I have just come back from a holiday where I stayed in four different households with four different lots of old friends. In the fourth of these households, a little boy with an active imagination gave me the task of writing a story. I asked him to give me five things that I had to include in the story. He could only come up with three: an alien, a spaceship, a family.
I am no writer of science fiction. I have little appreciation of the genre. The following attempt at fulfilling my given task will not likely grab the attention of the little boy should he ever read it, but here goes:
Once upon a time there was an alien. She wasn’t always an alien, though she often felt like she didn’t quite belong. But one day she got in a very big spaceship – with big wings, a lot of seats, and very little leg room. She travelled in that spaceship to the other side of the earth – a place she’d never been before. It was a very green place. They spoke the same language, but she found it hard to understand.
There were times when she really missed her family – those who knew her really well and understood her even without her having to speak. It was hard being an alien. Though she grew to like life in that far away place. It was cooler there and the buildings were old and beautiful.
Sometimes she didn’t want to be an alien anymore. But once you’re an alien, you’re always an alien.
So sometimes she travelled to nearby places – just a short trip – to be with other aliens. People who knew what it was like to not quite fit where they were.
There was one special family of aliens in a place where pirates once used to be (I know, that’s a mixture of genres!) and where there were many prehistoric-looking scary sea-birds! They were a lovely family who had known that alien for a long, long time. They were a family who were good at welcoming aliens as part of their family.
While she was with that family she made them a meal. It had green peas in it – a suitably coloured ingredient for an alien from a green land.
They held hands and gave thanks for the food. They enjoyed the food! The young aliens even wanted second helpings.
And they talked together about their Ruler who knows them all so well. A Ruler who knows what it feels like to leave one place to go to another. To feel like he doesn’t belong. To seek out others to be part of a new family.
The alien eventually had to travel back to her green land, back to her own pod. And it felt familiar – and not too alien.
In a place by the sea: #34 Pasta with ‘Cranberry Beans, Sage and Rosemary Sauce’ with Angeline and David at their table.
In another place by the sea: #35 Pasta with ‘Peas, Bacon and Ricotta Sauce’ with Chris, Vicki, Mason and Jake at their table.
In the alien’s pod, post-holiday: #36 Pasta with ‘Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms’ with Hannah at my table.