My Alien Ally
I had a best friend, and she was an alien. She was not an alien in the gruesome sense of the word. She did not have bulging, pulsating eyes, or secrete ooze out of the tips of her fingers. She was not bald, or able to breathe out of fins, or covered in scaly skin the color of pistachio pudding. She was different in no ordinary way, and just a girl in every biological sense of the word. In truth, nobody knew she was an alien except for herself; and for me.
She worked with the rest of us. She ate the same food, she wore the same clothes – she often seemed very much the same- but she wasn’t. She was an alien. She was foreign.
She knew it best when she talked with one of them. She felt it from the look in their eyes when she shared something deep, something meaningful, and they stared back in ignorant vacancy. She knew that she spoke the same words, but not the same language. She said these things to me once with our heads under the covers and a flashlight lighting her face. I hoped to be the only person who did understand her, but I could never be sure.
Most days I think she was content with the knowledge of her otherworldly existence. She loved this world for all that it was: for the feeling of the sun on her face, and sand between her toes; for the taste of cotton candy on her lips and the smell of an old friend to her nostrils. She loved the world, and she was in the world, although not of it.
It was on a regular day that something strangely phenomenal happened. She was in her favorite spot outside amongst the trees, and the grass, and the shouting of children. She was sitting on a bench in a near comatose state: 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00pm, 6:00 pm, watching the leaves shimmer in the sunlight, and the grass whisper in the wind; and somewhere nearby was a slow caterpillar that had been stuck in a cocoon for too long, now stretching out and pushing the walls of his confinement with his newly shaped body. 9:00 pm - color burst in the last glow of sunlight as the new form of the caterpillar came to life. In the moment that the kaleidoscopic color flitted across her line of vision, her heart skipped a beat. It was something of a nervous tick that started in that moment, and then continued to make an inconstant stutter in the crevice of her chest with every third beat skipping like the flitting of the butterfly's wings.
That night she had wild dreams of colorful parades, and meteor showers; revolution, and crusades. She slept with a restless mind, and woke to the same ramblings. She was not master of her own body - and that scared her. It was as if the simple things, the normal things, the things that had fit her into the regular world were crashing down and exposing her for who she truly was.
Three nights and three days she spent like this - barely functioning to the outside, but inside suddenly understanding and feeling with a passion she had never accepted. On the third morning she awoke in perfect serenity. Somewhere between sleeping and waking she had found clarity - that girl, my best friend and confidante - the alien in my midst - was me.