|"Love comforteth like sunshine after
Happy Valentine's Day!
So this newsletter is a little strange for several
1. For the first time in years, I didn't write a
fairly lengthy Valentine's story. Instead, I
wrote three vignettes centered around the theme of
love. There would have been five but two seemed
better placed as chapters in the trafficking
story I'm working on.
2. I wrote this about a month ago. I can't
remember the last time I wrote a newsletter so far in
3. I had just barely started writing this when
the world learned that Alan Rickman had passed
away. With Harry Potter and Severus
Snape having worked their way into so many Dyeland
stories and my fondness for Sense and Sensibility,
Galaxy Quest, Dogma, and other
Rickman-starring movies, I was hit harder than I
thought I'd be. So two out of three of these
vignettes are my way of commemorating Mr. Rickman.
Despite the unusual way this newsletter came to be, I
hope you enjoy it. Remember, you are loved by
the Source of all love!
Author's Note: Several years ago, my
brother introduced me to the movie Dogma.
I'd never seen a Kevin Smith film before so wasn't
really prepared for the vulgar jokes.
Nonetheless, something about it grabbed me. It
had hope and faith and love. And it also had
Alan Rickman. It was one of his scenes which
made the movie for me. Yes, the "as
anatomically correct as a Ken doll" scene was
hilarious. But it was a different moment when
Rickman's Metatron spoke about the boy Jesus that
captivated me. Suddenly, after several minutes
of uncomfortable laughing, I was sobbing. I
thought about that scene when I learned about Mr.
Rickman's passing. At a time when I keenly
felt a growing distance between myself and the
church I'd grown up in, that scene reminded me of
what, or rather Who, it was all about. With
all due respect to Prof. Snape and Colonel Brandon
and Dr. Lazarus, I decided it was Metatron who I
wasn't quite prepared to bid adieu. So I'm
not. While it's safe to say the worlds of
Dyeland and Jay and Silent Bob are NOT the same, I
think we can share lovably surly, no-nonsense
Saturday, December 27th, 2014
JenniAnn laid in her bed and stared up at her ceiling.
She had always craved utter darkness and silence while
sleeping. But this was too quiet. And her bed
felt too big, too cold.
Rising, JenniAnn made her way to Belle's nursery.
Perhaps her baby would be awake and she could cuddle
her. But no... Belle slept soundly and, in spite
of her loneliness, JenniAnn couldn't bring herself to
disrupt the little one's rest. She was halfway back to
her bed when she found herself turning towards the door
leading out into the hallway. Then she was in the
hall... walking through it... approaching Andrew's door...
clasping the knob... and, suddenly, she was inside his
Andrew, who had been lost in his own silent contemplations,
rolled onto his side and spotted his visitor. He sat
up and flipped on his bedside lamp.
"Laja... What are you doing? Is Belle..."
"Fine! Completely fine," JenniAnn assured. Her
face flushed. "I just couldn't sleep and I... missed
A blush formed on Andrew's own face.
Somehow, when he'd coyly suggested that he stay with
JenniAnn during the Friends' and Joshua's time at
Willowveil, it hadn't occurred to Andrew that it might be
difficult for JenniAnn when he moved back to his own
bedroom. And he'd been shocked by how difficult the
transition had been for him.
Kicking off his covers, Andrew went to JenniAnn and embraced
"I'm sorry. I didn't think..." he murmured.
JenniAnn sniffled and rested her cheek against his shoulder.
"Oh would you just get on with it!" a sonorous voice
JenniAnn jolted and Andrew shoved her behind him, ready to
protect her from the intruder. A moment later, he felt
incredibly foolish. He should have recognized that
voice. What angel wouldn't recognize that voice?
But what was he doing in his bedroom?
Feeling Andrew's body untense, JenniAnn peeked around his
shoulder and studied their visitor.
The man... if he was a man... he, at least, looked like a
man... was quite tall, pale, thinnish, and dressed all in
black. His thick, dark hair was mussed... an
interesting counterpoint to his tailored suit.
But it was his eyes that most captivated JenniAnn.
Dark... foreboding... and yet, beneath that... mirthful.
"Who are you?" she questioned.
The stranger held a book out to JenniAnn. She
immediately recognized it as one of her own, a copy of The
Encyclopedia of Angels.
"Turn to page three hundred and ninety four."
JenniAnn looked to Andrew. He nodded so she stepped
around him and took the book. When she found the
desired page, her hands began to shake slightly.
"You... you're... Metatron," she choked out.
The angel made a bow then noticed JenniAnn's hands. He
rolled his eyes.
"Please... you've met the second member of the
Trinity. I hardly rank."
"I'm sure it's just that she... knows less about you than
she does Joshua," Andrew explained.
"And trusts me less," Metatron translated. "Wise
girl. According to some, I might be slightly... evil."
JenniAnn couldn't help but giggle when the angel winked at
"So, umm, what brings you here, Metatron?" Andrew asked.
"A desire to save my own sanity," he replied.
"Imagine... spending the entirety of human existence
documenting every little thing they do..."
"Well, not every little thing." Metatron
shuddered. "But many, many, many things... And
things about my fellow angels, as well. Now, imagine
watching two... a human and an angel... making themselves
miserable for no good reason. Do you know how much
misery I see? So much that's beyond the control of
those enduring it? Beyond my control?"
Andrew's and JenniAnn's eyes welled.
"You do know... at least in part."
He clapped them each on their shoulders.
"But you two... with you two... I felt as if I could exert
some of my influence and with the go-ahead of the Almighty
God... I come bearing a message. His approval... my
message. Are you ready to hear it?"
"Yes," Andrew replied.
Awed, JenniAnn only nodded.
Metatron's focus narrowed on both of them. The two
felt as if his eyes were boring into their very souls as he
"What did you think? That Joshua only tolerated your
sharing a bed these past days because no other was available
for this one?" He waved to Andrew. "Do you
really think it was beyond the powers of the Creator of the
All That Is to produce a cot? Share... a...
room!" Metatron snarled. "Share bedsheets! Share
a pillow for all I care! Just spare those of us who have to
watch you the continued angst-filled sighs and moony
stares! Now... I have said my piece. Do with it
what you will."
Metatron waved his hands dismissively.
When Andrew and JenniAnn didn't move, he took them both by
the shoulders and turned them towards each other.
Catching each other's eyes, they began to laugh.
"It was silly..." JenniAnn admitted. "I mean... Joshua
could have invited you to his room. It's a fairly big
"It is," Andrew agreed. "Laja, I'm sorry. I
shouldn't have assumed you wanted me to go back to my room
once the Wilsons left..."
"And I shouldn't have assumed that you wanted to go
back. I at least could have asked. I'm sorry,
too." JenniAnn clasped Andrew's hands.
Andrew and JenniAnn turned to Metatron who was still
sneering. However, his crinkled, merry eyes betrayed
JenniAnn was surprised to find herself reaching for his
hand. She was even more surprised when the ancient
angel closed his other hand around hers.
"Thank you, sir. I... I guess we needed that."
"Thank you, Metatron," Andrew added. He patted his
shoulder then kissed JenniAnn's temple. "We won't
"Well, isn't that a miracle?" Metatron deadpanned.
"Now... on you go." He waved them towards the
door. "Back to your room."
After letting out a giggle, JenniAnn nodded and pulled
Andrew to the door. Just before they crossed into the
hallway, she turned back.
"So is the book right? You... you do watch over
us? Recording everything? From all time?"
Metatron nodded. His face and eyes softened.
Twin lumps forming in their throats, Andrew and JenniAnn
smiled at the supreme angel as he began to fade away.
When he was gone, they linked their arms about each other's
waists and returned to their room.
Once they were settled back into their bed, a few moments of
contented silence passed before JenniAnn disrupted it with
"Wait... Why do you suppose God let Metatron... and I
can't believe I just met Metatron!.. do that? It
wasn't very... respectful of free will. Not that I
mind! At all! And why didn't Joshua just tell us
all that before he left? Why send Metatron to do it
mere hours later?"
Andrew considered for a few moments then smiled.
"As for free will, I suppose it's a case of God knowing what
our true free will was and using Metatron to get us to
follow it. And as for why Joshua didn't just handle it
himself... Metatron's his child, too. Joshua
would know he was frustrated with us. He'd know that
Metatron would enjoy being the one to finally shake us out
of, well, whatever it was that was keeping us from this."
JenniAnn smiled at the idea. It was hard to imagine
the being she'd just met as someone's child who needed to be
looked after... but he was surely that.
"I do wonder... why us, do you think? I mean surely
there are others... even others who know about angels... who
annoy him? Why take a special interest in us?"
"I don't know, Laja. You're asking me to understand a
mind much greater than my own. However old I am,
Metatron's much, much, much older."
Andrew chuckled and kissed her forehead.
"And vague is how I'll remain on that topic."
JenniAnn opened her mouth to make a retort but only a yawn
Andrew gently tightened his hold of her.
"Let's rest now. We can talk more about the enigma
that is Metatron tomorrow."
"I love you, Laja."
"I love you, too. Ya know, he looks and sounds a lot
Andrew arched his eye brow and the combination of that
much-loved gesture, the comfort of having her beloved beside
her once again, and exhaustion kept JenniAnn from finishing
her sentence. She nuzzled her cheek against the angel
of death's shoulder, placed her hand over his heart, and
closed her eyes once he'd flicked off the lamp.
As Andrew and JenniAnn drifted to sleep, both again heard
the Scribe of Heaven intone the word that perfectly
encapsulated both his own dedication to his work and theirs
to each other.
Thursday, January 14th, 2016
Rose and Max sat snuggled together in front of the fireplace
in the former's room at Willowveil. Only a foot away,
Max's laptop was queued up to a YouTube video.
"You sure you want to do this tonight?" he checked.
Rose smiled sadly and nodded.
Max started the video then enclosed his fiancee in his arms.
A flame-haired girl held a blooming flower in her
hand. A somber boy approached her, cheering her after
her sister's cruel words.
The real life pair watched as the fictional ones' childhood
flitted by. The warm, hallowed halls of Hogwarts gave
way to a harsh, craggy wilderness.
"Hide her... Hide them all. I beg you."
"What will you give me in exchange, Severus?"
Rose let out a ragged sigh.
"I spent my time reading those books while loving Dumbledore
and hating Snape but in that moment..."
"They reversed," Max finished.
Rose nodded as the inevitable tragedy played out. They
saw the Half-Blood Prince become a heartbroken man, cradling
his lost love in his arms. Over the years, he grew
even more embittered and alone, watching over the child of
the woman he adored and a man he despised.
Max kissed Rose's hair when she rested her head on his
shoulder and began to sob when the moment... the reason
she'd wanted to watch the video... arrived.
"After all this time?" Dumbledore questioned.
When the video ended, Max shifted just enough to close the
"I... I don't know why... why... this is... is hitting me
so... so hard," his beloved cried. "It... it's not
like I knew Mr. Rickman!"
Max stroked her back.
"I know. But we knew what he gave us," Max
consoled. "I... I think we were drawn to Harry
Potter because we both saw ourselves in Harry.
Orphaned... not literally but it's how we felt.
Craving to be special, to be loved and admired.
Snape... as awful as we thought he was for so long... held
out exactly what we wanted. Love that was so complete,
so unending that no amount of pain or loneliness or disgrace
could turn him from it. And for me at least... I... I
wanted to believe that if someone as screwed up as Severus
Snape had the ability to love so utterly, to give so
immensely for Lily then... then maybe my screwed up self
could manage it, too. Maybe I... I could be a better
man... a better lover... a better protector than... than
either of my parents were. And I felt the inkling of
that when I read the book but when I saw the movie... saw
the emotion in... in Mr. Rickman's eyes when he said..."
Max smiled and nodded.
"That gave me hope. Hope that I could love... and be
Rose cupped Max's face in her hands.
"I think you have it exactly right... That's why we
loved and admired him," she murmured. "And I'm glad
the hopes he and Ms. Rowling planted were... were realized."
Their tear-stained lips met for first a fleeting moment and
then a longer one.
With their foreheads still together, Rose caressed Max's
"For the record, I've never thought you were screwed up...
even before we were engaged and I became obligated to say
Laughing, Max pulled Rose closer and kissed the nape of her
Rose brushed some hair from Max's forehead and kissed it.
"Welcome." With a sigh, Rose extricated herself from
their blanket and stood. She looked around the
room. "I feel like we should light a candle
or... Really I wish that we had our wands from the
Wizarding World... But mine's at Aunt Josephine's
With a frown, Max nodded.
"And mine's at my place. I can head down there
tomorrow after work and..."
He was cut off by a knock at the door.
"Who is it?" Rose asked.
Closer to the door, Max scrambled to answer it.
When he saw the two, Joshua set down the bag he was holding
and embraced them both.
"I'm so glad you're back," Rose whispered.
"I'm glad to be back, too. I'm sorry I couldn't be
with you when you got the news but..."
Max shook his head.
"We understand, Joshua. Meeting with Josef was
important and, to be honest, I'm glad that we spent the day
at the comic book store. It felt good to be among
other sad nerds."
After a gentle smile, Joshua kissed them both on their
"I'm glad you could be with your fellow students as you
remembered your teacher."
Rose replied with a sad, soft laugh.
"Even if it was only pretend..."
Joshua shook his head.
"Hogwarts is pretend. Professor Snape is
pretend. The teaching, the lessons... those were
"They... they were," Max agreed as Rose wiped at a tear and
gave a solemn nod.
"I'm going to go check in with the others now but I brought
you both something."
Joshua retrieved the bag and held it out to the couple.
Rose lifted a potted lily from the bag.
"It... it's beautiful. And perfect. Thank you."
"And... our wands!" Max exclaimed.
"I trust you know what to do with them. You know where
to find me if you need to talk."
"We do. Thank you!"
"Yes, thank you. So much."
After another round of hugs and kisses, Joshua left the
Rose found a spot for the lily and Max carefully watered
it. When he was done, Rose handed him his wand.
Once again, they wrapped a blanket around themselves.
"Sorta like when Harry, Ron, and Hermione tried to fit under
the cloak of invisibility," Rose teased.
"Good thing there's only two of us!" Max replied. "You
Huddled together, the two stepped onto the balcony and
peered up at the starry sky. They each looped an arm
around the other's waist and, with their free hands, raised
"Always..." the couple intoned together.
Sunday, February 14th, 2016
"So that's one coconut chai, one cocoa, one slice of red
velvet cake, and one triple chocolate brownie?"
Sy smiled and nodded at Adrian.
"That's it exactly. Thanks, Adrian."
"We'll get those right out to you!"
"Thank you, Adrian," Ivy replied.
Once the restauranteur had stepped away, the young couple
resumed sitting in awkward silence. After a few
moments, Ivy began to sniffle. When Sy looked up at
her, he saw that she was fighting tears.
"Aww, hey there..."
Sy slid out of the booth and reseated himself beside his
Ivy nuzzled her face against his shoulder and sighed.
"You smell really good."
"Thanks. I borrowed my dad's cologne. Listen,
I'm sorry dinner was so dysfunctional. I wasn't
"You shouldn't have had to be thinking! Not like
that!" Ivy cried.
"I know..." Sy kissed her hair.
"I... I guess it's just that... that we spend so much time
with the other Friends that sometimes it's easy to forget
how hateful other people can be."
"Aren't you mad?" Ivy pulled away just enough to look
into Sy's eyes.
"Sure, I'm mad. But..."
"But what?" Ivy prompted.
Sy caressed her cheek.
"Sometimes it's not safe for a black guy to be mad," he
Ivy again rested her head against his shoulder.
"That makes me so sad," she murmured. "And you were so
Sy let out a deep breath as he recalled saving up money to
take Ivy out to a nice restaurant for Valentine's Day.
He should have known things were going to be difficult when
they'd been seated and a handful of patrons kept giving them
the side eye. Still, they'd grown used to that and had
learned to ignore it. Then a trip to the bathroom had
Ivy closed her eyes as she recalled the awful conversation
between two women while she'd been in a stall and they were
washing their hands.
"I tell you... I can hardly focus on our meal with that
jungle fever business happening two tables away. And I
don't even want to know how that boy's paying for this."
"Probably drugs. Or theft. Thomas wants to move
to another table but then we wouldn't be near the
fireplace. I wonder if it's even really a date?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you read all the time about those thugs seducing
poor, little white girls and next thing you know they're
being sold to a dozen men a night..."
"Horrible! Do you think we should say something?"
It was then Ivy had thrown open the stall door and glared at
the two in the mirror as she washed her hands. For
their parts, the two women gaped and fiddled with their
"Not that you deserve any explanation but I'm going to give
it to you. He's my boyfriend of nearly two years and
he works at his dad's church. He saved up the money to
give me a nice Valentine's dinner. He will most
definitely not be pimping me out because he is a wonderful,
kind, Christian man. When I have sex, it will be
because I decide to and it will be with him and I will enjoy
it very, very much not because of some sort of nonsense like
'jungle fever' but because I love him and he loves me and
God created us for each other. Do you understand me?"
Heads bowed, the two women nodded.
"Good. Now I'm going to go rejoin him and hope we
don't disturb your dinner. Enjoy the fireplace.
Try to not light a cross on fire if you can help it," Ivy
Now safely sequestered in her boyfriend's arms, Ivy let out
a ragged sigh and shuddered.
"I'm probably going to have to apologize to Joshua when we
get back. I got really angry."
"Oh, I don't know about that. Joshua himself gets
awfully angry when he has reason. John, too. Did
you call anyone a brood of vipers?"
Ivy laughed and shook her head.
"I don't think so."
"Then I think you're just fine, Carrots."
"Hey, now! What's this?"
The teens looked up to find Adrian holding a tray and
frowning at them.
"Sweetie, why are you crying?" she questioned.
"I... we..." Ivy bit her lip.
"Ivy ran into a couple of racists at the restaurant we went
to for dinner. Things were said," Sy explained.
Adrian rolled her eyes, set the tray in front of the couple,
and slid into the other side of the booth. She reached
across and squeezed Ivy's hand.
"Well, you don't have to worry about anything like that
happening here. If I heard any talk like that, they'd
be out on their asses."
The couple laughed and Ivy squeezed the woman's hand
"You know, sometimes it helps to get things off your
chest. Sy can take it. And so can I.
Although I can skedaddle if you want me to," Adrian offered.
Ivy shook her head.
"You're right. And you don't need to leave."
In a hushed voice, Ivy repeated the entire exchange nearly
Sy felt his cheeks burn when she recounted the women's
words... and then his cheeks burned for an entirely
different, much more pleasant reason.
"So... so then I said that I was only going to have sex with
Sy and I was going to enjoy it because we love each other...
not because of some stupid made up thing like 'jungle
fever.' Then I told them not to light a cross on fire
since they were near the fireplace."
Sy beamed at her.
"Well done! I bet that got them."
"They didn't say anything else..." Ivy's face flushed
with pleasure when Sy kissed her cheek.
"I think you handled yourself very, very well, young lady!"
Adrian praised. "Better than I would have!
They'd have been picking their teeth up off the bathroom
floor if I'd been there."
Ivy and Sy smiled at the woman's bluster.
Adrian pushed the tray closer.
"Now, eat... drink. On the house."
Sy shook his head.
"Oh, Adrian, you..."
"I'm doing this. No arguments. My Valentine's
gift to Syvy."
Ivy tilted her head, curious.
It was Adrian's turn to blush.
"Oh well... I guess it slipped out. That's what
a lot of the staff call you two. You're among our very
favorite patrons. People fight over who gets to manage
Syvy's table when you're here. You're always kind to
the staff... and respectful and gentle with each
other. We don't always see that with others."
Both Ivy and Sy felt the tears begin to well in their
eyes. Recovering first, Ivy again took Adrian's hand.
"Thank you. That's really lovely to hear.
Especially tonight. Sy and I love it here, Adrian, and
we've always felt so welcome."
"You're truly one of the good ones, Adrian," Sy added,
smiling proudly at the woman. "I'm glad Andrew and
JenniAnn introduced us to your place."
"And I'm very glad, too. Now... I better get back
behind the counter but you two enjoy. Happy
Valentine's Day, kiddos. May you spend many, many more
The three exchanged grins and Ivy and Sy waved as the cafe
owner rejoined a couple of her staff members.
"Now how do you feel?" Sy checked.
Ivy planted a kiss on his temple.
"Much better. You?"
"The same. Do you want me to move back to my side
"Not particularly. Unless you want to."
"Not particularly. Ivy, do you ever..."
"What?" she prompted when her boyfriend stopped speaking.
"Are you ever nervous about... this? Us? The
biracial couple thing, I mean?"
"Not usually but..."
"The... well, the hair thing. I'm afraid our kids will
get mad at me if I can't do their hair right. I used
to get grumpy with my mom sometimes about my hair and now I
feel bad about that. I wouldn't mean to pull or tangle
or just completely get it wrong but..."
Sy burst out laughing and squeezed Ivy's shoulders.
"Worry no more, Carrots. Mom's already planning to
teach you. And you'll have to teach me if any of the
kids have hair like yours."
"You'd do their hair?"
Sy puffed up his chest.
"Of course. I am a modern man who does not believe in
traditional gender roles... except when you do."
She let out a little sigh then again rested her head on her
"I love you, Sy."
"And I love you, Ivy."
They smiled dreamily at each other, lost in visions of what
their life together would be. In spite of its rocky
beginnings, later they would look back on it as one of their
best Valentine's Days.
The Harry Potter films
The video Max and Rose were watching is this one:
This newsletter is dedicated to all those who have taught
us about love... from family and friends to those like
John Dye and Alan Rickman who we never met but whose work
reminds us of the undying power of love and, of course, to
the One from whom all love flows.
(Photo Credits: The photograph used
on this page is from Touched by an
Angel and owned by CBS Productions,
Caroline Productions, and Moon Water
Productions. It is not being used to