I arrived with the moon rising over the valley. Early the next morning, I’d head up to the back country, where Santi waited with Ritu’s friend. At the mountain cabin, I had plenty of time to think.
I’d brought my journal to occupy the evening, and I let my thoughts return to Momo’s visit. Something in my awoke when I saw her with her family, and I itched to discover what it was.
We’d been relaxing over late morning coffee while Elui scoured websites for anything that might lead him to David.
“Anything promising?” Sept asked Elui.
“Here’s some anti-Newcrest posts,” Elui said. “Might be something David would be interested in.”
We heard a knock at the door. An extra-terrestrial child, light-skinned, like Sept, stood on the porch.
“Sept?” I asked. “Are you expecting family?”
The girl introduced herself as Alma Mori, Momo’s daughter.
“Are you Octy?” she asked Sept. “I thought he was little like me.”
“He is about your size!” Sept said. “I’m his brother!”
She took us out to meet the rest of the family, and Momo explained they were delivering Octy’s new dog.
“We have so many dogs already!” said Alma. “Our dog had pups, and now they’re grown! And so we’re finding homes for them!”
Momo said she wanted to talk with Sept and “the other one” before we took them to Seb and Octy’s.
She had a focused look, and I wondered if she was scanning Elui and Sept. Sept had never mentioned Momo to me, but I had the impression they knew each other, that she was one of the 144.
“Momo!” he said, when he saw her.
“You remembered!” she said.
He told me later that she was one of the first ones to sing back. She’d been on the ship. The man who adopted her had other extra-terrestrial children. She had a good upbringing, Sept said, with so many siblings. “She was never lonely, like I was,” he said. “She was surrounded with big brothers and sisters.”
I could see her supportive upbringing in the way she carried herself, with confident grace. She looked like never questioned if she belonged here.
I looked in on Elui.
“We have visitors!” I said.
“I know,” he replied.
He greeted her with a complex series of hand gestures. Sept explained later it was a cultural greeting. They’d all been taught it as toddlers, as well as taught that it was only to be shared within their group, as a way of acknowledging connectedness.
“I can’t believe I still remember that!” Momo said.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Sept said.
“I am, too,” she replied. “I didn’t even think we’d meet you! I was going to tell Octy and your dad to be sure to give you a big hello. I never thought I’d be able to do it myself, in person.”
Though this was the first time the three had been together since their adoption, they conversed and moved in that way that close friends and family do, with belonging.
Elui filled Momo in on his current search for David and the leads he’d found, and she listened with all of her being. I was beginning to realize that extra-Ts, at least those like Sept, Momo, and Elui, hear on multiple levels, all the time.
The subtle communication of thought, feeling, emotion, visualization, even bio-chemistry, are continuously broadcast and received when they are together.
This redefines privacy and precludes secrecy. I have a feeling that, though many people might claim to want that level of transparency, few would be willing to be as honest and vulnerable as being without mask requires.
But the riches this type of sharing nurtures! They seem to naturally fall into the deep connection that so many of us, on this planet, at least, long for.
After the three caught up with each other, we all walked over to Seb and Octy’s.
Lemon was a beautiful dog, sweet-natured and extremely intelligent.
I always wondered if she was an extra-T. She had an other-worldly quality. It wasn’t just in her mismatched eyes, but in her bright look. Sept said she communicated telepathically with him.
If she was an extra-T dog, she wasn’t the first.
Mop, the pup Octy’s mother gave him, certainly was no breed from this planet. Mop had grown into a very unusual dog, with huge paws, a funny coiled tail, big mule-deer ears, and a squeaky soprano bark.
She came from a planet called Pu!’Re, where eleven moons reflect the light of the distant, dim sun. The people who inhabit the planet are pale cave-dwellers, roaming the dark forests and meadows to gather food. Through their physical connections with the plants, rocks, and wild creatures, they commune with the spirits of the natural world. For them, physical harmony is the highest good. Pu!’Re boskobo, like Mop, are considered messengers of the deities.
Octy simply considered Mop his best friend.
Of course, the moment he met Lemon, he had two best friends
I had begun to suspect that other extra-terrestrial boskobo had somehow come to or been dropped off at this planet. There was a red and white dog we met on the boardwalk who also had an intelligent gaze, and I’ve never seen a dog from around here with fur like that.
Sebastion was thrilled with Lemon.
“She’s beautiful!” he said. “Are you sure you want to give her away?”
Momo assured him that it would be for the best, considering their crowded home.
Seeing Momo and her family affected me more than I would have imagined. I suppose my heart still hurt from my father and mother disowning me. We’d never been that close, and I always knew that their values weren’t what I wanted for myself, but still, I felt I belonged with and to them, in some way, even as I struggled to break free.
Seb’s house was full with all of family, and the kitchen rang with laughter, singing, jokes–even little Winter Mori’s temper tantrum. It felt like a home should feel.
I found I missed that feeling of belonging to a tribe, if I ever had it, and maybe I missed it all the more, for never having had it.
Of course Sept and I belonged with each other–I always felt how he found home in me. But in those moments when I was deeply honest with myself back then, I realized that, while I brought home to him, I myself didn’t feel I belonged–not when I saw him with Octy or Seb, not when I saw him with the pagotogo, not when I saw him with Manny or Whisper, and not when I saw Momo with her family.
I could almost see the lines of affection that connected Momo to Ayaka to Alma to Winter. When one moved, it was as if the other sensed it.
Ayaka, Momo’s wife, was from here, and she held an integral point in the family. She sparked a hope in me that maybe I could, too, someday. Maybe I could feel a child’s needs before she felt them, and be there with the hug, or glass of juice, or word of encouragement that she needed.
I wanted that. I wanted freedom and independence–and I had them. But I also wanted, as a free and independent being, the invisible strings of family love to connect me to others.
Early the next morning, as I warmed myself by the fire, I let myself feel the depth of this longing as fully as I could. As each spark rose, I imagined it carrying my dreams of family, my dreams for community, my thirst for a tribe. Let these sparks fly!
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Xantheanmar for sharing Elui with our story. You can learn more about him at Potatoes and Carrots by Xantheanmar. And big thanks to Kira for letting Lemon come live with Seb, Octy, Mop, and the baby! I’m so happy that Momo and her family brought her, too! You can learn more about this lovely family at KK’s Sim Stories.