Out of My Dreams

This fic tells my main story in its entirety; the five followups are, to borrow a musical term, grace notes. I've revised and hopefully improved it frequently - still tinkering, years after it was first posted! (About that posting date: I was shocked that no one had posted a Reva/Jeffrey reunion fic before then, at least at fanfiction dot net. As far as I know, I'm still the only writer who's dealt with this topic.)

Not much "happens" in this story, in terms of plot. It can be summed up briefly: Reva and Josh leave Springfield, exactly as we saw in the aired finale. They almost immediately meet Jeffrey on the road. He and Reva reunite, and he explains that he's killed Edmund. In another brief "One Year Later" segment, we learn that Reva and Jeffrey are still together; he's once again DA; Josh is once again a minister; Olivia and Natalia are marrying; and an attraction seems to be developing between Jonathan and Ava.

Those are the bare bones of the plot. But I was attempting far more than that.

In the first two chapters of "Dreams," I tried to establish a different tone from that of the finale by exploring the thoughts of Reva, Shayne, and Jonathan on that fateful day "One Year Later." In a nutshell: They're all conflicted, all concerned about Edmund, but keeping their fears to themselves. Reva doesn't doubt that Jeffrey is dead; but her dreams and fantasies are still about him. She's troubled by the knowledge that while she does love Josh, she no longer loves him in the intense way he loves her. A major factor in her decision to go with him is her feeling that a boy needs a father figure in his life, and it would be wrong of her to deny Colin that because of her attachment to Jeffrey's memory. While I never spelled this out, I sought to create the impression that if she was thinking only of herself - not of any of her children - she would have chosen to stay alone with her memories of Jeffrey, and dreams and fantasies about him.

And I made a decision that without actually denying anything in the show, I'd try to make this treatment of events more realistic. In particular, I'd ignore all GL's previous "returns from the dead" - which were, as with most soaps, so frequent that they were ludicrous. Those I can remember: Reva herself (twice!), Josh's first wife Sonni, Bill Bauer, Brandon Spaulding, Alan Spaulding, Phillip Spaulding (twice), Beth Raines Spaulding, Roger Thorpe, Buzz Cooper, Jonathan Randall, and (I think) Vanessa Chamberlain Lewis. There were undoubtedly more that I've forgotten, or was never aware of. I made a conscious choice to have characters react to Jeffrey's return as if they'd never experienced anything like it - to be just as shocked as we ourselves would be if a person thought dead turned up alive after more than a year.

Also in the interest of realism, I avoided any mention of the fictional country San Cristobal. Or did the show's producers really want it (mis)spelled "Cristobel"? Another reason not to mention it! Of course, it is sort of cool that they named a fictional country for a fictional saint. In a later fic, I gave a nod to it by having Frank think of Edmund as "the infamous prince."

Other concerns I had, about the overall shape of the story... I wanted Reva and Josh to encounter Jeffrey on the road. But if he was headed home, why hadn't he told Jonathan? I realized I'd need an explanation for his having lost touch with Jonathan. The only one I could think of was that Jonathan's cell phone provider had been bought out by a competitor, and he'd been forced to accept a new phone number, on such short notice that he couldn't give it to Jeffrey. Probably, in real life, that wouldn't matter. I'm guessing calls to the old number would be rerouted automatically, for months. But the situation is so unusual that I doubt many people would know for sure, any more than I do. I left open the possibility that villain Edmund, presumed to be wealthy, was responsible for the phone problem.

Also, the show itself never tells us whether all Reva's family and friends know about the decision she'll have to make. We learn that Billy knows. Reva confides in Olivia, with Natalia probably within earshot. And on the "day of decision," we learn that Jonathan knows. If he knows, it's a safe bet Shayne does. But otherwise, it's anyone's guess. So I chose to go with a scenario in which Reva hasn't told anyone else, and thinks Billy and his wife Vanessa, Olivia, and Natalia may have forgotten the date. In fact, quite a few people - I never pin it down - are aware of what's going on.

Another thing the show never tells us is when Reva makes up her mind. But on the critical day, it's clear neither Billy nor Jonathan knows what she's decided. And she's known all along that Billy, at least, was aware of Josh's plan. So if she'd made a firm decision before that day, she almost certainly would have told him. Why not?

Chapter 1, A Dream Dispelled... The opening dream? That was one of the scenarios I'd fantasized about, a way Jeffrey might actually come back. But it works much better as a dream. An "it was all a dream" sequence would be a cheat if Reva wasn't really going to be reunited with him. But in this story, she will be.

Later, my intent: Reva feels almost guilty about still caring so much for Jeffrey, to whom she'd been married for less than a year. She thinks it's a situation in which a person should be expected to move on, and she'll be seen as behaving strangely if she can't. But I'll establish in a later fic that Josh is fully aware of the uniqueness of this case, and expects that even if they remarry, Jeffrey will be a "third presence in the bed with them" for the rest of their lives.

Chapter 2, Doubt, Distress, Decision... I think Shayne's and Jonathan's very different worries ring true...and would surprise a reader. In particular, how far off the mark Reva's assumptions were! She'd thought she knew what both sons would want: Shayne would want her to go with Josh, and Jonathan would want her to turn him down. In fact, different though their concerns were, neither of them would have been able to pick one choice over the other.

In the third section of this chapter, I had to express my opinion of that awful green dress! For all I know, Kim Zimmer may have loved it, and thousands of her fans may be aware she loved it. (But if that's the case, Kim needs her eyes examined.) Hating the dress as I did, I think I made good story use of it. I make another, hopefully surprising, use of it in the later fic "The View From the Lighthouse Steps." And I'm pleased with the way I ended this chapter. In the finale, I couldn't see whether Reva was still wearing a wedding ring; the director may have chosen camera angles that would leave it in doubt.

Chapter 3, Dreams Can Come True... I think the show's producers went too far in aging Colin for these scenes. The child they used looked - at least to me - more like a 3-year-old than the 17-month-old he should have been. (The show's finale aired on Sept. 18, 2009; I decided to think of its "One Year Later" segment as taking place exactly one year after that date.) I tried to write him as a 17-month-old.

I initially misremembered the finale, and thought they'd put Colin in a proper car seat in the "back seat" of the truck. I later realized there was no "back seat," and Colin was just stuck in between Josh and Reva in the cab - almost certainly not in a car seat of any kind. That may have been why they used an older child. But even the one they used should have been in a car seat! I changed my opening to make clear where he was, and included an excuse for their thinking he'd be safe without a car seat.

Having Reva put both wedding rings on that chain around her neck was, of course, my idea. Jeffrey had left his for her to find on an "old lantern" - and while he was away, before she accepted that he was dead, she'd kept that lighted lantern in her window every night, so he'd see it if he was coming home. (A reference to the original significance of the show's title: a light always lit in the window of a kindly minister, to welcome any parishioner who sought guidance.)

Chapter 4, Denouement... From a literary point of view, this chapter is the most problematic. Strictly in terms of effective, gripping writing, I should have kept it brief. Half the length it is! But here's where my desire for realism kicked in. Soap operas, written in haste, tend to leave questions unanswered - and often unanswerable, in any plausible way. I was determined to avoid that - to use the approach of a show like CSI, where every t has to be crossed and every i dotted. (As one example: I don't remember the show's having provided any explanation of the dead body seen in Jeffrey's plane.)

Re my ending: From the time I learned the show had been cancelled, I'd hoped it would end with Josh having returned to the ministry...to come full circle, because it had begun as a series about a minister.

And I had what I think was the good idea of pairing Jonathan and Ava because both those young people had been forced to cope with horrific losses, and find the strength to go on with their lives. Jonathan's first love, his wife Tammy, had been killed in the course of a bungled attempt on Jonathan's own life, ordered by the late Alan Spaulding. Ava had given birth to a son, Max, who died in infancy. Both the men who were in her life at that time, Remy Boudreau (the baby's father) and Bill Lewis, had moved on and had happy marriages. Ava should be older than Jonathan, but I'm imagining the age difference as only six or seven years - irrelevant, at this point in their lives.

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Homecoming

I had two purposes in writing this fic. One was to address criticism I'd seen - that it had been completely wrongheaded for GL to show one of its intended heroes "hunting" an adversary, sniping from a rooftop (in a warehouse neighborhood, where it was clear no innocents would be in harm's way). I dealt with that by mentioning Jeffrey's having first tried to make a citizen's arrest of Edmund in North Carolina, and putting my own spin on it. The "hunt" that placed Jeffrey himself in so much danger was necessary; but it wouldn't have been, if he'd "acted like a thug" in North Carolina.

About that danger... This story provides more detail about what happened in Nicaragua. Jeffrey's ordeal was worse than he'd implied when he first described it to Reva and Josh. And he'd had to cope with a language barrier; the Central American Indians who'd helped him, to the best of their ability, didn't understand either English or Spanish.

The main purpose of this fic, however, was to show a reunion of lovers who aren't kids, who have to battle middle-aged fears and feelings of insecurity.

Really, the whole problem is that Jeffrey is physically debilitated...and knows how old he is (51, I'm guessing). He'd actually performed just as well, in "skilled-operative" mode, as he would have when he was twenty years younger. If he'd been in his early thirties, he would have laughed off the fatigue he's experiencing now, along with the aches and pains. He would even have laughed off any temporary impotence, sure he'd be okay after a good night's sleep. But knowing he's in his early fifties, he's a mess.

Poor Reva is a mess, too. (She's 55.) She's frightened when he doesn't initiate sex quickly, once they're in the shower or in bed together. To get this out in the open, more bluntly than I would in a fanfic: Reva is overweight. In my fictional universe, she's overweight because when she endured one illness after another, doctors hounded her to keep her weight up, and she overdid it. But the weight itself can't be the problem: this man was passionately in love with her less than 15 months ago, liked her middle-aged body just fine, and she hasn't changed significantly since then. And it's not that he'd forgotten their love while he was away: he'd hugged, kissed, and groped her passionately after they met on the road.

Before she'd actually taken her clothes off...

She conceives the notion that while they were apart, he'd clung to some "idealized image" of her. And now, she won't be able to measure up.

The truth, of course, is simply that he was running on adrenalin earlier in the day...and it's worn off.

But they talk. They figure out what the problem is, rediscover their closeness. And when they relax, and agree that their having or not having sex doesn't matter...it comes.

And they are two kids again, at least for this night. Kids having a blast!

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Surface With a Splash

I had three purposes in writing this fic. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Reva had been, almost exclusively, my viewpoint character in the first two fics. I thought it would be interesting to see how a different character, an "outsider," would view the goings-on with her and Jeffrey during - as it turned out - the next day and a half.

2. I'd always been annoyed by everyone in the finale's seeming to have forgotten about the threat from Edmund. So I thought I should write something that would, at least, explain it - actually spell out the idea that most of the community had come to believe Dinah had killed the real Edmund.

3. I'd indicated Jeffrey would be DA again a year after his return...but could I justify that? If he'd come back to town in mid-September, in less than robust health, could he plausibly mount a campaign and win a November election? Would there even be a race for DA that year? How did Springfield choose its DAs, anyway? Having installed him in office (grins), I had to figure out how he'd gotten there!

Obviously, I made Frank my viewpoint character. I think that worked very well.

And I was able, succinctly, to make my point about what the community believed.

But I had to do a lot of research to get Jeffrey into the DA's office. And I'm still not sure I haven't violated canon.

I wasn't watching the show when he first became DA. I'd quit watching it in 1998, because I saw the clone storyline as an unforgivable insult to viewers' intelligence. I only resumed watching in January 2009. And then I had a devil of a time trying to figure out what Jeffrey's job was! At some point, I grasped that he either was or had been DA.

I learned, of course, that he had a background in covert ops - and in that capacity, had been a surgically-created double for the late Prince Richard Winslow. I was told that in some GL forum. And I think the person who answered my question said it had been established that he'd been badly injured or wounded, and needed reconstructive surgery in any case.

Before writing this fic, I read enough episode synopses to become convinced that he must have left the DA's office to accept a position offered him by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. But the timing, and the nature of his job, were still as clear as mud.

I'd assumed the position of DA was always elective, everywhere. But the episode synopses seemed to be saying that when Jeffrey became DA, it involved his accepting an appointment he'd been offered. To replace an elected official who'd been removed from office for some reason? Or was the position always filled by appointment? I couldn't find answers...but the appointment came soon after the election of a new mayor, Doris Wolfe.

I consulted Wikipedia, and learned that DAs can indeed be appointed. In some states, the whole state has to fill these positions the same way, be it by election or appointment. But in others, the manner of filling them can be determined at the county level. Appointment by a city mayor? Well, I wasn't sure who'd offered Jeffrey the job; perhaps the county executive was elected at the same time as Springfield's mayor. Or perhaps, in their county, the mayor of the county seat always doubled as county executive.

For this fic, I decided to assume Springfield's DA had always been appointed. Now that had changed - the county had voted to make the position elective. So a new DA was being chosen in November 2010. Jeffrey wouldn't have been in town in time to file as a candidate; and he wasn't in good enough health for active campaigning, anyway. But when he "surfaced with a splash," he certainly could be elected as a write-in! And voters would have learned enough to be confident that by the time he was sworn in, he'd be physically able to serve.

The ending of this fic... Colin has "golden curls" because we got a glimpse of them in the finale. And Jeffrey's "That's the plan" line is the last thing he said to Jonathan in their telephone conversation in the next-to-last episode. I've always thought of GL as having a two-episode finale, because both episodes - barring the "One Year Later" segment - take place on the same day.

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The View From the Lighthouse Steps

In this fic, Josh is the viewpoint character. I had two goals: to establish what happened after Reva fainted on seeing Jeffrey, and to show how Josh reacted to all this. I'm a fan who liked all these characters, and I think my writing reflects that.

Chapter 1, The Steps... Josh's belief that Reva only became romantically involved with Jeffrey because he'd married her sister Cassie? I wasn't watching the show at that time. But I've read online that Kim Zimmer has said she pressed for a Reva/Jeffrey relationship because the writers had paired Josh with Cassie.

In part, Kim may have been concerned about her character's being "backburnered." It may have been about the same time as something else I've read. She told the producers that if they wanted Reva to become just a supporting character, that was fine...but they'd have to get someone else to play her, because she needed to work more!

That may not, however, be the whole story. The longtime portrayer of Cassie had left the show, and the role had been recast. Kim argued that sisters Reva and Cassie had become so close that Cassie never would have "stolen Reva's man." The new actress couldn't have been expected to complain about the scripts; she had no way of knowing the material was out of character. But while it would be hard for viewers to accept a new Cassie in any case, the writers were making it harder by having her do something the "real" Cassie never would have done.

The bottom line here is the same: Kim pressed for a new relationship for her character because she was unhappy with the direction the show was going. But her unhappiness may have involved more than just the prospect of being "backburnered."

The suggestion that Reva might be some sort of "goddess" foreshadows what we'll learn about her name in "Strangers On a Plane." Coincidence? Or is anything, ever, a mere "coincidence"?

Chapter 2, The Road... It was at this point in my storytelling that I realized Jeffrey's guitar should be important. The mention of it here foreshadows the use I'll make of it in "Reach Out and Touch." (Actor Bradley Cole is a musician, a terrific guitarist - so of course, that was Jeffrey's hobby!)

Chapter 3, Atop All the Steps... On a light note, I couldn't resist having a character think, "Time for me to get out of Dodge." I love that line, because it reminds me of a context in which I once saw it, that was unintentionally hilarious. It was in a fanfic - in another fandom, not this one. To begin with, the character thought about the desirability of his "getting out of dodge." That in itself suggested that the author didn't understand where the expression came from. But on top of that, the character needing to "get out of dodge" was actually in...ancient Greece! (And no, he wasn't a time traveler.)

Thoughts about the lake... I want to believe it's one of the Great Lakes, with Canada on the opposite shore. I was tempted to have Josh reflect that while this body of water isn't the Atlantic, another country does lie beyond it, and that makes him think of the distance from which baby Henry had to come to wind up in Springfield. But I decided that in my universe, I'd prefer not to establish even that much about Springfield's location.

By the time the show ended, the producers wanted viewers to think of its "Springfield" as being in Illinois. A fan vote had decided it at some point. I've read that in the finale, James Spaulding's car had Illinois plates. (But I tried to read what was on those plates, and couldn't. I probably wasn't alone.) The "Springfield Township" sign in the opening titles belonged to a community in New Jersey; but the real Springfield, Illinois has a suburb that was once known by that name, so city residents could, not implausibly, drive by such a sign.

But I'm unhappy with that choice. Springfield, Illinois is the state capital; I think long-ago episodes indicated that GL's Springfield wasn't the capital of whatever state it was in. More significantly: Springfield, Illinois has a lake - with the unimaginative name "Lake Springfield" - that's used for recreation and boating. But according to Wikipedia, it's an "artificial lake," owned by a power company. It was created in part to serve as the city's source of drinking water. Hardly a place anyone would be scattering cremated remains! Even if "Edmund's" ashes were, like Alan Spaulding's, scattered on the beach, some could have blown into the water. Moreover, I can't imagine a lighthouse ever having been deemed necessary. Rightly or wrongly, I can only picture a once-functional lighthouse on the shore of one of the Great Lakes (or, of course, an ocean).

There is a "Springfield Township" in the northwestern tip of Pennsylvania. It's probably near - perhaps even on the coast of - Lake Erie. It's too small a community to match up demographically with GL's Springfield, and I have no reason to think it has a lighthouse. But I still prefer to think of that, geographically, as the show's location. It's better than imagining Illinois has two separate cities named Springfield!

Addendum, 5/29/12: I've just viewed SoapClassics' DVDs of the last two weeks of the show. Perhaps because I'm specifically looking for it, I can now see the word "Illinois" on James Spaulding's plates. And in one of the previous week's episodes, Natalia's son Rafe is carrying luggage that proclaims him a Chicago Cubs fan. Given that much evidence, I will now think of GL's Springfield as being in Illinois. But I'll deny the existence of the real Springfield in this universe, and imagine the fictional one being on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Getting back to my fanfic... My "what-if" speculations are, in part, a dig at the show's writers for having left the characters in a situation with so much potential for heartbreak.

Some of the "what-ifs" might have been developed more. Perhaps my writing could have been better. But I wasn't sure how far I should go. Might a Josh who hadn't "found Joshua" have morphed into another Roger Thorpe (a long-ago GL villain) - actually tried to kidnap Reva and/or Colin, as Roger did his estranged wife and their child? Probably not, but I wouldn't rule it out...

I tried to show Josh displaying enough religious feeling to hint at his destined return to the ministry. And I'm pleased with his final thoughts about Reva. The song he thinks of - We Belong Together - is the one we heard throughout the closing shots of the TV finale.

Addendum, 5/29/12: But sadly, that song is heard only in the broadcast version and tapes or DVDs made directly from it. On the SoapClassics DVD, other music is substituted, probably because of a copyright problem.

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Strangers On a Plane

Here again, I had two main purposes in mind. I wanted, finally, to write a fic in which Jeffrey would be the viewpoint character. And I also wanted to bring back one of my favorite characters from the past...Kyle Sampson.

First, re Jeffrey's tortured thoughts on the plane... I wanted to let the reader know what he planned to do when he reached Springfield. And also, to show that he'd come up with a couple ideas about Jonathan that had at least helped keep him sane. (Ironically, neither of his theories to explain their loss of contact was as simple as the truth.) But I also wanted to convey the horror he felt when he thought - quite plausibly - that Edmund might have had all the children kidnapped, and his killing Edmund might have cost the family any chance of learning what had become of them.

Beyond that, I planted a hint in this fic that he has more guilt feelings about Jonathan than I have, thus far, spelled out.

At this point, I'll shift to discussing Kyle Sampson...

All those years ago (mid-1980s), I was rooting for Reva and Kyle. Kim and actor Larkin Malloy appeared together at what was then my favorite mall - they attracted a huge crowd, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. Much as I've always loved Josh, I hated seeing Reva's story with Kyle end.

I was left with the impression - wrong, I think now - that Kyle was still alive somewhere, in an "irreversible" coma.

After we learned GL was being cancelled, I was in a forum where the question was being posed, what characters would we most like to see return before the end? I realized that the only past character I wanted to see was Kyle Sampson.

But someone told me he was officially "dead." The basis for that was said to be a script in which Billy had told Josh, "You're the only living brother I have now."

Of course, "death" in soaps isn't all that permanent (grins). But still, I pretty much gave up hope of seeing him again.

It was only in that forum discussion that I learned (I assume it's correct) that Kyle's father, Cardinal Malone, had died in the plane crash that left Kyle comatose. And while I'd always known Kyle's pregnant fiancee had died, it was only then I learned that she was meant to be the "Janet" who'd figured in some previous GL stories: had been involved with Ed Bauer (father of Rick), and later had an unhappy marriage to his wife Holly's brother Ken.

Many years ago, I had my own fantasy scenario for what happened to Reva after she drove off that never-to-be-forgotten bridge. If I'd known there was such a thing as fan fiction, I would have begun writing it then. In my fantasy, Reva regained her senses somewhere, but couldn't bring herself to go home because she'd caused the accident that had left Samantha Marler - the girl her son Dylan loved - paralyzed. Instead, she went to Rome to pour out her heart to Cardinal Malone (who I thought was still alive). She found him caring for a semi-comatose Kyle...and she blamed herself for Kyle's condition, too. She stayed in Rome, nursed Kyle back to health, realized he was the man she truly loved. And then he shattered her world by announcing he'd decided to become a priest!

All that was long ago. But in writing this fic, I couldn't resist "resurrecting" Kyle, and bringing him back as...a priest.

I stretched a bit to have Kyle describe Josh as always having been prepared to "swoop in" when Reva broke up with someone else. Would he have seen it as a pattern, that long ago? Perhaps not. But it's a minor rewriting of history, at worst. Josh certainly had "swooped in" when she became disillusioned with Kyle!

Both Jeffrey and Kyle learn something of value from their encounter.

Jeffrey's eyes are opened to a possible threat he's been denying - that he may have lost Reva to Josh. He couldn't have coped with recognizing it before now. But at this point, he can. And he has time to prepare himself, so he'll comport himself well - have the strength to think first and foremost of her feelings - when he briefly thinks he has lost her. She would have turned to him in any case; but his behaving as he does will win him her respect, and Josh's. Most important: he'll be able to respect himself.

Kyle realizes he's been right, in leaning more and more toward the conclusion that he shouldn't be a priest. The feelings suddenly reawakened in him - feelings for Reva - drive him to acknowledge that truth. But he'll learn she is still with "Jeff." And he'll respect that, especially since he knows there's a baby in the picture.

It was only after I posted this fic that I realized I'd created a "mirror image." Kyle will be leaving the clergy just as his long-ago rival, Josh, is returning to it!

And on the topic of religion... Yes, the name "Reva" is that of a minor Hindu goddess. Which should make the reader wonder whether Josh really did see something out of the ordinary near the lighthouse that day...

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Reach Out and Touch

I'm pleased with all these fics, but this may be my favorite. There are two chapters, with Reva and Jeffrey each being the viewpoint character for one of them. Each chapter opens with the same relevant quote from GL's beloved former theme song, Hold On to Love.

I had two purposes in writing this.

First, I wanted to show that neither Reva nor Jeffrey could snap back to normal as quickly as they'd expected, after all they'd been through. If they didn't have each other, they'd both require treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But they're strong individuals, a strong couple. And for each of them, having the other's support when needed is enough.

I'd also thought of reasons why both of them would be troubled by guilt feelings. For Reva, it's her having let searchers quit looking for Jeffrey along the North Carolina coast; she now knows a discredited witness really had seen him. For Jeffrey, it's his having tricked Edmund into surfacing briefly in Bosnia by making him think his dead daughter was alive; he believes that led Edmund to target Jonathan and Sarah. Reva's son and granddaughter could have been killed!

I'm not sure whether I've violated any canon here. I went with certain assumptions: that neither Jeffrey nor Reva had known Jonathan was in North Carolina; that Jeffrey hadn't known why Edmund was going there; and that Alan had never succeeded in locating Jonathan. I may be in error on some or all of those points. But if I am, I suspect very few readers would realize it.

Reva and Jeffrey have separate, frightening crises...and help each other through them. Jeffrey's beloved guitar provides some happy moments. (In the show, the police did break the guitar, and the heartsick Reva said she'd have it repaired. It was also established that most of Jeffrey's belongings were being stored in the basement.) They both confess the mistakes they so regret. And each of them assures the other they did nothing wrong.

They wind up, relaxed and happy, adjourning to "the most romantic spot in the world"...their kitchen floor. Where Jeffrey - supposedly on a wacky impulse - had made passionate love to Reva before leaving, ostensibly, to buy those famous nails.

Fortunately, they've done the deed - again - before the baby monitor reminds them they're not alone!