You start out on an alien planet, cloaked in alien language and alien hieroglyphs. They’re strange and foreign—but then again, so is everything there. The aliens, they talk too loudly on the phone and argue about numbers in the produce market. But you know enough to recognize family. Family and a woman—your mum. She reads you funny sounds out of even funnier squares, and you laugh at their hilarity because even if you can’t understand them, you try to copy her— she is fixing her face into funny twists that you can’t identify yet as smiles, and you want to do it too.
When you’re three you start to mouth the strange sounds yourself. But you learn them as something else—zì, all scrambled together to form a language. And by four, you’re so accomplished and well-versed in them that you’re making your loved ones call you monkey. Monkeys are cool, you think. You want to be just like a monkey; you feel an affinity with them despite being born under the rule of the pig. With childish commanding, your authority is so darling they can hardly deny it.
By the age of six you speak with the ease and fluidity of a village elder, a chiming, melodious voice dripping with a sort of childish wisdom; sage enough that it’s safe to say it’s cosmically granted, as you are entering first grade and it can’t possibly be the result of any normal, rational schooling!
Your brilliance continues to shine, warming your peers. It’s a great privilege, but also a great burden, a terrible responsibility – trying to keep up above them, spreading your light and alien glow. You are entrancing, enticing, enchanting; you are elusive, evocative, and ephemeral. And just when you’re starting to grow your green tentacles, just when they are no longer alien, rather, just when you are one of the aliens, you relocate. You’re gone, baby, gone. With the passing of your presence, your home planet rests soundly. You are insignificant, and time drawls at its usual dawdling, creeping crawl, like a poorly executed moonwalk by a guy at the school dance who’s wearing a single white glove—the dance ends, but the memories are forever.
The new planet isn’t so bad; except it’s coated in language only heard of in myths and hieroglyphic symbols only faintly…