through the window, so that he wouldn’t have to see the neighbours again.
He took a quick shower since he was now muddy from the entire garlic searching expedition and decided to look for a book to read from Mycroft’s collection. He couldn’t go downstairs and he wasn’t quite ready to go back upstairs again………
He hadn’t looked at Mycroft’s bookshelf in years………Churchill, Machiavelli, Plato, ‘The Strange Death of Liberal England’, ‘In Defence of Politics’, ‘The State We’re In’…….god what an incredibly BORING collection …… oh hello…. a book called ‘In Praise of Idleness’….that looked promising….
He looked at the blurb on the back.
“Intolerance and bigotry lie at the heart of all human suffering. So claims Bertrand Russell at the outset of In Praise of Idleness, a collection of essays in which he espouses the virtues of cool reflection and free enquiry; a voice of calm in a world of maddening unreason. From a devastating critique of the ancestry of fascism to a vehement defence of 'useless' knowledge, with consideration given to everything from insect pests to the human soul, this is a tour de force that only Bertrand Russell could perform.”
Sounded brilliant! Just like his own blog. Let people mock and ask who needed to understand 243 types of tobacco ash….oh he should update his blog with the new information about garlic ……it had been a while since he wrote.
Then he sprawled all over the bed and read the book for almost an hour…….and finished it.
He decided to look for something else to read…… and hey, what was that?!
Was that his old chemistry notebook? Why was it here?!
He pulled it out from the shelf and rifled through it. It was full of random notes and suggestions, about poisons, acids, how to get rid of blood stains. Lots of formulae, lots of doodled skulls and crossbones…..
Why would Mycroft have this in his bedroom? In his bookshelf?
He turned to the last page where he had drawn a visiting card.
Inside the rectangle it said in his loopy scrawl:
Sherlock Holmes Esq
The World's Only
He looked again carefully.
The words “The World’s Only’ had been added later and were in Mycroft’s handwriting.
When had Mycroft done that? Had he planted the idea in his head when he was younger??
Or had Mycroft written it in here later?
Was he pleased with him? Was he……could it be that he was….proud of him?
Somehow the thought made him feel a bit wobbly and he sat down at the desk.
He had always believed that Mycroft disapproved of him. Constantly.
That his surveillance was in part because he never trusted him. He was just waiting for him to make some mistake so he could swoop in and rescue him.
Mycie was so perfect in all he did that surely there was nothing for him to be proud of where Sherlock was concerned?
Was he actually ….did Mycroft actually think positively of his abilities to solve puzzles? Solve crimes?
This put a completely new perspective on everything…. didn’t it….
He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t notice Mummy standing at the door calling him.
“Sherlock!” She said, exasperated. “Are you coming down for lunch or not? You woke up late and then you didn’t even have any breakfast…..And before you ask, yes, they have gone. Really my boy, all grown up and still as anti –social as when you were little.”
She shook her head and held out her arms to him. He got up and reluctantly allowed himself to be hugged.
“Still sneaking into Myke’s room like you used to?” She said, smiling as she ruffled his hair fondly.
“Hmm…well he always had the better room didn’t he.” Sherlock said sulkily, becoming 8 again, as he always did when he had to face Mummy….. and before he could stop himself he added. “He always got the best of everything. You always favoured him didn’t you.”
“William Sherlock Scott Holmes!” His mother said, eyes flashing and hands on her hips. “Did you just dare to say that?! After all the times that he saved your bony backside from a good hiding? And he lied for you and protected you? And all the times that he….found you in London…do you think he did it to be in my good graces?? Oh you really.” She clucked in exasperation. “And as for us favouring him, did you even notice us when you were a child?? Your entire universe revolved around Mycie. From the moment you opened your eyes, till you closed them, and even after ---you think I don’t know how many nights you would sneak into his bedroom and sleep?! It was Mycie this and Mycie that….all the time.” She sighed. “You barely spoke to any of us even after he left for college. The poor boy sent you gifts, letters….. so many letters.”
“Letters? I don’t remember any!” Sherlock said slowly.
“Well, you didn’t exactly read them did you now?” Mummy asked, lifting one eyebrow in a sardonic gesture that was so Mycroft. “Threatened to burn them in fact. Luckily Father had saved them all and put them up in the attic some years ago.
“Mummy I need to go up and see them. Now!” Sherlock said getting up in a hurry.
“Sherlock! Sherlock eat something…” but she was talking to an empty room.
Her whirlwind child had disappeared.
Sorry....you are probably going to need them all....
“My letters to you, are greater and more important than both of us. They are the only documents, where people will discover, your beauty, and my madness.”
Sherlock went straight back up to the attic.
He braced himself and opened that trunk again, wondering if there was any sense in unwrapping those gifts now….he wasn’t sure ….and then, as he was rummaging there, right at the bottom of the second trunk, he came across the bundle of un-opened letters.
Addressed to him.
Probably from the same college years when he was mad at Mycroft for having left him. Having abandoned him.
He touched them gingerly, wondering if past demons should be unleashed……but he knew that Mind Palace Mycie always turned up when he was in such a lather of indecision… and before he could come and tell him not to do it, he simply ripped open the first envelope on the top of the bundle, took out the folded pages of the letter and started reading.
First letter or last………….at this point, almost twenty years later, it didn’t really matter.
He started to read, rapidly casting his eyes over the neat handwriting.
How are you? How is school?
How are Mummy and Father?
With that out of the way let me say what I wrote this letter to tell you.
I miss you Sherlock.
You may laugh at me for being sentimental but it’s true. You may tease me for being a drama queen but I miss you like I would miss a limb that was amputated.
I feel incomplete.
I climb down the stairs and reach out to hold your hand, waiting for you to take it and jump down two steps at a time as usual. When I see something funny I turn to tell you. When they serve your favourite bread pudding in the mess, I can barely swallow it because it feels so wrong to eat it without you.
I know you miss me too. I am sorry for the separation. I am sorry we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye properly.
You know I didn’t have a choice about leaving. But we must both be brave and stay strong. This too shall pass.
Please study hard and write to me if you can.
I feel terrible knowing that I cannot be there when you finish with your studies in the evenings and to play with you on weekends.
No one here cares about the things we used to talk about. So I have to do my patterns and deductions all inside my head and not be able to share them with anyone.
Let me tell you about an odd incident in class this week. It did not strike me as funny at the time but recalling it has brought me much merriment and I wished to share it with you……
Sherlock sat as though frozen. Paralyzed.
Holding the paper in his hands. Thin letter paper written over in a neat fine writing. Four pages of it.
Suddenly he couldn’t see any more. There was pain. So much physical pain that he doubled over.
He clutched at himself for a good two minutes and wondered if he was dying.
He took a deep breath and one more and one more.
Finally he calmed himself and turned to the last page of that letter.
And then he cried.
He cried like he had never done before.
He sobbed and sobbed and there were no arms to comfort him.
No Mycie to hug or ruffle his hair. No big brother to tease him gently and persuade him to stop.
No one to offer him a smoke or a smile.
He was shaking with fear when he finally stopped crying.
What had he done?? What could he do now??!
These were love letters!
The amount of love trapped inside these letters…..abandoned, tossed by the wayside ….that love had never found a voice.
These caged birds needed to sing. He was going to release them today.
All of them.
He opened the attic door and shouted down the passage.
“Mummy!!! I am going to be up here a while…… Mummy?!” He hollered.
Even before his voice stopped echoing down the passage, she was there, holding a picnic basket.
She was also carrying a pillow and a fleece. “It can get cold in there.” She said. "And you must be hungry."
He stared at her.
It was easy to forget that underneath all the domesticity and apple pies she was the mother of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes. She may not be able to read him as well as Mycroft could but she knew him well enough. She had expected this.
He took the picnic basket wordlessly and hauled in the pillow and fleece and slammed the door shut.
Then he opened and read more letters.
Every un-read letter was freed from its prison that day.
He read them in random order but he read them all.
I wish you had come to the phone last week when I called.
If I could have heard your voice, it would have been a solace during these long lonely winter nights here.
Do you know that…..
I am so happy that you are being home schooled, away from all the nastiness and cruelty that the so-called ‘normal’ people seem to inflict on each other with wanton ease.
It would break my heart to have anyone bully you at school while I am not there to protect and defend you.
I hope you are practising the violin regularly. I am looking forward to hearing you play when I return. My piano playing might be a bit rusty now, but then you have always been the far superior musician between the two of us anyway !
I must say that I have given up hope of you replying to me, but I do hope that you are reading these and will not forget your Mycie!
That would be too big a price to pay for any education that Mummy wants me to have or any career that Father hopes I will take on.
This week in psychology class we learnt……..
He could barely see the words through his tears as he read them all.
Tender pleading letters, asking him to write back. Loving letters forgiving him for not writing back but hoping he was well and would forgive his Mycie for leaving. Thoughtful letters pondering the mysteries of the world and the ways of people. Funny letters with words of wisdom. Sad letters when Mycie himself was a bit unhappy.
How could he have made such a grave mistake??Was it even possible to make amends?? Ever??
He felt like he had gone down a rabbit hole.
Things became smaller and bigger without much control.
Usually people remember things from their childhood as larger than they really are. A childhood garden that seemed enormous enough to run around and tire oneself out turns out to be as small as a handkerchief. The childhood dreams appear trivial now whereas once they encompassed the entire universe.
How could he have gotten it all so wrong?!
How could he have remembered the love as smaller than it really was?? How could something so big have shrunk to something so small or even absent in his memories?
Why had his memories betrayed him so much?
Sherlock enters his Mind Palace to try and unlock some memories and find some answers.
While reading up poetry for another fic I came across this luminous poet from Syria called Nizar Qabani. Some of his quotes were perfect for this story so I have gone back and added them to earlier chapters too. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I did :)
“My neglect of you is reprehensible, while your love is a duty
my longing is everlasting, while union is elusive
On the tablet of my heart, your love has been marked
my tears are the ink, and beauty is the writer”
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sherlock closed his eyes and tried to enter his Mind Palace for answers ….and was flooded with some kind of light on the inside. Those letters seem to have unlocked some deeply hidden recesses and he was almost overwhelmed by the data.
It was like expecting a serene black and white or sepia coloured silent film and being subjected to a wobbly home video in bright colours and fast forward and HD and it was too much…too much. Stop!!
He willed it to stop, rewind, slow down………slow down!
After five minutes of active control, he was able to go back in and start a cautious exploration.
A phenomenon called childhood amnesia means that we rarely remember much of what happened before we were 7 years old. But of course, such rules don’t apply to geniuses!
He went back to being 2 years old and viewed the scene, hovering over it with as much detachment as he could manage.
In every scene he could see, he was with Mycroft. On his lap, in his arms, on his shoulders. Father seemed away most often. Mummy did turn up once in a while in the peripheral way that children see their parents when they don’t actively need them. She was providing the meals, taking them out, getting them to go up to the bedroom after dinner, the usual routine.
But his world seemed to revolve around Mycroft and he looked carefully at Mycroft in his memories and realized from his expression that Mycroft’s world had revolved around him too.
He lingered on those scenes for a while, something soft and melting happening to his insides. He wasn’t the Ice Man….then why did he feel like he was thawing….
He went forward slowly …….till he turned 4 and something catastrophic seemed to be going on.
What was happening??!
Mummy seemed to have taken him to some neighbourhood playschool for a few hours. He was howling in distress as though he was being torn apart from limb to limb and finally when the teacher saw the other children getting upset by this spectacular tantrum, she had requested Mummy to take him back home.
As soon as he got home he had clung to Mycroft all that day and all that night, like a baby monkey, his entire skinny body trembling with terror and outrage at the attempted separation.
It had taken an entire week for him to move off Mycroft’s lap and be convinced that neither of them would vanish.
“Here, sit right next to me.” Mycroft had crooned, in a soothing voice, petting his wild curls. “I am not going anywhere. No one is going to take you away either. Ok? Here. Hold my hand, brother mine.”
“Mine.” The 4 year old Sherlock had chanted fiercely. “Mine. Mine. Mine.”
He saw the next scene where Mummy seemed to have taken him to the local child counsellor who had confirmed that her second child was also gifted with the clearly superior intelligence beyond the highest percentile and cautioned her that emotional maturity did not always catch up quickly with such individuals.
He saw them come back home and him go straight to Mycroft who took him to the library.
There must have been some discussions and decisions taken in his absence because the next scene was Mycroft telling him that he was to be home schooled now, so that he could be with Sherlock.
An idyllic period followed. Sherlock sitting in the library with Mycroft at all hours, discussions ranging from Aristotle’s theories of logic and deductive reasoning to Yeats’ poetry and from understanding fractals to supernovas. They learnt memory tricks and codes and deductions together. They studied the globe and anatomy textbooks, poisons and medicines.
Many times he was sitting upside down on the sofa with his head dangling down and legs up as Mycie held on to him, laughing at his mad antics. Many times he was sitting cross legged in front of his big brother in rapt attention as he learnt something new.
While Mycroft practised the piano, Sherlock had preferred the violin and they spent many happy hours playing and composing together.
They dressed up and acted in plays, played pirates, Sherlock climbed trees while Mycroft always stood warily underneath, always ready to catch him if he fell.
When he turned 8 his parents got him a dog. He named him Redbeard of course, after the famous pirate and he saw himself spending hours upon hours running behind him, playing with him, Mycie smiling at him indulgently as he read his books….always reading his books….how many facts were inside Mycroft’s brain anyway? A googol??
He saw himself turn 10 and for that milestone, Mycroft had sat him down and helped him construct a Mind Palace where he could separate the inputs, create archives for future reference, find calm places, shelters, answers. He helped him set out rooms and floors. Sherlock could see that he had loved the idea and had sat just like his Mycie, fingers steepled under his chin, serious expression on his face, eyes focussed in mid-air, scanning the facts, thoughts, ideas, results, people, patterns, codes, maps…..everything really.
For the people, he had wanted a room for Mummy of course and a smaller one for Father and Cook and everyone else at home. He had asked for a room for Uncle Rudy who was just about the only relative he could tolerate.
After a couple of days working on this finally Mycroft had asked him—“Lockie, don’t you want a room for me?”
Sherlock had given him a baffled look. “But you are the Mind Palace Mycie! It’s all you! You are everywhere.”
And Mycroft had looked at him like he was about to cry.
Sherlock wondered at that now and realized that this must have been just before he was to leave for college. Mycroft was helping him construct his Mind Palace so he would cope better while he was away.
He was getting a little impatient now. He knew all this. These were not unknown memories. Just hidden away….neglected….he still didn’t understand why.
But he had been aware of them at some point. Unlike the letters of course which was a new and devastating discovery. Mainly because of his having abandoned them the way he had felt abandoned by Mycie.
Now, as an adult he could look back and not just forgive Mycroft but be acutely aware of the fact that he too had been a child himself. Barely 18, more knowledgeable than an adult perhaps but emotionally still vulnerable. Alone. In an alien environment where no one cared for deductions. No one bothered about for facts or patterns. No one held his hand in possessiveness and no one shared food as a ritual. No one who needed him the way his baby brother had.
Poor Mycie he thought to himself. He wanted to reach out and pat him and say sorry.
A tear rolled down his cheek and he wiped it away. Unable to even feel bad about being so emotional.
He could hear Mycroft through the years, his axioms echoing in his brain….
Emotions are a chemical defect on the losing side.
Alone protects us.
All lives end. All hearts are broken.
Caring is not an advantage Sherlock.
He had taught Mycroft that.
Yes, he was quite sure now that it was he who had turned his big loving brother into an iceman…..
Somehow there was nothing much for the years when Mycroft was away and nothing at all for the year he came back. He would have been 23 and Sherlock 17.
He saw a few incidents where he was wandering around alone at home, hating his body that was changing and growing and making him restless and uneasy and he remembered sharply the desire to want to rip his skin open and escape.
He had started calling his body ‘The Transport’ in order to detach himself from it and its needs. With all the bravado and disdain that only a teenager could pull off he had declared that eating was boring.
But now he could read the thoughts as he saw himself refusing food (……I don’t want to eat without Mycie feeding me).
He saw himself playing the violin at night, loudly and saying Sleeping was a waste of time.
(……I don’t want to sleep without Mycie near me).
Life was pointless (……when Mycie wasn’t around).
But the next time he saw them together in his Mind Palace was when he had almost overdosed and Mycroft had turned up to save him.
What had happened before that?? Who would tell him? Who could he ask?
Sherlock lay curled up in the attic, wrapping the fleece around himself.
He realized that the only reason this was ‘home’ was because he had left his heart here. And that is why he never wanted to return alone. That is why he became so irritable and hated Christmas dinners.
But Mycroft obviously remembered everything and despite whatever it was that had happened he made sure he was always there for him.
And something MUST have happened because he simply could not get past the doors which led to the time after Mycroft returned from college.
What the hell had happened??
After many futile attempts at battering down those doors inside his head, he finally crept down from the attic, a dusty tearful mess, after midnight.
He didn’t even bothering going to his own room and spent the remainder of the night in Mycroft’s bedroom.
1. A googol is a 1 with a hundred zeroes behind it. The Google name itself is actually a misspelling of “googol.”
2. A couple of the memories have been re-purposed from my earlier fic called 'After he left the wedding early'. I am a bit of a Franken-writer that way :P taking pieces of my old stories and stitching them up into new ones!
Father and Mummy are churning their own oceans of memories. What will emerge ? Nectar or poison?
"In the summer, I stretch out on the shore and think of you. Had I told the sea what I felt for you, it would have left its shores, its shells, its fish, and followed me."
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Father finished typing, chose a date and time for publication for next week.
He always liked to plan ahead. Something he had learnt during his professional years. If the Scouts & Guides were all about being prepared, his people had always been about being perfect.
Nothing was ever to be left to chance.
So he clicked enter and waited till it was all uploaded and then started to shut the laptop down.
Mummy wandered in just then and picked up the pile of books lying on the bedside table. On her side. She asked, “Dear, what are these books doing here?”
“Oh sorry love, those books came in my bag by mistake. Probably Mrs. Robinson’s. I will take them back to the library tomorrow. Are you ok? You look a bit under the weather. Maybe you should drop in and see Dr Harrison tomorrow.”
“Yes, yes, I think I will.” She said distractedly as she flipped through the pile of books.
History of Rome, Remus and Romulus, Incest in the Roman Empire, Always Him, Let your heart Decide, His No Matter What.
Rather an eclectic collection she thought to herself. Roman Mythology cheek by jowl with bodice rippers. Hmmm. Mrs. Robinson was a rum one.
She flipped one book over to read the blurb.
[ I’m both nervous and excited about my big brother attending my college graduation.
I’ve always looked up to him, but something changed when I was about thirteen. He’d gone away to college and came home for Thanksgiving. Any lingering doubts about my sexuality vanished. It had just been a few months, but somehow he looked very different: older, hotter, more sophisticated.
I know I shouldn’t feel this way about my brother, and I swear I’ve tried to stop thinking of him in that way. But no guy I’ve been with has measured up to him. I haven’t seen him since before I started college, but I’ll never forget the way he looked at me that last time. It gave me hope that he might feel the same for me.
This weekend, I’m going to find out.]
She kept the books away but today some more memories were surfacing like bubbles in a vast churning ocean. In ancient Indian mythology the churning of the oceans had brought forth the nectar of immortality as well as poison…..which chalise would her memories fill?
After she went to sleep Father sat there and looked at her with adoring eyes.
She was still so beautiful.
He remembered the day he had first seen her, trying out for the role of Lady Macbeth at the Dramatics Club in Cambridge.
He had re-joined university after his studies had been interrupted by war two years earlier. Now he was reading philosophy and political science. But he had heard of her even before he saw her. It was difficult to ignore the buzz around the only woman in the advanced mathematics course!
And then he had seen her that day and had been smitten with her at first sight.
She had noticed him watching her, of course she had. But she had ignored him, eyes flashing, tossing her long dark brown hair, and swirling her coat around her flamboyantly, as she passed him in the corridor outside the rehearsal room.
Just the way he had seen Sherlock do he thought and shook his head with a smile. His younger son had inherited her temper, her genius and all her penchant for drama. He had also inherited her difficulty in dealing with emotions she did not understand.
He remembered how he had, wisely, kept his distance till the first rehearsal. They were all sitting around having drinks later that evening when she had finally deigned to talk to him.
“Malaysia or Korea?” she had asked him, her sharp blue eyes pinning him with her gaze like a captured butterfly.
“Korea,” he had said, astonished that she had any idea. “How did you know?”
“You are older than the other students here so I deduced that you must have lost a couple of years in one of the wars. Your shoes are the same design as the ones supplied to the overseas officers and you keep your hair much shorter than anyone else here.”
He had been so impressed. “Amazing!” He had said.
She had given him a naughty half-smile and said, “Also….I was working on the quantum key cryptography for the British Government at the time and I saw you in one of the offices before deployment.”
He had laughed at that. Brilliant and charming
She had asked him. “Not the armed forces though?”
“No.” he had said. “Just a minor official in the diplomatic services.”
She had huffed at that. “Diplomacy. Not one of my skills at all I am afraid.”
He had smiled. Obviously.
It had been the beginning of a wonderful journey.
Today he looked at her as she was sleeping, her hair fully white now, her eyes moving restlessly, possibly chasing a dream. Still wearing the wedding ring from fifty years ago. He rubbed her hand gently, not wanting to wake her up.
It had been the best decision of his life.
But it was time they had a talk. Before it was too late.
Perhaps tomorrow, once Sherlock left for London.
He was rather sure that he would leave for London tomorrow.
6. The British Army fought a war in Malaysia and one in Korea in the 1950s.
Visit here when the world no longer makes sense!
Visit here when the world no longer makes sense!
Welcome to this blog where you will find random musings on existentialist nihilism, conspiracy theories, and the occasional words of wisdom.
Monday: And how shall we change the world today?
This week’s question from confused07 is about polyamory, incest and other unconventional relationships.
It is widely believed that as people grow older they tend to get more conservative in their ideologies. But clearly that is not true for everyone. As I grow older I find myself pondering even more on the limitations we place on relationships and what good that can do to society.
So I found this book in our local library and read it. It is written by Carrie Jenkins, a philosophy professor at the University of British Columbia. The book is called ‘What Love Is: And What It Could Be.’
In it she says our concept of romantic love is too narrow, too exclusive, too “mono-normative.” She also says that “The fact that the social construct excludes me is not a reason to feel like I'm doing something wrong. It's a reason to challenge the social construct.”
I agree with her and would like to point out that marriage, monogamy, heteronormativity are all social constructs.
In fact Søren Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher who is best known for his views on existentialism, believed that a loving, committed relationship was how people became their best selves. He believed that, truth is not about discovering objective facts independent of lived experiences but truth is found in how an individual relates to those experiences. Basically, people are not meant to discover truth alone; they are meant to learn truth by relating to each other.
If three people love each other and it does not harm anyone else outside of their relationship, it makes no sense to me that we should consider it illegal or immoral.
Homosexuality continues to be criminalized in many parts of the world as ‘unnatural’ but the reality is that in nature, many animal species also express such behaviour and at the end of the day it is not a choice that people make. It is who they are.
Sexuality is a spectrum.
So it is not sane to expect that everyone will be crowded in the middle, isn’t it?
Incest laws exist primarily to protect younger family members from exploitation, and rightly so. Also in some cases for preventing genetic disorders being transmitted. But, for example, if two adult men were to love each other, and happened to be born as brothers, why would we want to deny them this happiness?
In fact the argument in some parts of Asia to support gay and lesbian marriages is that souls may be reborn in any gendered body but if they are soulmates why should our law prohibit them from being together? Perhaps not a scientifically rigorous argument but then love isn’t exactly rational either, is it?
But hey, that’s just me, the Sane One!
Wednesday Mid –Week Musings
The UK is about to become one of the world’s foremost surveillance states, allowing its police and intelligence agencies to spy on its own people to a degree that is unprecedented for a democracy. The legislation in question is called the Investigatory Powers Bill. UK spies will be empowered to hack individuals, internet infrastructure, and even whole towns — if the government deems it necessary.
What does this mean? It means that the government will keep a record of every website every citizen visits for up to a year, with this information also including the apps they use on their phone, and the metadata of their calls. Each Internet Service Provider (ISP) and mobile carrier in the UK will have to store this data, which the government will pay them to do.
There are a few ways this data could be muddied. For a start, services like VPNs and Tor, that bounce your internet traffic around the world, will be difficult to follow.
Hint: Go analogue! Write letters on paper! Of course someone may steam open the sealed envelopes but that needs many hours of privacy and it still means only one copy is available! Steaming open an envelope is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It's really easy, and, if done carefully, an envelope can be opened and re-sealed with a minimum of fuss.
Friday: Frugal hobbies for the weekend
Grow your own Garlic!
Garlic grows across the UK provided it is grown in a free draining soil that is not too acid and kept well -watered and weed free.
Unlike with human beings where the debate on nature vs nurture is still on, for a great crop of garlic it is important to start with quality seed. And once you have harvested the garlic, there are plenty of easy recipes you can use.
Garlic can also help with insomnia. The wife has been fussing over our boys for the past few months and all that worrying is getting in the way of a good night’s rest. Garlic contains zinc and high concentrations of sulfurous compounds like allicin, both of which naturally promote relaxation, helping you fall asleep faster.
So I have been giving her crushed garlic in milk mixed with some honey, and it has been helping!
Sherlock really wants to see Mycroft. NOW.
"I said nothing to the one I loved but gathered love's adjectives into a suitcase and fled from all languages." Nizar Qabbani
The next morning Sherlock woke up, feeling wrecked and exhausted.
He crawled out of bed, brushed his teeth and went downstairs, stopping in a panic halfway down and listening out for any more unwanted strangers he might need to face.
He was poised there almost in mid- flight when Father came by.
“Good morning Sherlock. Would you like a cup of tea? Mummy has just baked some scones for you.” He smiled. ”Oh and there are no friendly neighbourhood guests inside the house today. So don’t worry! Come along!”
Sherlock grimaced in gratitude at this good news and followed him into the kitchen. He looked at the dining table and Mycroft’s empty chair next to his and suddenly didn’t want to sit there at all. He looked around and pulled himself up on the countertop and sat there just as Mummy bustled in, in a hurry as always.
“Oh Sherlock dear.” she said and smiled and came and patted him on the cheek. “It’s been decades since I have seen you sitting like this!”
She turned around and spoke to Father, even as she wore her oven mitts and got the warm scones out. “You were never around much in those days but Sherlock would always be in the kitchen! He would sit like this and insist on being fed by Myke. It put him at an equal height with him you see. Poor Myke. He used to indulge all your whims.” she said, shaking her head fondly.
“I think half the weight he put on was in trying to get you to eat and then finishing all your leftovers! Don’t think I didn’t notice!!” she said, mock brandishing the butter knife at him as she sliced the scones and put generous amounts of butter and strawberry jam on the plate.
Sherlock just sat and blinked at her like a goldfish, thinking of all those times when he had teased Mycroft about his weight.
Did childhood always cast such long shadows into everyone’s lives?
Just then the landline phone rang.
Father went to answer it and came back a minute later with the handset.
Mummy was feeding Sherlock a scone and smiling.
“Mycroft.” Father said as he gave her the phone.
Sherlock’s heart started to flutter. He waved his hand in front of his face and then put his finger to his lips. He didn’t want Mycie to know he was here.
Mummy handed him the plate of scones, wiped her hands on her apron, took the phone, looked at Sherlock and nodded.
Sherlock sat there, eating and listening to the one-sided conversation.
“Yes dear. I am fine. A bit tired.”
“Yes, yes, I will go see Dr. Harrison on Monday.”
“A bit busy today. Yes dear I know. Thank you.”
“Are you well? How was your mission?”
“Good to know that. Get some rest this weekend.”
“Yes, you should. In fact don’t just call him, go visit him.”
“Yes dear at Baker Street… where else? No, no. He hasn’t done anything.”
“It’s just that…well maybe I am getting old Myke.” and she sighed and sat down on a chair. “But I worry about you. Constantly. Both of you. I want to see you happy.”
“Yes, I am sure you are.” and she actually rolled her eyes. “The British Government is everyone’s ideal companion obviously. Should we expect a happy announcement this week??”
“Sorry dear, I didn’t mean to be snippy.”
“Yes dear. When you meet Sherlock give him my love, will you. Bye dear.”
She looked at Sherlock and saw something in his eyes that wasn’t there yesterday.
There was a vulnerability. A hesitation. A question.
Something …… she hadn’t seen in decades.
It almost took her breath away.
Which chalice would her memories fill? Immortal nectar…or poison?
She steadied herself and said, “Sherlock I think you should go back to London now. Thank you for coming down but Father and I will manage the attic. I just wanted to see you……..And when you see Mycroft….tell him I said (sorry?!) ….tell him I send my love.”
She fed him another bite of the scone, and then kissed him and left the kitchen through the passage.
Sherlock just sat there, still eating, unsure of what to do.
Father had been watching from the garden door and came back in and patted him on the shoulder.
“You are a good boy.” He said enigmatically. “Both of you are. Have a safe journey back.”
Why were both of them so keen on sending him back?!!
But he didn’t argue. He heart wasn’t in this visit any more.
Now that he knew Mycroft was back and in London, that is where he wanted to be.
Mummy churns through her own ocean of memories.
“Should another give you a cloud, I give you rain. Should he give you a lantern, I will give you the moon. Should he give you a branch, I will give you the trees. And if another gives you a ship, I shall give you the journey."
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Is Sherlock ok?” Father asked Mummy later. “He left in an odd mood.”
“That child has been in an odd mood since he was born!” Mummy remarked with a huff, though it was a fond huff.
She looked at her husband of 50 years and smiled.
She had no idea what she had done to deserve this wonderful man.
She remembered the first time she had seen him at the Dramatics Club. He had radiated an aura of understated confidence that she had found very attractive ….and so of course she had promptly ignored him. She had a reputation as the Ice Queen for a reason !
But he had been patient and behaved like a gentleman and eventually she had thawed.
After the very first long conversation they had it had been obvious to her that he was someone she would like to spend the rest of her life with. But she had plans, she had a roadmap for the future, she had responsibilities.
So she had explained to him that her studies and her work would be a priority. She may have used the term “married to my work.” which had made him smile. He understood the sentiment rather well himself!
Her parents were not too well off and they had not sent her to college to ‘fool around’ as she put it. She was the only woman in her advanced maths class and she did not need any emotional attachments or any complications weighing her down, she had told him.
He had accepted every condition and had told her that he would wait. They would wait.
“No fooling around’ he had said, with his slow smile, hands clasped behind his back.
Then in 1961 a revolutionary medicine called The Pill was introduced in the UK on the NHS --but for married women only.
She assessed the situation and the next time they met she proposed to him. They had waited long enough and it was obvious that they were going to get married at some point, so why not now?
She was in the midst of some extremely exciting developments for a globally connected electronic data transfer system, tentatively being called the World Wide Web. The Computer Scientist she was working with (Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee) had been very encouraging and had given her the lead for her own team.
They also had a new Maths Professor who had come over from Ireland, Professor James Moriarty Sr. He was a brilliant man but for some reason had set himself up as a rival to Sir Timothy and his team was being ruthlessly driven to work overtime in order to be the first ones to launch the Web.
Not on my watch she had thought when she heard about it.
Although she simply had to work harder at this stage, she did not want to postpone marriage much longer, and the Pill seemed to be the perfect answer.
So they had made brief phone calls to inform their parents and received their blessings. Then they had had a small, quiet ceremony at the Cambridge Register Office.
His brother Rudyard had caused a minor flutter by turning up in a morning suit but a fancy ladies hat. Her newly minted husband had introduced him as Lady Bracknell and the few wedding photos they had showed all of them in various stages of jolly laughter.
When the World Wide Web was finally launched by Sir Tim Bernard-Lee’s team, she had decided to plan for her first child.
They had named their son Mycroft (since her husband simply would not allow her to call him ‘Macbeth’ in memory of the first time they met and this was equally Shakespearean sounding and unique!).
She would take her baby with her to the computer labs so she could continue the work. As a result he learnt computer languages, encryption and pattern identification almost at the same time as he picked up the alphabet.
Some years later, when the Queen of England sent one of the first ever emails via ARPANET, in 1973, she decided it was time to take a break, have another child and raise them both.
By this time it was obvious that Mycroft was on his way to becoming a genius like her, but with the added advantage of his father’s diplomatic skills. She had taught him everything she knew and in a few years he had surpassed his teacher and eventually been a teacher to Sherlock.
Sherlock. Her second born child.
Almost an identical copy of her personality and brilliance but with very little influence of his father’s diplomacy. By this time his father had become far too busy at work and she found herself raising the children single- handedly.
So there was that nature-nurture debate to consider, she often thought with a sigh. Maybe if he had had more time with his father he may have been more disciplined, more tactful and with a greater capacity for following the rules….
Sherlock was as difficult as Mycroft had been easy and if it wasn’t for the fact that her older son’s entire universe seemed to revolve around the younger one, she would have lost her mind trying to raise him.
She had tried sending him to playschool when he was 4 and that spectacular BAFTA worthy tantrum that Sherlock had thrown had resulted in even Mycroft being home- schooled from that point onwards! Not that Myke had ever complained. In fact he seemed to want nothing better than to spend even more time with Sherlock.
She herself was an only child and her husband’s brother wore women’s clothes…… As for other people….well, she had never really been very good with humans….so it was a little tricky to know what passed for ‘normal’ in terms of sibling relationships.
However, she had continued working for MI6 on short assignments and her husband did not know about that (of course!) , so if Mycroft kept Sherlock busy and out of trouble, she had not wanted to rock the boat.
Then eventually Mycroft had had to leave for college and Sherlock had thrown basically the same tantrum as the playschool one. Thankfully a more silent one, but one which had lasted for almost five years.
He had ignored Mycroft-- as though he had deleted him. He had stopped eating or sleeping properly. And that violin….if she hadn’t often been awake at odd times doing her assignment work, she would have sent the boy away to a boarding school! She loved him very much, she did, but she simply could not figure out how to manage him.
Finally Mycroft finished college. Under his father’s guidance he had been offered and had taken up a position in the British Government that had great potential for the future.
It was 1985.
Mycroft had returned after his first year in his new job, looking so dashing and sophisticated, and clearly doing as brilliantly as she had come to expect of him.
They had invited the Scott-Thomases and the Bonham-Carters as well as the Knightleys and the Beaumans, the Fortescues and the Curzons for the dinner party in celebration of all his successes.
That is how it was done in those days-- if one didn’t find one’s own partner by a certain age, you mingled with potential partners of your parents’ choosing and then hopefully you would find the right person to spend the rest of your life with.
Except when you already had someone who wanted to claim you, apparently.
As she had found out to her shock and fury.
After the dinner party she had been looking for Mycroft and had found him just beyond the pool of light on the west porch, pushed against the wall and being kissed by Sherlock like he was going to consume him.
“Mine!” he was saying between kisses.
She had been outraged and beside herself with anger.
Now she wondered what exactly had made her so furious.
Was it because she suspected Sherlock was doing this to punish Mycroft for having left him to go to college?
Was it because she could see that Mycroft would still indulge Sherlock even if it ruined his own life?
Was it the fear that some lingering guest from the party would find them?
She had pulled Sherlock off and told him to stay away from Mycroft. She had also yelled at Mycroft and told him to not be an idiot and throw away a perfectly good life that lay ahead of him.
Had she over-reacted?
Surely not….After all it WAS only 1985!
Even gay relationships were taboo, and this? This was so much worse.
Father had not said a word in disagreement. He knew that she had raised them almost single-handedly and he accepted her decision about them as final.
As if any other decision had been possible?!!
But ever since then Mycroft had steadfastly refused to consider any alliance. Eventually he had told her he did not want to be with a woman, and she told him that social norms had changed enough to allow him a male partner. But he had still refused.
Alone protects me he had said.
Now she wondered if this was his own way of letting her know that he would not choose a partner while Sherlock stayed single?
Sherlock seemed to have locked up that memory and then thrown away the key but she knew that Mycroft remembered it all only too well.
Sherlock had then moved to London soon after and scaled up his tantrums to a whole new dramatic level by doing drugs and almost killing himself. Mycroft had taken care of him, as much as he could, while maintaining his distance.
Fate had brought that wonderful Detective Inspector into his life and eventually Sherlock had stayed clean for the sake of solving cases.
She knew that many people thought he was in a romantic relationship with his flat mate but she had never believed that. She had seen what Sherlock was like when passionate about something and this was not it.
She knew that he was as alone as Mycroft.
She herself never really understood humans. Or their emotions. Or their weird made up rules.
Mathematics was better. 2+2 was always 4. Never 11 or 202.
She didn’t believe in the soulmate theory because there was no mathematical logic to it. After all the human population had grown exponentially and like the Malthusian theory, if the number of people had gone from 1 million to 7 million where had those extra souls come from and if one accepted rebirth then………wait where was she…….oh yes. Soulmates.
She had seen how Sherlock was (and always would be) the centre of Mycroft’s universe. She had seen how Sherlock behaved badly towards him now but she knew that he would do anything for Mycroft if it was really needed.
She wondered what her husband would think of her growing conviction that there was probably no one suited for her boys…….besides each other.
Better not to let their father know. He had enough troubles with Rudy and their entire eccentric Holmes lot while growing up. The last thing he needed was to find out that their sons were…….well whatever they were.
Those library books that Mrs. Robinson was reading seemed to indicate that perhaps at least two grown brothers in a relationship may not be as much of a taboo in the years to come....
1. When the Pill was launched in the NHS in the UK it was available only for married women. This changed in 1967. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/sep/12/health.medicineandhealth
2. In the original stories Moriarty is categorised by Holmes as an extremely powerful criminal mastermind who is purely adept at committing any atrocity to perfection without losing any sleep over it. It is stated in The Final Problem that Moriarty does not directly participate in the activities he plans, but only orchestrates the events.
Holmes described Moriarty as follows:
He is a man of good birth and excellent education, endowed by nature with a phenomenal mathematical faculty. At the age of twenty-one he wrote a treatise upon the binomial theorem which has had a European vogue. On the strength of it, he won the mathematical chair at one of our smaller universities, and had, to all appearances, a most brilliant career before him. But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood, which, instead of being modified, was increased and rendered infinitely more dangerous by his extraordinary mental powers. Dark rumours gathered round him in the University town, and eventually he was compelled to resign his chair and come down to London. He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organiser of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city...
— Holmes, "The Final Problem"
3. Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS, also known as TimBL, is an English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web
4. Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/03/22/when-was-the-internet-invented-7408002/?ito=cbshare
5. 1895 is an important year for Sherlockians.
It was the year that Oscar Wilde was jailed for being gay.
It was also the year Conan Doyle tried to kill off Holmes at the end of his second story collection. Public outcry was so strong, with people wearing black armbands and boycotting the newspaper where the stories had been published, that he was eventually forced to bring him back to life!
There is also this famous poem which may be known to most Sherlockians which ends with
So they still live for all that love them well:
in a romantic chamber of the heart,
in a nostalgic country of the mind,
where it is always 1895.
Hence I thought it would be fun to have Mummy reference 1985 cos it’s the same set of numbers and the universe is rarely so lazy!
Sherlock takes a leap into the unknown and discovers that it is not the fall but the landing that can kill.
I knew when I said I love you
that I was inventing a new alphabet
for a city where no one could read
that I was saying my poems in an empty theatre
and pouring my wine for those who could not taste it.
— Nizar Qabbani
As Sherlock had expected, Mycroft called him that evening.
“Hello brother mine.” He said in that calm voice of his. “You were not home this morning but I was wondering if I could drop in and see you later today?”
“What for Mycroft? If your surveillance showed you where I was, you should also know that I am clean, with no active cases ongoing and not in any kind of trouble. Why would you want to bother with a visit?” is what he would have said to him last week, snarkily.
In fact he heard the words in his head, like a well-rehearsed play--- one of those bitter ones with dysfunctional tortured relationships, where the audience is weeping since Act One Scene One and critics give it high praise as one which holds up a mirror to society.
He took a deep breath and knew that he had to give a new script a try.
“Hello Mycroft.” He said. “In fact I want to come and meet you. If I leave now I can be there in half an hour.”
“Oh ok. Sure.” Mycroft said, very puzzled now. “Is everything ok Sherlock?”
“Yes and no.” he said cryptically.
Half an hour later he stood at the doorstep of Mycroft’s house and rang the bell.
Mycroft let him in and said with one eyebrow raised. “You actually rang the bell instead of trying to break in? Now I am really worried!”
He let him in and closed the door.
Sherlock didn’t reply but just stood there, not having realized how much the sight of the writer of those letters would affect him. And then, without even removing his coat, he went right up to Mycroft and hugged him.
Mycroft almost fell over backwards because he was too startled by this gesture.
It took him just a second to recover and he hugged him back, tentatively, unable to allow himself the luxury of even sinking into this divine feeling of his beloved brother, in his arms.
How his arms had ached over the decades….how much he had missed this….this connection.
But he could feel his own heart rate speeding up with worry.
Not counting the drug overdose and rehab episodes, the last time his brother had touched him voluntarily and with affection was…..exactly 13 years, four months and two days ago.
But the separation had started even before that, ever since he left for college and it had been two decades of empty arms with no warm little brother squirming in them. Two decades of a lonely bed with no skinny body wriggling its way under his blanket and digging cold toes into his thighs and ticking his face with his wild curly hair. Two decades of sad meals eaten all alone with no one to feed with a smile.
He blinked to stop the tears as an avalanche of emotions was unleashed inside him. He needed to stay strong for Sherlock because clearly something really big had gone very wrong. Their heads rested on each other’s shoulders now and he could feel Sherlock shaking.
“What happened Lockie?” he asked him softly, patting his hands soothingly down his back, the childhood name slipping out before he could realize. “Sorry. Sherlock.” he said, correcting himself.
“No, no please, Mycie.” Sherlock said breathlessly through his tears still clutching him so tight as though he would fall apart otherwise. “Please call me Lockie. I am sorry. I am so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?”
“What has happened Sherlock?” Mycroft asked, genuinely panicking now. “What have you done??!”
He forced them to separate so he could see Sherlock’s face, to deduce, to understand what was going on.
Sherlock looked at him and answered with a watery laugh. “Don’t worry, I haven’t killed anyone. May have just exhumed some things buried a long time ago………..”
Mycroft blinked, for once completely in the dark about what was happening.
“Come sit,” he said. “Let me make you a cup of tea.”
He tried to go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea but Sherlock wouldn’t let him go.
Finally he held his hand and led him to the kitchen and made him sit down. He put the kettle to boil and turned around to see that Sherlock had left the chair and was sitting on the countertop.
Mycroft stood frozen to the spot, a packet of biscuits in his hand, washed over with fond memories.
“Mycie?” Sherlock was saying. “Will you feed me a biscuit?”
Mycroft fed him, every nibble flooding him with memories, as he struggled to maintain his composure though he was reeling inside.
Two decades since he had had the pleasure of doing this. What could possibly have happened to trigger this regression?
He made tea and they took it to the living room, sat on the sofa and drank it in complete silence. It was, oddly enough, a comfortable silence although Mycroft was searching in his Mind Palace for all the possible reasons for this behaviour.
Then Sherlock kept his cup down and cleared his throat and said, “I want to stay with you for a few days…if…if that is alright?”
“Yes of course it is Sherlock!” Mycroft replied. Then he hesitated but he had to ask. “Have you had a disagreement with Dr. Watson??”
“No. I just …I want to spend time with you.” Softly he added. “I miss you. I miss Mycie.”
“Are you having an early mid- life crisis Sherlock??” Mycroft asked, smiling, trying to keep the conversation light, offering his brother the chance to step back, regroup if he wanted to and go back to being the way they were.
He felt like the chain of climbers on Mount Everest, all tied to each other. One false move and they could all go down the abyss. He was attempting to hold on to the safety rope that was keeping them both from falling.
Easy now, easy, stay on the track…
Sherlock blinked and looked so lost that Mycroft’s heart broke.
He could not do this anymore. He had always chanted All lives end. All hearts are broken. It was entirely one thing to believe in it when it was his own heart he was breaking.
But to hurt Sherlock? To see his baby brother’s heart break??? It would never happen.
“Sorry Lockie. I didn’t mean to ……I was joking. I am sorry. Come here?” He offered, patting the space next to him on the sofa.
They sat quietly next to each other for a while, in the deepening twilight. Then Sherlock turned to his side to face Mycroft, curled his legs up and slowly slid his hand towards his brother. Mycroft took it and held it gently, stroking his palm.
Sherlock was utterly undone at that touch.
“I am sorry Mycie.” he said, as tears fell down his cheeks.
“Hush baby, what happened?” Mycroft said tenderly, wiping his tears away.
“All those letters you wrote to me from college…….I never read them Mycie. I am so sorry. I broke your heart. Can you forgive me?”
“Come here Lockie. I had no idea you never read them. I thought you just didn’t bother to reply. You were barely 11. There is nothing to forgive.” He moved closer so that Sherlock could cuddle in and he put his arm around his shoulder and patted him and soothed him.
“Is that why you always said ‘caring is not an advantage’? Did I make you the way you are?” Sherlock asked, his voice sounding broken.
Mycroft was silent for a while, contemplating. “I think we both made each other brother mine. And the world around us did the rest……..But how did you find the letters now?”
“Well, while you were gone Mummy asked me to come down and clear the attic.”
Mycroft’s eyebrows almost flew off his face. “She did what?!! And you went?? Alone??”
“Wow. I am surprised you didn’t set fire to the whole thing….”
“I wanted to.” Sherlock confessed with a sullen expression. “I hated being there. I don’t like being there without you Mycie.” I don’t like being anywhere without you.
Mycroft was silent, tracing slow circles on Sherlock’s arm, unsure of what to say.
Sherlock took a deep breath and decided that it was now or never. “What happened when you came back from college Mycie? Why can’t I remember anything? Why did we grow apart?”
Mycroft looked at him thoughtfully. “Do you remember when I taught you how to build your Mind Palace? Well I also taught you how to lock some things away and how to delete some things. You learnt everything so well but it needs to be done with care Lockie. Delicately even. Like a surgery. Not torch it all with a flame thrower like you did.” He explained with a wry smile.
“Can you help me unlock it? Find those memories?”
“Are you sure you want to Sherlock? Sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. You are clean now. You have a good friend who is also your work partner and flatmate. You have so much to look forward to. Forget the past. Make a wonderful new future for yourself. Be happy.” Mycroft suggested mildly.
“How about you help me remember and then I decide if I want to lock them away again? How do know that a phoenix will not rise from these ashes?”
“If you insist brother mine.” Mycroft said, with a sigh.
Sherlock looked at him curiously. “Have you ever said no to me for anything Mycie?”
Mycroft pretended not to have heard that.
“Can we have dinner first Sherlock? And then I will walk you back through the locked doors.”
Mycroft is eating, talking and feeding Sherlock while one part of his brain was busy storing these memories in the Mind Palace for a future date.
When things went wrong again….as the surely would…..he needed to have these to savour and to cherish and revisit.
While all this was going on at two levels, a third deeper level in the high security areas of his Mind Palace was holding a cabinet meeting.
I have concealed my love for you, it concealed me in grief until it was almost as if I was concealed from myself by my life
Mycroft’s housekeeper had cooked dinner for him and as always she had been more optimistic about his appetite. He couldn’t remember the last time he had finished the huge portions she always left for him. Fortunately he had someone to eat it with today.
He warmed up the food and set the table.
Sherlock sat at the corner across from him but said he wasn’t hungry. Mycroft just nodded, started eating and asked Sherlock how their parents were.
“The same.” he said with some mandatory eye rolling.
After a pause he asked “When I was four Mummy sent me to playschool and I cried my heart out didn’t I?”
“Yes”, Mycroft said shaking his head. “According to her you cried so loudly she was surprised I didn’t hear you in my school four miles away!”
“I didn’t want to be separated from you.”
“I know.” Mycroft nodded, and filled a spoon with the risotto and fed Sherlock as he spoke. Sherlock opened his mouth, probably not even consciously aware that he was doing it. Mycroft remembered the day and that Sherlock had clung to him for almost a week after that and the bone deep joy he had felt at holding him close.
“I didn’t like to be separated from you either. I just didn’t have the option of throwing a mega tantrum.” he said with a wry smile.
Wasn’t that his entire life in a nutshell? Sherlock thought. Mycroft had never had the option or the luxury to rebel. He wasn’t a pushover by any standards but he had always coloured within the lines. While Sherlock was more likely to Jackson Pollock the entire paper and leave.
Mycroft had always been the perfect son, perfect brother, perfect agent, perfect diplomat…perfect everything.
When did he ever let go?
Did he ever let go?
Sherlock realized with a rising tide of shame that he had never thought of what Mycroft did to relax. Did he ever relax? Who looked after him when he was unwell? Or unhappy? Or just…alone …maybe even lonely.
At this thought Sherlock was on the brink of tears again.
How could he have been so blind? So cruel?
He was wondering what he would do if Mycroft refused to help him unlock those memories. He needed to know what had happened. Somehow those memories were absolutely critical to who he was. This much he was convinced of. He was going to make this happen. He hoped that he wouldn’t have to engage in a battle of wits or will with Mycroft over this. That was not a battle he was ever likely to win.
So as Mycroft ate dinner they spoke of this and that.
They spoke about the hours they spent in the library and the Christmas dinners where they would deduce all their relatives. And the year when Sherlock was eight and had drunk some wine and gone all tipsy. Mycroft had been frantic that Mummy would find out and scold him because he was supposed to keep Sherlock out of trouble! So he had smuggled him upstairs and sat up almost all night watching him sleep so he could make sure he was breathing!
Sherlock reminded him of the time when a particularly idiotic cousin had teased Mycroft and Sherlock had flown at him in a rage and had bitten him on his stomach. “Don’t trouble my Mycie” he had yelled at him.
Mycroft smile fondly at that and reached out with his left hand without thinking and ruffled Sherlock’s hair.
Just like that, some invisible barricades dissolved. Some country borders were redrawn.
They laughed over these memories and when Mycroft served himself a second helping Sherlock was about to tease him for it when he suddenly realised that he was the one who had eaten everything! Mycroft had been feeding him and he hadn’t even noticed because it had been so natural…..He noticed also that he was feeling not only full but satisfied. As though his very soul had been nourished. His transport was content and he let out a sigh of deep satisfaction
Mycroft smiled again. One more precious jewel to store in his treasure chest.
Mycroft had been managing the entire conversation fluidly and also smoothly feeding Sherlock while one part of his brain was busy storing these memories in the Mind Palace for a future date.
When things went wrong again….as the surely would…..he needed to have these to savour and to cherish and revisit.
While all this was going on at two levels, a third deeper level in the high security areas of the Mind Palace was holding a cabinet meeting.
To debate whether he should really help Sherlock unlock the memories.
What good would it do to either of them??
If Sherlock knew what he had done and felt ashamed of it or repulsed by it, Mycroft was not sure he could survive that kind of rejection.
He had survived all these years only because he knew, without a doubt, he knew that at least at that moment in time, on that evening his Sherlock had loved him.
Loved him back.
After all his own love for Sherlock had been the one true certainty of his entire life. Sometimes he believed that he had loved him from before he was born. On certain lonely nights when he was travelling outside London and had had a couple of drinks, some part of his brain could convince him that he had loved him in previous lifetimes and multiple universes….and offered him hope that maybe in some future lifetime they could be together.
Did he have the strength to survive the shattering of all that if the memories unlocked turned all this to ashes?
Perhaps Mummy’s intuition had been right ….
But surely Sherlock had loved him even before that kiss. Without a doubt. And fiercely and possessively.
“Mine” had been his first word, much to Mummy’s amusement, and Sherlock had been looking at a proudly beaming Mycroft when he had said that.
Mycroft had loved him in a deep and primal way which encompasses all labels while being incapable of being labelled.
He had been the one constant in a life journey that had seen Mycroft leave home, go to college, join the secret service and evolve into a consummate diplomat. He had walked this arduous path alone. Stumbling only when Sherlock seemed determined to kill himself with drugs. He had debated bitterly and long with himself about telling him what had happened and why he was reacting like this and to stop Please stop this Sherlock…… But he couldn’t do that without reminding him if that evening and he was determined not to.
So he had stood by and watched D.I Lestrade and the cases ease his pain. And then Dr. Watson who had come as his flatmate and the way they had slipped into an easy camaraderie. His heart had been gladdened that Sherlock was not as lonely and alone as he was but he also hated this life where anyone else could be Sherlock’s companion but him.
But the memory of that kiss and the promise of that love had kept him going……and now? Was he really expected to just watch as Sherlock may kick down that house of cards he had built for himself? The one where he would often meet Sherlock and hold him and touch him and kiss him. He never dared go beyond a kiss. The Kiss.
That Kiss. Sherlock had kissed him as if he wanted to consume him. Possess him.
Didn’t he know that Mycroft was already his?
The last time Mycroft had touched him was the night before he had left for college. He had heard Sherlock sobbing in his room and waited for him to come to his bedroom. When he realized he wasn’t going to, Mycroft had gone to him.
“Go AWAY!” Sherlock had shouted angrily.
Mycroft had understood that correctly to mean exactly the opposite and had gone and stood there, his own heart breaking as he watched his beloved brother weep. He wanted to weep too but never had the luxury to do so. He had sat on the bed and put his hand on Sherlock’s back. Instantly the boy had twisted up and almost fallen on his lap and hugged him and cried even more bitterly.
Mycroft knew that he had not forgiven him for that abandonment. How could he blame him when had barely forgiven himself for leaving that day?!
And he knew that today if Sherlock rejected him after remembering what had happened, it was nothing more than what he deserved.
Dinner was done and Mycroft cleared the table.
When they left for the living room, Sherlock came close and held his hand as naturally as though they did this every day.
Mycroft was terrified. How would they see each other in the outside world again and not hold hands?
He was going to miss this.
Like a child on a beach filled with jewels he was picking and preserving every moment.
When they sat down on the sofa, he tentatively he reached out and ruffled Sherlock’s hair again. He was going to be just a tiny bit greedy today. This much he was going to allow himself. Like a man wandering a desert for two decades had glimpsed a mirage and found it to be a real oasis. He wasn’t sure if he would survive drinking it all up. But before it vanished again, he needed to fill himself up with as much as he could.
Sherlock had asked if he had ever said no to him.
The answer was Yes. Unfortunately yes, he had. But to something that Sherlock hadn’t even asked for really. Just assumed and claimed.
And he would have allowed him to. He really would have.
Despite every social sanction and even the law against them. He would have found a way. He would have wanted to.
But that day, as a 23 year old standing there with his 17 year old brother and his furious mother and a house that had just been emptied of people from their social circle, it had seemed like a very unrealistic desire.
And when Mummy had made him promise he hadn’t been able to argue. But he had made sure he stayed single. Waiting. For the day when things could be different. If Sherlock still wanted it. He was willing to wait forever.
Meanwhile deep inside his Mind Palace a very serious meeting was being held between three members of the inner circle. The innermost circle.
Mycroft the Brain was standing there, alone, looking outside the largest window. He was wearing his three- piece suit and a long black coat over it. His hands were encased in the black leather gloves. He stood there, looking out at the entire world laid out in front of him and pensively held the cigarette to his lips and smoked.
Mycroft the Conscience sat in a corner and from his small window he could see Sherlock and his parents. Sherlock was in the forefront, a small 11 year old boy with wild curly hair and an impish grin. His parents stood in the back ground, old and worried.
Mycroft the Spirit hovered uncertainly over both of them, worried and consumed as always by the debate of weighing Sherlock against the rest of the world.
But today all three Mycrofts were in various stages of distress.
Because there was one more Mycroft who they were all terrified of. So terrified that in fact they had kept him locked up for two decades. In isolation, shackled by his arms and legs. He had been imprisoned for life and the order had been signed and sealed.
There would be no pardon. No reprieve.
There had been a cuddle on the sofa and some of the shackles had fallen off. A ruffling of hair and some more shackles had melted away.
Now Mycroft the Heart was standing at the window of his prison cell looking out at them. He had a red beard, and wild curly hair, and a hesitant soft smile.
The other three refused to turn around and make eye contact because they feared the disappearance of the entire universe as they knew it, if they let him out.
He was the Most Dangerous Man in the Kingdom of Mycroft.
The emergency cabinet session had been called but not a word was being said. Mycroft the Brain usually dealt with everything. He had not spoken to Mycroft the Heart in so long that all the words he knew were rusty with misuse.
But today it seemed that they did not even need words.
What would happen if they opened that door? From there led the road to hell….Mycroft the Brain thought.
Or it could be heaven…. Mycroft the Spirit whispered.
Mycroft the Brain knew that like Schrodinger’s cat the only way to really know was to open and look………but if it led to hell he would not be able to turn back and close it again.
He wanted to scream and rage against the sky.
Was he going to be forced to oversee the destruction of his carefully constructed house of cards??
In deepening frustration, he allowed himself a deeper drag of the cigarette. As he blew the smoke out there was the unmistakable sound of more shackles falling off and the slow creak of the prison door opening.
He knew even without turning around that that the Heart had taken charge of the control panels and that the battle was lost.
But still he stood there and waited, like a good General. He would never give up the battle till his last breath.
Maybe Sherlock would not remember anything? Maybe he would not remember enough?
All he could pray for was that if he did remember he would not hate his Mycie for what had happened.
Mycroft takes the plunge and helps Sherlock unlock his memories.
Nectar or poison....a dead cat or a live one...reality or the Matrix......heaven or hell?
You will never know until you take the first step through the door.
“Sit comfortably in the thinking position Sherlock.” Mycroft guided him. “Walk down as close to the memory as you can. Tell me what you see…. Ok, that sounds like a perception filter…….so walk around to the other side and check for ……….Now follow that chain of images till…….yes, and listen out for the sounds…….do you hear anything?”
“Mine!” Sherlock said suddenly, eyes still closed.
Mycroft felt the cold dark pit of fear open up inside him. He would have sunk down if he wasn’t already sitting.
They were close now…so close…this was the endgame…how was it all going to end for him….for them??
Keeping his voice steady he continued to guide Sherlock. And a couple of hours later, the doors had been unlocked. Gently, cautiously, as though negotiating an old warzone littered with land mines, Sherlock made his way through them.
Ten long minutes passed.
Mycroft the Brain had started preparing the prison once again. This time he was going make sure that the Heart was locked away and sealed for good. Maybe he would build a wall to permanently bury him. He was angry with himself. He should have stayed strong and never allowed the Heart out. Than man had been nothing but trouble his whole life.
Sherlock’s eyes were still closed and he started reciting, like a live commentary, but in a dreamy voice as though he was not fully awake.
“I had not spoken to you when you came back from college. I had not spoken to you for five years. Six years. But that evening you came into my room anyway and said hello and asked me about school and my studies. I didn’t respond to anything.
“Sherlock?” you said softly. “Will you please forgive me for leaving? You know I had to don’t you? I am back now. And you…..look at you! So grown up and beautiful…….and brilliant…..but you are still my Lockie. You will always be. Can we …can we be us again? You and me…together.”
I had been unable to speak. Nothing to say in response. Maybe I wanted to but I didn’t know what to say.
So you finally left and went to your own room.
I watched you leave and had a strange churning inside me…….I was uncomfortable because I was actually happy to see you and to know that you were back. But it had been so long since I had spoken to you that I didn’t know how to. I had lost the words we said to each other.
I wanted to stop you from leaving my room. I wanted to stop time……and maybe even go back five years and never let you leave.
I may not have talked to you that day but the truth was that I had spoken to you every single day. Two thousand one hundred and ninety days….In my Mind Palace. I told you things, I asked for your opinion. I …even argued with you. I came to you every time I was troubled. You were always there.
You were my comfort, my sanctuary, my safe space. I could deal with the world because you were with me……
I had missed the real you of course but I had never felt that we were not together.
I didn’t look at you directly the entire time that you were in my room….but your voice, your presence in my room….it was making my head spin. It was overwhelming…..after such a long absence to encounter you……in your wholeness….
When you came out from your room some time later, you had showered and changed into a dinner suit. I could smell you….the bath soap and your cologne….. and I was watching you from a small gap in my door. I saw you on the landing. You hesitated and looked at my room and then went down the stairs.
As I stood there, looking at the space where you had been and now were not…….that uncomfortable feeling crystallized into something I had only read about.
Never experienced before. Never expected to experience ever.
I realized that I was in love with you.
I had no other way to define what I was feeling.
I didn’t know what to do with that information. I was restless.
At the dinner it was obvious that this was a matchmaking exercise. All those young women were being introduced to you. They were all smiling. Of course they were. You were the most eligible bachelor they could hope to meet. Sophisticated, handsome, brilliant and with a promising career ahead of you.
I didn’t care about them.
What twisted a knife in my gut was that you were smiling at them, making small talk, saying witty things.
And then one of them said something back and you laughed. That was the final twist of the knife. Suddenly the future was so obvious.
You were going to be with someone else. Forever. And she was going to make you happy.
You were going to marry someone and move away and we would meet for Christmas dinners, maybe…….. and then eventually you would drift away permanently.
There would be no place in your life for your Lockie. You would never ruffle my hair again. You would never stand in front of me and feed me again. I would never be able to get into your bed at night again.
We would never sit together, just us, and look at each other and smile, because sometimes we didn’t need any words.
And I didn’t want that to happen. I could feel it in my bones that this would kill me.
I knew it would.
You must have felt me looking at you because you turned around and stared at me, puzzled. Then you turned back and continued your conversation.
I had to step out for some air. I couldn’t stay in that room and watch you with someone else. I couldn’t breathe. I was having an out- -of- body experience. I couldn’t stay inside my own head.
It was cataclysmic….I had not spoken to you in person in five years but you had been my constant companion in my Mind Palace. You were my……everything. And now I had suddenly become aware that my love for you was not just brotherly.
I wanted you in every way. I was hungry for you.” Sherlock’s voice was soft with wonder as he walked through these memories almost like the first time.
Mycroft was listening to him, paling under the power of this narration from inside Sherlock’s head. He already knew what had happened that day….but listening to this….from this perspective and the build-up…..it was devastating.
It was a revelation against which he was feeling more and more helpless. There was a certain inevitability to this unfolding narrative.
Sherlock was speaking again.
“But you were slipping away…….like sand through my fingers….and I had only myself to blame. I had put this distance between us and rejected you…again and again…..and now someone else was going to claim you…….maybe as early as tomorrow morning someone would send our parents a letter offering their daughter’s hand in marriage.
There was no reason for you to say no.
Would you do it for me?
Would you say no to her? To any of them?
My world was ending and I had no way to stop it.
Nothing I could say and no one I could say it to.
My Mind Palace was spinning on its foundations and like a broken kaleidoscope I could only see your image flashing in every shattered part.
I felt helpless. Everything was hopeless. It was all happening too fast….I was in freefall with nothing to hold me back from the abyss.
It was all darkness and white noise and I was lost….so lost……falling…..
And then you came outside searching for me.
You found me.
As always. You found me.
“Lockie?” You said and your voice was a lifeline that reeled me back from the edge.
“Sherlock! What happened??” You asked me. So worried. So protective. As always.
I had no words to use. There was nothing I could say that would make any sense.
Please forgive me?
Never leave me?
I love you?
All I could say was ‘Mine’.
And the sight of you …when I saw you standing there ….I had to kiss you.
I kissed you and kissed you…….I wanted to discard my body and merge into you so we could never ever be separated …and you……” Sherlock’s eyes flew open suddenly. “You didn’t push me away!!! You kissed me back. And you were about to say something and then Mummy came.
She……the things she said…….I was so ashamed….. because she was right. You never refused me anything and I hadn’t even asked you….just claimed you…..and this would surely wreck the life you had worked so hard to build. Your work…..your reputation…everything.
I was sure that you were going to hate me now. Forever. She was right. I was going to destroy you. So I deleted the entire evening and all my feelings and decided to stay away from you. I only remembered that I needed to make sure you never wanted to be near me……Ever again.” He ended with a tremor in his voice.
Mycroft took a deep breath. This was it. The apocalypse.
Sherlock spoke again, the outrage and betrayal fresh in his voice as he saw the newly emerging memories. “I hated you because I thought you……didn’t …….and you agreed with Mummy…….and you would now hate me ……..although I felt……I thought…I knew….You didn’t say anything Mycroft!! Why didn’t you say anything??”
“I couldn’t Sherlock. How could I?” Mycroft asked, pleading, the pain and helplessness fresh in his voice.
Not only had he never deleted or locked away any of those memories, in fact he had visited those precious minutes so often and polished them like jewels such that they were as fresh and bright to him as if it had happened yesterday.
“What could I say at that time Sherlock? That I also wanted to kiss you back? That I felt for you what a brother should not feel for his own? That I wanted to have nothing to do with being engaged to a woman, however beautiful and intelligent and accomplished she was? With anyone who was not you….. You saw how upset Mummy. Even though she probably thought you were just doing it to be difficult or to …somehow punish me……And you were so volatile and I was ……so duty bound. I never doubted your love for me. Not for one moment……..But whether we could make it work……without ruining everything and everyone else……? And you were just seventeen!! You had your whole life ahead of you. How could I be sure? What could I have said??”
They sat in silence again grappling with this shadowy beast from their past and finally Sherlock spoke up.
“And what would you want to say today?”
“Lockie…..” Mycroft said softly. “You are emotionally fragile today. You should sleep over this and we can talk tomorrow….. Or the day after.” He hesitated. Then he reminded him. “Dr Watson will be waiting for you at home.”
“Home?” Sherlock replied thoughtfully. “Your heart is my home Mycie. There is nowhere else I ever want to be.”
As soon as he said that he saw Mycroft’s face transform into something he had never seen before. It was vulnerable and radiant and a thing of beauty to behold.
Sherlock couldn’t help himself. He put out his hand and caressed Mycroft’s cheek. Gently. Carefully.
“I think I may be falling in love with you…..all over again.”
Mycroft had closed his eyes at the first touch and Sherlock could feel the tremors under his hand at his words.
And just like that, the final walls of the prison crumbled. The siege had ended.
The life sentence was over.
“I don’t think I have ever known anything else but love for you Sherlock.” Mycroft opened his eyes and looked at him with a sad smile. “I don’t think my soul has ever been separate from yours and I have felt every pain and every joy as though it were my own. I can’t say I fell in love with you because there was no moment that I can think of, when I wasn’t already loving you. I became love because of you. For you. Always you.”
As he was speaking Sherlock had moved closer, much closer.
“Why didn’t you say anything all these years Mycie??” Sherlock asked, pain in every syllable. Not accusing, just wanting to know.
“How could I Sherlock? It would have been the most colossally selfish thing I could ever do. I was tempted to. Twice. When you had overdosed. Then the good D.I.Lestrade found you and took you under his wing. Slowly you found Mrs. Hudson, Dr.Hooper and then Dr. Watson. You seemed happy. You were safe. I got to see you often. What more could I ask for?”
“Oh Mycie….if you had just said the word….” Sherlock said in despair.
“I couldn’t Sherlock. I am so sorry. I have never regretted anything more in my entire life. I was willing to wait forever in case you ever remembered and still wanted it. But I couldn’t …….I couldn’t tell you this. If you had rejected me knowing this and we lost even what little we had….I am not sure I could have lived with that loss.” Mycroft said, equally distressed. “I needed you to want it. I needed you to discover it for yourself. If it was still there…..I am sorry Sherlock. I am so …sorry….” He ended in a broken voice. “Can you ever forgive me?”
Mycroft had waited for so long.
As patiently as the ocean waits for a glacier to melt into it, as patiently as the sky waits for the clouds to arrive, as patiently as a tree waits for the birds to return in the evening.
He had waited as solid and inevitable as a mountain range.
And today….today the wait was over.
Sherlock was holding his hands.
Mycroft had never ever wanted to touch or be touched by anyone else.
But this? This touch? It steeped into him like a tea bag in hot water.
Sherlock moved closer still and asked in a whisper. “Mycie, can we kiss now?”
Mycroft Holmes takes a moment to feel sorry for Michelangelo and Beethoven
Softly, like the first snowflake falling from the skies, like a petal gently unfurling at dawn, like a drop of dew evaporating under the first rays of the sun….softly that kiss evolved.
Sherlock’s hands moved around Mycroft’s waist, holding him in place and then slowly pulling himself closer as he moved to sit on his lap…..…his fingers were now inside Mycie’s shirt, exploring these foreign lands, and recognizing that they were home.
This was falling…… this was flying…… this was landing in a safe place.
Mycroft felt desire coil through his blood, hot and dark, and as he joined Sherlock’s body to his own.
He was tasting the sweetest nectar, he was feeling the smoothest satin and the coolest marble. He was drunk on his kisses and intoxicated by his touch.
This was the reason poetry and art existed. To remind people of these moments, these possibilities.
He was one with his beloved, finally, and there was no separation between their hearts.
Later, as they managed to make their way to the bedroom and lay tangled in each other and in the magnificently crumpled sheets, Mycroft ran his finger down Sherlock’s face…. down that smooth forehead, over that haughty nose, down to those lips…oh those lips…he could write a sonnet for those lips one day he thought as those lips curved into a helpless smile.
“Oh Mycie!” Sherlock said, breathlessly. “How are we going to hide this??”
“How indeed.” Mycroft replied. “Can you imagine the Christmas dinners?”
And they both giggled.
Sherlock was so thrilled to hear his big brother laugh like this that he crawled up and kissed him softly on the lips, his words punctuated with kisses, saying “I-think-they- will- be- de-li-cious.”
Mycroft pulled him close, a part of his mind still reeling at the realization that he could just do this. He could just simply lie down here with his lover and hold him close and touch him everywhere.
It was a new dawn in a new world.
He deepened the kiss and Sherlock reciprocated with joyful abandon. They lost all sense of time as they found themselves soaring once again through the symphony of their bodies in union.
Mycroft even found a fleeting moment to feel sorry for Michelangelo who had felt only the Carrara marble of David and sympathy for Beethoven who had struggled to compose what divinity felt like.
He knew now. He, Mycroft Holmes, knew what perfection and divinity was like and it was here! Right here in his arms….
This time when they rested, Mycroft was languidly tracing circles on Sherlock’s back as he lay on his chest, listening to his heartbeat. “I can’t imagine what Mummy was thinking. Calling you to clean the attic?!”
Sherlock hummed and after a minute raised his head with a spark of curiosity. “I didn’t notice it then but now that I think of it… …. there was no dust there. None at all………”
“Really?” Mycroft asked slowly, unable to believe the implications of this.
“Huh. She knew exactly what the attic contained and what could happen.” Sherlock said triumphantly. “I hope she chooses a comfortable handbasket for her ride to hell.”
“What?! She stopped us that day and she is encouraging us now? Don’t you think she really knew this would happen?”
“It’s our mother Sherlock. Anything is possible! And it has been twenty years…..But….”
“Do you think Father also knows?”
“Oh, I don’t think so. Since he retired, he seems more concerned with his garlic and the library and his book reviews than with such problems. I doubt he even remembers what happened that summer.”
Sherlock looked at Mycroft and said softly. “Thank you My. Thank you for helping me remember.”
Mycroft just kissed him in reply.
Meanwhile, three levels deep inside his Mind Palace, Mycroft the Heart seemed to have pulled Mycroft the Spirit into a slow waltz, to music only they could hear.
Mycroft the Brain was just staring at the world in a resigned way…..but there may have been the smallest curve of a smile at one end of his lips.
104 kisses already. Only? Huh, they had two decades to make up for….so they had best get on with it. A million sounded like a good round number to aim for. Before this week was over.
Visit here when the world no longer makes sense!
Welcome to this blog where you will find random musings on existentialist nihilism, conspiracy theories, and the occasional words of wisdom.
Monday: And how shall we change the world today?
This week’s question from cantdothisanymore001 was asking why there is any point in human existence. “The universe existed before us (and did rather well thank you) and will continue to exist beyond us when all of us have Brexit-ed and Trump-ed ourselves to annihilation.”
Visit here when the world no longer makes sense!
Welcome to this blog where you will find random musings on existentialist nihilism, conspiracy theories, and the occasional words of wisdom.
Monday: And how shall we change the world today?
This week’s question from cantdothisanymore001 was asking why there is any point in human existence. “The universe existed before us (and did rather well thank you) and will continue to exist beyond us when all of us have Brexit-ed and Trump-ed ourselves to annihilation.”
Well, you have come to the right place fellow human, because this blog was started out of my thoughts around existential nihilism.
Let me tell you what that means!
Existential nihilism is the philosophical theory that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism suggests that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose in the totality of existence.
According to the theory, each individual is an isolated being born into the universe, barred from knowing "why", yet compelled to invent meaning.
Existential nihilists claim that, to be honest, one must face the absurdity of existence, that he/she will eventually die, and that both religion and metaphysics are simply results of the fear of death.
Shakespeare tells us through Macbeth what his nihilist perspective on life is.
“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
Or as he says again in Hamlet: “To be or Not to Be, that is the question.”
The common thread in the literature of the existentialists is coping with the emotional anguish arising from our confrontation with nothingness, and they expended great energy responding to the question of whether surviving it was possible. Their answer was a qualified "Yes," advocating a formula of passionate commitment and impassive stoicism.
So my friend cantdothisanymore001, what do I interpret from all this theory and expression?
My conclusion that that there are only two important questions one can ever ask:
- What is the purpose of life?
- What is the purpose of my life?
The first question has not been possible for philosophers or even scientists, to answer despite attempts made since the beginning of time. There have been enlightened beings who, from time to time, have understood the answer and probably tried to tell us ordinary folks through their teachings. But as soon as words come in so do interpretations and so do mis-interpretations.
Eventually my belief is that heaven and hell are both right here, on earth, within our hearts, or wherever we want them to be.
So my purpose in life may have been fulfilled somewhat by the job I did rather diligently. But my purpose in life is also to ensure the happiness of my family and loved ones.
Should we succumb to following laws and rules when your heart tells you something else? And when your actions are not going to harm anyone? After all the most repeated reason given during the Nazi trials when asked why they committed the most heinous crimes against humanity was “We were following orders.”
So my friend, life may or may not have meaning, but you can make yours as meaningful as possible within your own context!
Here is what wiser and wittier people than me have said: “Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth Century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the world, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other. This organ wants this, that organ wants that. The brain is one of the organs.” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
“Each of us has heaven and hell in him...” Oscar Wilde
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago.
I do hope that all this gives you hope to carry on and stay sane!
P.S. My wife would be delighted at the number of the week! 1008 is an even composite number composed of three prime numbers multiplied together.
1008 is also an abundant number, because the sum of its proper divisors (2216) is greater than itself.
She has always been as bewildered by the ‘rules’ of humans as much as she has loved the rules of mathematics. There were times when she tried to follow human rules but perhaps she was better off with maths instead.
1+1 is always 2.
We all live and learn!
Wednesday: Mid- Week Musings
I was remembering my old friend John the other day when I read this conspiracy theory that had me laughing. You would be surprised at how many of them are actually true……but this one? No.
John was a bit of a dreamer, an idealist. Well, he wasn’t the only one. Many of us believed that the world could be as one. He was with me when I first danced with the love of my life at the Christmas Ball in college.
I was still unsure if she would agree and John said well, then go ahead and dance with someone else. As soon as he said that I knew.
I told him “The way she looks is way beyond compare. I couldn’t dance with another, when I see her standing there!”
Well, long story short, I asked her, she said yes, John went off and wrote down my lines and composed a song with his friend Paul that became rather well known.
Sadly, as with all those who speak the truth, from the days of Socrates to modern times, someone will find a way to try and silence them and John is not physically with us anymore.
But Paul sure is! So when I read this story about how Paul died in a car crash in 1966, and, the other band members replaced Paul with a lookalike, I can say with confidence that it isn’t true!
Friday: Frugal hobbies for the weekend
Do you have books you have finished reading and don’t know what to do with anymore? Do you want to do something good for the young generation lost in digital spaces? Then donate some books to The Guerrilla Library UK! As one of the founders I can tell you that your books will find their way to good hands and change people’s lives in ways you cannot imagine!
Check out what our friends across the pond are doing
Guerrilla librarianship is well grounded in Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science:
- Books are for use.
2. Every reader the right book.
3. Every book the right reader.
4. Save the time of the reader.
5. The library is a growing organism.
Most of all guerrilla librarianship is an act of resistance . . .
By their very existence they reject the idea that relationships should be constructed and mediated by a market.
- Guerrilla libraries are generally underground, that is, they are created without the approval or support of the state or other authority. Instead, they provide a space for people to arrange their own relationships and provide for their own needs.
- Guerrilla libraries often reject hierarchy as an organizing principle for the librarians.
Emma Watson, that lovely young woman who is a Patron of our Guerrilla Libraries dropped off some of Maya Angelou’s books at a railway station in New York as part of her commitment.
So go ahead, contribute to a good cause or even start your own.
And until next week, stay sane!
Mummy knows best.
"And my mistake was dragging love out of its cave into the open air, making my chest an open church for all lovers.
Two months later Mycroft and Sherlock found themselves at their parents’ home for Christmas dinner. They pretended to squabble but their heart was not in it.
Oddly, neither parent said anything.
Mummy had cooked something warm and wonderful as always and Father had been in charge of the roast and the wine and it had been a simply lovely day.
Mycroft, dutiful and attentive as always, had tried very hard to maintain the usual conversations and to not be utterly distracted by the sight of Sherlock sitting on the sofa across him, slightly flushed from the fireplace warmth and the wine, a slight smile curving the edge of his lips, looking like an angel dropped down from the heavens.
Especially since he knew now, intimately, what those rosy lips tasted like and what those pale cheeks felt like and what it all looked like without the fragile barrier of clothes.
Every time Sherlock took a sip of wine and then licked his lips, Mycroft felt his heart stutter and his words lose their way as they tried to emerge from his own lips and manage a coherent conversation with his parents.
Sherlock, luckily for him, had no such reputation to live up to and had sat quietly and stared at Mycroft to his heart’s content, drinking in the sight of this beautiful brilliant loving man who had chosen him and waited for him through the decades, never giving up.
Finally his worshipful gaze became too much even for Mycroft to resist and he got up and said he needed some air and went out to the front garden.
“Too much wine I think. Be back in five minutes Mummy, Father.” He said and nodded at them and left. Sherlock murmured some random excuse and followed.
Mummy called out as they left “Boys! Be good! I better not find you smoking!”
“No of course not Mummy.” Mycroft replied promptly while Sherlock winked at him and whispered “Be good Mycie!”
They wore their coats and went out, standing side by side and looking up at the stars.
Slowly Sherlock swayed closer and touched their hands together. Mycroft promptly caught his hand and intertwined their fingers together.
It had been an impossible ordeal to have him in the same room for so long and not touch him!
Still looking up at the stars Mycroft said, “I love you so much, you know that don’t you?”
Sherlock was too choked up to speak, on hearing these words.
It was not for the first time of course but the saying of it was still new enough for it to be a shiny wonder. He just squeezed their fingers tight and Mycroft smiled.
They stood there shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, under the inky black sky. They may be insignificant specks in the universe physically, but their love encompassed every universe that had ever existed.
This was truth, this was joy, this was peace.
This was the purpose of their existence.
Sherlock held up Mycoft’s right hand, tangled in his own and said “I have been meaning to ask you about this ring. But every time we are together and I think of it we get busy with other things.” He laughed naughtily. “What is the story behind it?”
Mycroft smiled. “I am surprised it took you so long to ask. See for yourself.” And he took it off and gave it to Sherlock.
Sherlock looked at it from all angles and couldn’t find any clues. Then he looked inside and saw the engraving, in simple letters.
‘Oh Mycie!” Sherlock said, almost unable to breathe and he turned and hugged his beloved and was held by him, hot tears threatening to spill from both their eyes, their bodies warm against the freezing night, heads resting on each other’s shoulders, breathing in tandem, hearts beating against each other.
What pleasures could heaven possibly hold that were better than this?
Sherlock risked a quick kiss on his lips before letting go, laughing as Mycroft mock glared at him.
Right outside our parents’ front door?! Really?!
“We should go in. It is really cold.” Mycroft said reluctantly, not wanting to give Sherlock time to get up to any further mischief out here. They were going to have enough trouble keeping quiet later at night as it is!
They trooped back in and saw that Mummy was clearing things up in the kitchen. Through the other door they could see Father dozing gently on his sofa in the living room.
Mummy saw them come in and as they took off their coats and stood there in front of her, she looked at them one by one, those electric blue eyes as sharp as they had ever been.
In that instant they both knew that she knew.
Sherlock immediately moved closer to Mycroft and reached out and held his hand. This time nothing was going to separate them. He would simply not allow it.
With his next breath Sherlock silently renounced the world and everything in it if that was the price to pay for them being together.
Mummy came closer and Sherlock could feel Mycroft stiffen with tension, but he was also gripping Sherlock’s hand and never letting go.
With his next breath Mycroft silently renounced the world and everything in it if that was the price to pay for them being together.
Mummy raised her hand and touched Mycroft’s cheek. “I am so sorry my son. But it was 1985!! And I ……it wasn’t’…..”
“No Mummy, please don’t say sorry.” Mycroft said, his voice rough with sudden emotion. “I……I know you meant well.”
“I did what I thought was the right thing to do then.” She replied. The she paused and took a deep breath. “And I think this is the right thing to do today. I want both of you to be happy.”
She turned to look at Sherlock. “You will not trouble Mycroft or put him in any danger. Ever. Sherlock, do you promise me that?”
“I do Mummy!” Sherlock said, not even pretending to be affronted at this demand.
“And you, son, you already do everything for him….. So do you, Mycroft, promise me that you will take care of yourself too?”
“I do Mummy.” Mycroft said.
The three of them stood there in the silent night, Mycroft and Sherlock still holding hands, as the first snow started falling softly outside the window.
Could a church wedding have been more holy or more uplifting?
Mummy said quietly, “I have never been one for following rules which have no logic. Just don’t make it too obvious in front of Father. He is not old fashioned at all, but you know…. one wouldn’t want to trouble him at his age. “
All three of them turned to look at Father as he was dozing.
Each one of them was thinking: Is it nice not being me? Must be so relaxing.
Some secrets you need to take to the grave
This fic is gifted to two of my most favourite people in the fandom :) and I want to take this chance to say why!
LadyGlinda's fics were responsible for my very early, very tentative forays into Holmescest and good heavens, where would I be if I hadn't discovered this ship ??! Thank you !!! <3 <3 <3
eloquated is the reason I check my Ao3 email first thing every morning and last thing every night because she is amazing and thoughtful and creative and awesome and co-writing some of the other fics with her have given me the joy I didn't even know I needed in my life! Thank you !!! <3 <3 <3
I shall tie up this gift fic to both of you in a neat bow with this epilogue :) Enjoy !!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was the day after Christmas and the boys had gone back to London.
Mummy was sitting and drinking her third cup of tea that evening and wondering if she should tell her husband what she had done.
But what would it achieve? Perhaps some secrets were better taken to one’s grave.
She was going to go to hell anyway because she had never told him that even after she left her ‘job’ she continued to work with MI6 on certain assignments.
All those bake sales were also drop off points for the codes. It was the easiest thing in the world to include the coordinates in recipes with all the ‘12 eggs, 4 yolks, beat gently in a clockwise direction for two minutes at room temperature. Pre heat oven to 15 deg Celsius.’
The only thing better than that was knitting patterns. All those Fair Isle sweaters she had knitted for her husband and boys…..’knit 5 purl 12, alternate row change colour…’
So she may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
Father was watching her drinking her tea so pensively.
He wondered if he should finally reveal to her that he had been the one to recruit her for MI6 and had essentially been her handler’s boss for over 30 years? He was no more a minor official in the British Government then than Mycroft was now.
Or was it better to take such secrets to the grave?
He was sure he was going to hell anyway for having put the idea in her head that their sons really deserved to be together…. finally..…..and maybe he could let her stay happy in her ignorance.
She looked up to see him watching her and smiled. “I have been meaning to ask---How is your brother Rudyard doing dear?”
“Fine I think. Last I heard he moved to France. Many more designers who make evening gowns.”
And since you still don’t know about the other one…he thought to himself…Sherringford is still safely incarcerated on that island prison.
After dinner Father found her looking at an Argos catalogue.
“Looking for anything special dear? It’s a bit late but let me get it for you for Christmas!”
“Oh just a handbasket love. Something comfortable for a long-ish journey.” she said in all seriousness.
He smiled, and looked over her shoulder.
“This one looks good! Why don’t you order two? I am sure I could also use one.”
1. You might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb: Since the punishment for a bad action and an even worse one will be the same, you have no reason not to do the worse one
2. It isn't at all obvious why 'handbasket' was chosen as the preferred vehicle to convey people to hell. One theory on the origin of the phrase is that derives from the use of handbaskets in the guillotining method of capital punishment--the decapitated heads were caught in baskets.
'Going to heaven in a wheelbarrow' was a euphemistic way of saying 'going to hell'. The notion of sinners being literally wheeled to hell in barrows or carts is certainly very old. 'Going to hell in a handbasket' seems to be just a colourful version of 'going to hell', in the same sense as 'going to the dogs'.