Man, Will I Be Glad When This Day Is Over

I hate Thanksgiving.  I always have.  I have virtually nothing but bad memories of Thanksgivings past.  I do not eat traditional Thanksgiving food for the most part, and I grew up in a Christian (Read: NO BOOZE) family so there was nothing to “numb the senses” or “dull the pain.”

I rarely spent Thanksgiving with Dead Beat Dad, and I was never really unhappy about that because the traditional meal at his house was something he learned about when he was a boy and Papa was working for Billy Graham and traveling the world.  I don’t actually know if it’s the official name for it but Dead Beat Dad always referred to it as African Chop but looks nothing like this. No, African Chop in the Dead Beat Dad house is some strange concoction of foods that amounts to a plate of white rice with a thick gravy composed of shredded chicken, chicken stock and peanut butter (yes you read that right) poured over it.  there was also a sickening array of items to top the plate off.  Everything from chopped, raw fresh fruits and vegetables to multiple kinds of nuts and toasted or raw shredded coconut.  Honest to God, I feel like I could barf just describing it and I don’t think I’ve had it in over 20 years.

Thanksgiving at Scornful Mother‘s house wasn’t a whole hell of a lot better.  She always thought that Thanksgiving should be the traditional meal, which I understand but since I don’t really care for any of the food it wasn’t really all that much better.  What it was, for me at least, was an extended week-end of concentrated time with an unhappy family.  Even Ex Con Older Brother who pretty much lived in his bedroom and hated the rest of us would “come out and play”, which to him, usually meant tormenting me.  There would be little or no food to be had for most of the day while Scornful Mother “slaved away” in the kitchen for the big meal which would come around 4:00.

This was a really brilliant strategy on Scornful Mother‘s part as the tradition always started with Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast…and only Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.  So she’d feed us sugary carbs for breakfast and then expect us to not complain about being hungry and not fight amongst ourselves while she cooked all day and didn’t feed us for six to eight hours.  Then she’d feed us Turkey with Stuffing.  I don’t like Turkey, but I love stuffing (More straight carbs.)  There would be jellied Cranberries out of a can, yuck, yams, double yuck; green bean casserole, yuck and yuck (I don’t like green beans, on their own or in a casserole); and rolls or cornbread, I enjoy those, but again, carbs.  The only thing that I consistently love about Thanksgiving is the Pumpkin Pie.  And if you’re like me, you like a little bit of pumpkin pie with your Cool Whip.  And then as if all this weren’t bad enough, Scornful Mother always used the enormous amount of left overs as an excuse to not make real meals for the rest of the week-end.

The only part of this day that has ever held any kind of appeal to me, beisdes the pumpkin pie, is the cinnamon roll breakfast and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  So you can imagine my surprise, this morning, when I was sitting in my cold apartment, with my blanket over me watching the parade and eating my pan of cinnamon rolls, when I suddenly found myself fighting back tears.  I can’t really explain what happened other than to say that I’m going through a lot of changes in my life and my emotions are starting to rise to the surface a bit more.  It’s not really that I miss my family because I really don’t.  I wish I was able to spend a little more time with CPA Sis and her family, but I’m not really that bothered that about it either.  I do not miss spending time with Dead Beat Dad or Scornful Mother and I know that spending time with any of them on occasions such as this only serve to make family relations more tense.  I definitely do not miss those events.

I guess the tears came from the rush of familiarity.  For a moment I could imagine myself, nine years old, sitting on the floor in front of the television watching the parade and knowing the cinnamon rolls were in the oven.  I could smell them baking and I could imagine what they were going to taste like, and since the only time Scornful Mother ever made them was Thanksgiving and Christmas days, it was special to me.  I used to love to get up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I don’t know why.  It’s cheesy and the hosts, always the Today Show hosts as I recall, delivered line after corn-ball line about the floats and acts in the parade.  I don’t know what I thought was going to happen but I always watched with excitement and expectation, of what, I do not know.  No one else ever had an interest in the parade but Scornful Mother always made CPA Sis and Ex Con Older Brother leave me alone and let me watch it.  I was still young and naive enough to think that this was going to be a special day, but in reality, I only had until noon, when the parade was over, before the hellishness would really set in.

Watching the parade this morning I realized what ludicrous propagandizing it really is.  It really amounts to a three hour sales pitch for TV shows, and musicians new CDs, etc., interspersed with poorly written comic lines delivered by decidedly unfunny MCs.    Soon I was in sugar shock (living alone there was no one to help eat the cinnamon rolls), over the nostalgia of the moment and the tears were gone.  Gone, but not forgotten.

CPA Sis, Mr. Fixit and Precious Nieces #1 & #2, are visiting Scornful Mother for the holiday and while Mr. Fixit does some more renovations of Scornful Mother‘s house.  Last night I received an e-mail from CPA Sis:

Tomorrow should be interesting.  I had a nice little fight with Scornful Mother this evening.  It’s a fairly long story.  Suffice it to say that Scornful Mother thinks we don’t communicate well enough with her and Mr. Fixit thinks she is judgmental and ungrateful and incapable of accepting any responsibility for problems and I think they both are being difficult and intolerant children. Mr. Fixit is ready to leave and never come back.  I am not far from the same position, but where would we go?  We can’t all stay at Mr. Fixit‘s parents’ apartment for the next 5 or 6 days.  Not to mention the fact that that leaves her with a house that still is unfinished-not that she has the money to finish it.  I really hate feeling like I have to be responsible!

Anyway, I need to get back to Precious Nieces #1 & #2.  I just needed to vent for a few minutes.

Man am I glad I’m not there.  Scornful Mother asked me to come back for Thanksgiving and I declined.  Definitely the right choice.

Despite my lack of desire to spend this time with my family, I can’t help but remember that it is a holiday on which families come together.  It’s a Thursday on which I feel perfectly healthy and I’m not at work, reminds me it’s a holiday.  It’s a Thursday and my otherwise bustling and noisy neighborhood is virtually silent, reminding me that all the people who are normally outside my house making the noise, have gone away or gathered in-doors, to celebrate the day and spend time together.

I receive only one invitation, each year, and it’s to join Green M&M and her family.  When I first moved to California, I accepted this invitation a few times, but I never really enjoyed myself.  It’s a noisy and chaotic environment which I really do not enjoy, and I don’t particularly care for a number of the family members that gather, so now I decline the offer.  Come to think of it, the offer wasn’t even extended this year.  Green M&M knows I’ll decline, so I guess she figures, why bother?

At times like these, I often think about the TV show Friends.  I loved that show.  Six individuals who are friends, with no readily accessible family to speak of (except of course for Ross and Monica) who make a family of themselves and spending the holiday together.  I, of course, would be the Chandler of the group, (doesn’t like thanksgiving food…  oh, and gay) but I would really like to have a handful of close knit friends who view each other as family and who actually enjoy spending these times together.  I’d like to have somewhere to go on days like today where I don’t have to feel like I’m intruding on some other families day, and where I’m not burdened by my own family.  At the vary least, I’d like to be able to feel like I’m alone today, because I chose to be, not because I have to be.

I’ll be glad when this day is over, largely so I won’t have to deal with all of this any more, but even more so because there is one, truly wonderful thing, that I absolutely love about Thanksgiving.  If today is Thanksgiving, then tomorrow is the day I get to spend with Eve, and that, dear blog readers, is what I am the most thankful for!

Batman’s Return

About a year ago, I had a dream about Batman and the Mrs.

I was sitting in the corner of a dark, noisy and crowded Cantina reading a book and eating a burrito.  There were neon signs all around advertising Coronas, Pacificoes and Tacates, and there were fluorescent representations of donkey shaped piñatas and sombreros and cactuses (cacti?) on the walls.  Suddenly what little light there was for me to read my book was blocked by a figure.  I looked up and there he was.  He was gorgeous.  Much the way I remember him, and yet, somehow different.  I couldn’t put my finger on it at first.

There was a difference in his presence.  A maturity that wasn’t there before.  An intensity in his gaze at me.  He greeted me with an exuberant handshake and before anything else happened Mrs. Batman approached.  My heart sank a bit.  I was happy to see him and I didn’t want to be holding a grudge against her but it was hard not to experience those negative feelings and emotions from so long ago.  Mrs. Batman said hello, and I offered them both the seats across my table from me.

I realized, there wasn’t just a difference in him.  There was a difference in both of them, in the way they were together.  They didn’t touch.  Batman didn’t put his arm around Mrs. Batman.  He didn’t put his arm on the back of her chair, or over a shoulder.  He leaned forward on the table and focused his attention directly on me.  Mrs. Batman, didn’t lean toward him.  She didn’t put a hand on his leg.  She didn’t glance lovingly in his direction.  All the tell tale signs of a couple in love were absent.

They didn’t look unhappy, in fact they looked very much the opposite.  Like they were content with their lives and the directions they had gone in.  As I looked at them and noticed these changes, I also noticed that there had been some definite physical changes in Batman.  He was leaner.  Not thinner; God knows there was no room for that.  Just fitter.  The gut was completely gone, replaced by a complete absence of shirt pucker.  His clothes weren’t skin tight but they left little question as to his condition.  Where once there had been a gut, and then, in Stockton, a slight lump, now there was nothing but a flush, smooth line from puffed up chest to his belt.  His hair was shorter with more of a spiky look, and he had bleached highlights I hadn’t noticed until he sat down and the light was above his head and not behind.  The glasses were gone and in their place his beautiful, intensely blue eyes as blue as the Caribbean sea on a perfect day, and they were focused directly on me, looking into my eyes.  And then I saw the most notable physical changes.  His ears were pierced.  One small, simple hoop in his left ear, but in his right, he had the matching hoop, with a stud next to it.  He also had a bar running through the top of his ear lobe, and a small hoop through the cartilage just in front of his ear canal.  In addition, there was a hint of a tattoo, showing beneath the bottom of his short sleeve on his right arm.

“What happened to you?” I asked aghast.

“What do you mean?” was his response.

“Your ears.  The Tattoo.  Mrs. B was always opposed to those things.”  I couldn’t contain my complete surprise.

“I still don’t like it,” was her simple reply.

“What I do with my body, stopped being up to her a few years ago,” he said matter of factly.  “We’re divorced.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  There’s was never, by any means, a rock solid marriage, but they’d had a mutual determination to stay together forever.  The two of them just looked at me as though he had just informed me of the time and not that their marriage had ended.  And then he continued.  “We split up about three years ago,” he said.  “It was a difficult time for us but we worked through it and for the sake of the kids (they had two the last I knew) we’ve worked out a deal.  We still live together in the same house, just separate bedrooms, and we are friends.”

“Wow.  Well, that’s really great that you could do that, but uh, wh-what’s happening tonight?  You’re out together?  Without the kids?”

“Oh,” piped up Mrs. Batman, “I was actually just dropping him off here, and thought I’d come in and get some dinner to take back with me.”

“My car is in the shop right now, and I’m supposed to be meeting someone here.  Mrs. B was nice enough to give me a ride.”

“Oh,” I said, some what deflated.  “Well, it was good to see you.  I don’t want to keep you from your…  Date?  Meeting?  Friends?”  I had become quite engaged in the conversation and was really enjoying the time with and attention from my long lost friend, and so I was quite disappointed to realize it would be cut short.

“Anyway, I need to get going,” Said Mrs. B, as she was standing up from the table.  “It’s nice to see you again, Kevin.  Maybe I’ll be seeing more of you,” she said.  It came out laced with hidden meaning I did not yet know.  Why would she be seeing more of me?  Batman and I were no longer friends and I didn’t really think their divorce was going to change that.  Especially not if they still lived in the same house.  Before I could say anything, she turned toward Batman, shot him a knowing glance and walked away.

I heard a chuckle from his direction and as I turned to look at him, I realized my mouth was hanging wide open betraying my shock and amazement at the whole thing.  As he moved over to the seat in front of me I asked, “What are you laughing at?”

“Just you.” he replied, smiling.  “Obviously, this all catches you very much by surprise.”

“Uh yeah, you could say that!  I’d love to hear the rest of the story, but I guess you better go find your party.”  I answered, disappointed.

“Eh.  He doesn’t know what I look like.  Never seen him before in my life.  I think I’d rather stay here and catch up with you, if that’s OK?”

“Um–  OK.  Yeah.  I’d love that but what am I missing here?  You’re meeting a guy here you’ve never met before and who wouldn’t know you if he saw you, and whatever the reason it’s unimportant enough to ditch him and hang out with me?”

Batman just laughed and smiled and stared into my eyes.  “That about sums it up,” he said.  “Look, Kevin, the reason why Mrs. B and I split up is because after you were gone from my life, I realized something I never knew before.  Our friendship meant a lot more to me than I ever realized, and in ways I never realized.”  His perpetual grin slowly drained from his face and where just a few minutes prior he had been up-beat and joyful, suddenly he was somber, his eyes were moistening and welling up and there was a quiver in his voice.  “After we stopped being friends and I realized what I’d lost and the part I played in it, I also realized that there was a hole in my heart because of it.  Over time, I realized that what I was missing, wasn’t just your friendship.  I had been in love with you, and I didn’t even realize it.”

With that he reached across the table and gingerly placed his hand on top of mine and looked deeply into my eyes for my reaction.  I was frozen in place.  I could barely feel his warm, soft hand on top of mine.  I couldn’t form any words with my mouth and for a moment it seemed as if we were the only two people in the room.  The music was gone.  The voices that had been straining to be heard over the din were gone.  There was nothing but the sound of my own heart beating in my ears as I struggled to process what had just happened.

And then just like that, it all came rushing back.  The noise, the vibrations, the physical sense of all the people around us.  I blinked, and a single tear fell from my eye and ran down my face.

“Please say something,” he spoke.  “Whatever you have to say, I can take it.  I just need to hear your reaction.”

“I- I never thought–  I mean- I…  I was in love with you too.  It’s part of why the situation was so difficult for me living with you and your family.  I wanted to be friends and I wanted to be accepted by your family so that we could continue to be together in the only way I ever thought we would, but I secretly loved you and was so jealous of all that they had of you, that I could not have.”

There was a long pause as we both just stared into each other’s eyes, not knowing what would come next.  And then I spoke, but the words seemed like they were someone else’s.  I had never imagined this moment could be possible so I certainly had no idea how I could or would react.  “Would you like to go back to my apartment to talk?  I think the peace and quiet would do us both some good.”

I opened the front door of my apartment and looked around, glad that the cleaning lady had been in.  Stepping aside, I held the door as Batman walked past me to explore.  I closed the door behind him and when I turned around, he was right there, looking me in the eyes, and he put his hands on my shoulders.  “I don’t think I want to talk,” he said, as he pushed me against the door and tenderly kissed my lips.   He was so unashamed, uninhibited it took me by surprise.

I’d never done this before.  I’d never brought a man who, for these intents and purposes, was a stranger back to my home.  I’d never immediately launched into a physical encounter barely after the door was locked.  I’d never locked lips (or anything else) with a friend.  In fact, I’d never locked lips (or anything else) with any man, ever, before in my life.  Of course, I had fantasized about it many times before.  I had known for some time that it was something that appealed to me, but it had only been a year or two since I’d finally accepted and stopped denying my sexuality, and thus far, I had never physically acted on those desires.

Batman on the other hand, seemed to know exactly what he was doing.  He started out tenderly, gently, almost like he knew this was a first for me.  And then his kisses became more intense, more emphatic, and before I knew it, I was responding in kind.  I reached out for him and wrapped my arms around his back.  My right hand was on the back of his neck and my left hand was around his waist as I held on to him almost for dear life, afraid this moment wasn’t real, that it would end suddenly.  I tilted my head into his kiss and as I parted my lips to kiss him harder I felt his soft, warm tongue slide between them and press against mine.

I felt his hands pressing my shoulders against the door as he dove into my mouth and then I felt him press away from me just a few inches as his hands slid down to the center of my chest and grab the placket of my button down shirt.  In one swift moment he ripped his hands outward, popping every button off my shirt exposing my chest and abdomen to him.  It was every bit as erotic as I dreamed it would be.

As I heard the buttons bouncing off the walls and along the floor, I felt his strong arms wrap around my waist under my shirt and then, while continuing to kiss me passionately, I felt him lift me off my feet and carry me over to the end of the couch where he put me down and shoved me over the arm and down on to the cushions.  And then, with one swift motion he crossed his arms in front of him, grabbed hold of the hem of his pull-over shirt and slipped it right off and over his head, revealing the rock hard abs and perfectly toned, smooth chest that I knew were under there just waiting to come out.  He still wore his military dog tags which nestled nicely between his hard, brown nipples.  And as he looked down at me and grinned, I inhaled sharply, taking in this beautiful specimen of a man that stood before me.

And then he pounced!  He climbed on top of the couch, on top of me and began running his tongue all over my upper body.  My smooth, pale chest and abs were his for the taking, and take them he did.  As he was licking, kissing, nibbling and stroking my body, I could feel my erection beginning.  Just a slight heat at first, but soon, it was pressing against my Calvin Klein’s and my jeans and he could feel it pressing against his chest.  As he was kissing my six pack and sticking his tongue in my belly button, he looked up at me, made eye contact and smiled.  He opened his mouth wide and bared his teeth.  I was excited and nervous all at the same time, not knowing where this was going.  But it was perfectly clear, very quickly, what my friend had in mind.  He tilted his head down and grabbed hold of my belt, the part, in front of the buckle, with his teeth and began to wrestle it free.  He pulled the strap a few inches out of the buckle until it formed a small bump on my waist and then he grabbed it with his left hand, pulling the strap the rest of the way free.

My cock was rigid by now and was pressing uncomfortably against the soft fabric of my briefs and I couldn’t wait for it to be freed.  Batman feverishly worked and within a few seconds he’d unfastened my belt and the button on my pants waist and pulled the zipper down.  Then he reached up and put his fingers inside the waist band of my underwear at the corner of either hipbone and cocked his head slightly.  Without saying a word he conveyed his intent and just as he tugged on my clothes I used the slight leverage of my feet on arm of the couch to raise my ass off the couch cushions making it possible for him to pull them down and away from my now fully engorged penis.  Thwack!  As he was standing up and pulling my lower body attire the rest of the way down to my feet, my erection snapped out of the restraints of my underwear and slapped into my quivering abdomen.  Batman began to laugh as he was struggling to pull my pants all the way off, not remembering I still had my shoes on.

Laughing as well, I sat up and grabbed his wrists.  As I slammed my body back against the cushions I pulled him back over the arm of the couch and down on top of me.  I doubled over slightly as he came down on top of my solid member laying out on my stomach, but I didn’t care about the pain.  I wanted to be in contact with his hot flesh!  Again, I placed my hand on the back of his head and pulled his mouth down onto mine.  This time there was no time for tenderness.  I needed to feel his skin against mine.  I needed to touch his warm lips and probing tongue and for a few minutes I explored every part of his mouth, his chin and his neck and shoulders.  And then I became the forgetful one as I found some leverage and pushed to roll over on top of him, not remembering that we were on the couch and there was no where to roll to.

My downstairs neighbors probably had a start when they heard the thud on their ceiling, and for a moment I had to stop and laugh at the idea that they had no knowledge of what was happening right above their heads.  And then, there we were, Batman splayed out on the floor, pinned beneath my body.  My pants were still around my ankles and the restriction that provided had me straddling my friend, with my feet between his knees and my knees on either side of his hips.  Then I felt his own erection pressed against the inside of my naked left thigh.  He resisted slightly and I gently took hold of his wrists and pinned them above his head on the floor.  I leaned down to kiss his face and made eye contact with this beautiful creature beneath me.  I stopped abruptly and just stared into his eyes.

“What?” he asked, slightly out of breath but sounding worried.  “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know.  I just–  I guess, I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long and now that it’s here…  I just don’t want to ruin it.  I want it to be special.  Meaningful.  You know?”

He smiled so tenderly at me.  “I know,” he said.  “Here.  Get up,” he told me as he began to sit up on his own.  I climbed awkwardly off of him and sat, bare-assed, on the couch.  Batman sat up on the floor and tuned to face me.  He placed his hands on my exposed thighs and looked into my eyes.  He just looked, tenderly at me for several seconds before he said, “If you don’t want to do this, I understand.  I think it would be really beautiful though.”  I smiled slightly.  “Besides,” he said as he ran the back of his hand along my waning erection, which jumped lightly at his touch, “You do seem like you want to do this.”

I smiled.  “I do.  I really do.  Let’s just…  Let’s just make it count. OK?”

He didn’t answer.  He just smiled sweetly and then looked down at the floor.  Slowly he reached down and lifted my piled up pants from the top of my left shoe and pulled the end of the lace.  The laces came untied and he loosened them before he pulled my shoe off.  Then he gathered the material of my pants in his right hand while gently lifting my leg out of the pants leg with his left.  When my leg was free of the fabric, he used his right hand to remove my sock.  After doing the same with my right leg he uncrossed his legs and effortlessly stood up from the floor in one muscular, fluid motion.  Standing in front of me naked from the waist up, he tugged his own shoes and socks off and kicked them to the side before extending his hand to me, palm up.

I reached out and placed my hand in his and he lightly supported my weight as I stood up from the couch now completely naked and with my half mast sicking straight out in front of me and rubbing slightly on his still shrouded crotch.  “Which way is the bedroom?” he asked.  I turned to the side, took his hand in mine and led him, silently, to the bedroom door.  The sheets were fresh and the bed beautifully made, thanks, again, to the cleaning lady.  After I opened the door, Batman silently walked past me and led me to the bed.  He delicately pulled back the linens and then guided me to the edge of the bed to sit.  As I sat facing him I watched as he began to loosen the belt on his own jeans.  He unfastened his belt and his pants and slowly began to push them to the floor.

As his own solid cock sprung from his clothes I again took a sharp breath.  I’d never been in this situation before.  I’d never been in the same room with a real live hard erection that wasn’t my own, and never been about to do what I now knew was going to happen, and was certain it was what I wanted.  He stepped out of his jeans and took a step toward me, motioning with his hands for me to climb into the bed and lay back.

I carefully slid to the far side of the bed and lay my head on the pillows.  My breath was shallow and quick and I could feel the nerves rising in my stomach.  This was really happening and I was ready!  As I felt the mattress sink at the weight of Batman climbing on, I closed my eyes and waited for what was to come.  I sensed, more than felt him hovering over my hard-on and then I felt the light, moist touch of his tongue starting at the base of my cock where it meets with my balls and working it’s way slowly up to the tip where he licked the opening that was already releasing pre-cum.  And then I felt him take my cock in his hand and lift it up to his lips, while the other hand began to lightly fondle and squeeze my nuts.  Suddenly, I felt a wet warmth as my dick was engulfed in his mouth.  Slowly at first he ran his mouth, up and down, up and down running his tongue over the sensitive under-side of my engorged tip.  I couldn’t believe how incredible it felt.  Just as I knew it would, it felt like the most perfect, natural thing in the world.  Not even coming close to the sensations I’d experienced in my few previous encounters with the opposite sex.  This was as God had intended for me.

My friend continued his ministrations and I could feel my ball sack tightening as he continued to take all of my eight inches into his mouth and throat.  He was clearly quite skilled in this area, so to speak, and as my body began to stiffen and quiver, he stopped his motion, with my erection deep in his throat and began a light sucking motion that I had never experienced the likes of before!  “I’m gonna cum!” I whispered, as that was the most sound I could produce.  I expected he would pull my cock from his mouth and let me shoot my load, but instead he kept my dick deep in the back of his throat and increased the intensity of his suction.

“Unh-  uh, Ahh.  Ahhhh! AHHHHHHHH!!!” I cried out as I felt the cum leaving my body and shooting deep into his throat, nine, ten, eleven, twelve times I felt my entire body convulse as I shot load after load into his belly.  When it was done, and I was completely still, he slowly began to extract my now softening penis from his mouth, keeping his lips tight while sucking, licking and pulling every drop of cum from my spent member.    When he was done, he looked up at me and smiled.

“How was that?” he asked, knowing what the obvious response would be.

My chest and abdomen heaved as I struggled to stabilize my breathing.  “Hmmm,” was all I could muster at first.  “Tha-  That was incredible.”  A few more breaths, “Best I’ve ever experienced, for sure.”

“Well, hold on to your hat, sweet cheeks,” he told me, “‘Cause the fun has only just begun!”

I had no idea I had so much story to tell.  Stay tuned for Batman’s Return, Pt. 2, coming soon!


My nearly 92 year old Grandfather died tonight. I actually foretold his death in a dream last night. He was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, and he missed my grandmother very much. This is a good thing… Right?

I’m not sure how I feel. I have no tears. I don’t know if I’m sad or happy.

I’m confused. Sleep would be good now.. I hope I can get some.