The Day I Met An Alien

Istill had vivid memories of the day I met Alex.

It was a very sunny day. I, kicking a pebble around while walking along the pavement, was on my way to school. Somehow or other, my pebble slammed into someone else's green foot.

"Ouch!" A euphonious voice exclaimed, and continued, "That hurts!" Confused and feeling guilty, I mumbled a word of apology and was about to run away when I stopped in my tracks. 'A green foot?' Now, humans do not go running about with green feet. Even a three-year-old kid knows the colour of the human feet. Moreover, I am absolutely sure that it was a bare human foot. Or was I wrong and it was something that resembles a human foot?

I perked up my head immediately to find out about the answer to this 'puzzle'. A 'thing' in green was standing right in front of me, smiling while I stared at him open-mouthed with my eyes almost popping out of their sockets. 'It' resembled a human being (except for the fact that 'it' was green, of course!) but had a head almost one-and-a-half times bigger than ours. With a way-too-small copper-coloured hat on 'its' head, a pair of chatoyant eyes beneath an enormous pair of spectacles, a 'T-shirt and shorts' match of clothing and no footwear, 'it' was not quite what I had expected to appear in front of me.

"Hey! Didn't your mum teach you manners? Or are humans allowed to stare at others like the way you are?" the 'thing' reprimanded.

"Y...ooooo......ou can spppeak English?" I uttered, jolted out of my thoughts.

"If you can, then there shouldn't be any reason why me can't."

Boy, wasn't 'it' humourous. In order not to 'suffer' anymore from 'its' 'preposterous' remarks, I decided to make peace.

"I'm sorry for staring at you. It's because you're quite peculiar. Who are you anyway?" The question, that I had been trying to ask, was finally out of my mouth

"Oh, me's Prince Alexedgworohugizedarcrimthrson XII of Cherekdras-riva. I came to Earth to broaden me's experience while me's parents are washing the toilets," he, (it is a 'he' all right) explained matter-of-factly.

"Where's that?" I wondered aloud, trying desperately to remember every one of my Geography lessons. "Where on earth is Charag...rag......"

"Cherekdras-riva? It's not on Earth, silly! It's the name of one group of small planets very near to one another. They're somewhere between Venus and Earth. Me's not sure, me do not like Geography. But there's one thing that me's sure of, someday, me's going to rule them all."

"Ohhhhhhhh," I nodded as if I understood. I obviously did not but I knew that if I was still hanging around chewing the fat, I would be late for school.

"Come on, Alexagewar......, oh, forget it! I'll call you Alex. Come on, run." Sprinting off, I shouted back.

Not thinking twice about it, he started to run by my side. He was definitely a better runner than I was. Fortunately, I was not late. Darting into my classroom, with Alex still beside me, saved my skin. A jiffy later, my Geography teacher came in. You can imagine that I thought that by this time all my classmates would be staring at Alex, unable to believe their eyes. Amazingly, they did not. Noticing that I had looked around for many times, Alex decided to help me by explaining.

"Stop looking!" he hissed. "They can't see me. Me only made meself visible to you alone."

Disappointed, I started to concentrate on the lesson. My teacher had begun to question us.

"How many planets are there, does anyone know?" My hand shot up immediately and caught her attention. She gestured at me to indicate that I could answer.

"I'm not quite sure, madam, but I know it's definitely more than the nine you said last lesson because I'd just learnt of the presence of a few more today." Before you could say Michael Jackson, the whole class had burst out laughing, leaving an embarrassed me still standing there with no knowledge of what I had said wrongly.

Mdm Lim, (that's my teacher) tried to control the disorganized class but without success. "Class! Class! Stop laughing and let me continue the lesson!"

"But madam, his answer was so absurd! Ha! Ha! Ha! Now I know why he's the blockhead of our class and why he always 'books' the last class position. Ha! Ha! Ha!" the student sitting in front of me, Frank, cackled out.

Suddenly, my stapler sailed through the air and landed on Frank's back with a 'thud'. Don't be mistaken––I'm not the kind of person to hurl things at people just because I'm angry. Livid, I sure was, but I had to admit that what Frank said was true, I have not much flair for studying! However, you have to believe that I did not chuck the stapler at Frank. It was my new-found friend, Alex, standing up for me. Little did he know that just that small act that he did, caused me to receive a punishment of writing four hundred lines of 'I will never ever throw my stapler at anyone again', as everyone thought it was I who flung the stapler. Luckily, the teacher was lenient enough to let me take them home to write.

Walking quickly out of the school gate, including ignoring him, was leaving Alex bewildered. He managed to keep up with me and kept tugging at one of my shirt sleeve saying, "What's wrong with you?". Even a deaf person looking at my expression would probably know that I was enraged at being punished for something I had not done.

Furious, I headed for one of McDonald's fast-food outlets. I arrived there and found a place to sit down. Alex also plopped down into the seat opposite mine. By now, he had quite an idea of what he should do.

"Me's sorry," he mumbled reluctantly. (Notice the 'reluctantly'–– after all, he IS a future king and kings do not have to apologize.) "Me dunno that you'll be punished. If me know me wouldn't have thrown it," he stated firmly. I hate to admit it but he was right. He could not have perceived that disciplinary action would be taken against me! I looked up, and my eyes met those apologizing big ones of his, still sheeny, but this time from tears. His eyes melted my heart. I leaned over and bear-hugged him, declaring, "It's no more your fault than mine."

Knowing that I had forgiven him, that cheeky guy had the guts to say, "Good. All me tears aren't wasted. Now, what about something to eat?" Just one simple sentence like that, made me spend my entire week's pocket-money on that greedy prince. Subsequent to eating one cheeseburger, he wanted more and more. Twelve cheeseburgers and that was it. I was destined to go hungry that week. Smacking his lips contentedly, Alex asserted, "That was delicious!"

"Of course! That was also expensive, in case you don't know about it," I fumed. Hearing that, Alex did something very astonishing. He glided up to a business executive and took out that man's wallet from a pocket! Opening it swiftly, he grabbed a stack of notes and replaced the wallet. He did all this right under the man's nose without even the poor man himself realizing. Gliding back to me, he stuffed the notes inside my pocket and led me away.

We went to the beach. We swam (actually, I swam while carrying him on my back) and built sand-castles. He was very good at that. He fabricated doors and windows in the castle without it toppling over it. Hand-in-hand, we built his castle, dug a moat all around it and for the finishing touch –––– he stuck a flag made out of a leaf on the tower of his castle. (Yes, his castle had a tower. I told you that he was an expert castle-builder. I mean, sand-castle-builder.) The leaf even had the words 'Friendship forever! Alex & Garion' written on it, by me, using my sliver-inked pen. During our sand-castle-building session, I queried him about something that had occurred to me then.

"Alex, why is it that your parents, the king and queen of your planets, have to toil to wash the toilets themselves?"

"Who told you that me parents are the rulers of my planets?" he answered in a bemused voice.

"You have a very odd society in your planets." I noted. He did not reply but reverted his attention back to his castle.

It was now nearing sunset. Lying under a gigantic, shady tree, we sat and watched the sunset. Initially, the sun was a blazing-red ball. Then gradually, it dimmed and the sun moved down under the horizon. Finally, it was seen no more and darkness brought in the night.

Alex coughed. He whispered, "Garion, (cough! cough!) the night brings coldness in, and me can't stand it. (cough!)" Instinctively, I handed my jacket to him. He waved it aside and continued mournfully, "Earth's air is also too (cough! cough!) dusty for me to stay long." My heart groaned. I knew separation was going to come, but somehow, I was not prepared for it in any way.

Earth's food's sumptous (cough!), me like them but most of all, (cough!) me like Earth's you. Sorry to have (cough!) you humiliated in class 'cause me told you (cough!) about me's planets. Can you please (cough!) take out your punishment and write one sentence now? (cough! cough!) " he pleaded. I hurriedly wrote a sentence of 'I will never ever throw my stapler at anyone again' down in my own special scrawny handwriting and handed it to him. He made a gesture and exactly four hundred lines of what I had just written were duplicated down, on four pieces of paper.

"This is all me can think of (cough! cough!) to repay you for your kindness (cough!) to me on Earth. All rulers of Cherekdras-riva (cough!) are suppose to possess this special ability. This is (cough! cough!) me's first time using it," he said softly.

I cried, "I don't care! I don't care! I will write the sentence a thousand times, ten thousand times or many, many thousand times if only you will not be separated from me! I want to buy more cheeseburgers for you to eat, swim with you, build sand-castles with you and have you throw staplers at anyone who bullies me!" Tears were streaking down my face now.

"Come on, Garion. You are a big guy now. Don't cry (cough!). Anyway, the fiery red sun is always somewhere in the sky. You and me, on the beach (cough! cough!) can see it when it rises over the horizon. But when it sets (cough!) and disappears, it does not (cough!) mean that it's not present (cough! cough!). It's still burning, because its existence is forever! Do you understand? (cough!)" No doubt that he was trying to soothe me.

"No......no......no......" I sobbed and shook my head. He clarified it further for my benefit, "Me's and you's friendship (cough!) is the sun! It exists forever no matter (cough!) how far you're separated from me!" I stopped crying to think about his words and eventually nodded in cognition. His face brightened considerably when I ceased to cry and finally lit up when I nodded.

Removing my jacket, which has my name embroidered on the back of it, I handed it to Alex and told him, "This jacket has been my possession for three years. Carry it back with you to your planets, my prince. I hope that even a glimpse of it will remind you of me. Good-bye!" I embraced him for a few minutes before he slung my jacket over his shoulder. Thereafter, he took off his huge pair of spectacles, stretched out to put them in my cupped palms and closed my ten fingers over them.

"Good-bye, Garion!" his mellifluous but sad voice interrupted the continuous sound of the gentle waves. The last time I saw him, a tear was slowly making its way down his face. I lowered my head to glance at his gift. When I raised my head up, he was gone, leaving only echoes of his serene farewell in his refined voice –––– 'Good-bye, Garion......good-bye...Garion......good-bye...Garion......'

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