The moment has come! It’s pool party time!
SO! This chapter was a loving work of collaboration with Ally, Ny, and Cathy! I am incredibly appreciative for their patience while I procrastinated right in front of them, flailed about our joint document, and added stupid comments in between “serious business”. 😉
All dialogue and actions belongs to the characters’ respectful owners. Please go and read their stories if you’re not already following them AND go and see our fellow collaborators on the forum and check up on them, too! (Links are at the end!)
Also, it’s a bit different in style since we sort of ran away with the dialogue. It’s also a bit long. I hope you enjoy this nice
little change of pace from the usual journal entries. ❤
Case Study Log of #C87
Caregiver: Liliana Ikeda
Oh, what a day it was – Xilla and I just got back from a pool party! I’m still digesting everything that I learned (and the meal we had, too, ha!)
I’m grateful that I had the chance to meet both Elliot (our hostess) and Daniel. They’re the parents of Emmanuel and Whisper (separately, of course). The amount of information they shared with me about raising an alien child was a little overwhelming. I learned a lot about disguises especially and I’m excited to see what Xilla chose for her human look.
There’s still so much I don’t know about aliens. Xilla and I have just been trying to get by all these years together; we haven’t bothered to worry ourselves with the messy past of this project. There’s some heavy stuff that some of the children have dealt with and I wonder if Xilla has any of those memories. Is it bad that I’m hoping she doesn’t remember? Some kids even need therapy… It’s certainly a lot to take in.
On the way home Xilla told me all about the children she met at the party. First off, we were at at Emmanuel’s house (“They just put in that pool!”). She mentioned that she liked his shade of blue (“It’s different from Xe’s color – sorta really soothing instead of bright bright bright!”). There was even a teenager there a little later and Xilla mentioned that he was possibly their big brother with a name she couldn’t pronounce. (Are all these kids related? No one from the agency told me that!) She was especially happy that there were other kids that were purple like she was. (“Anakin was really polite – I really liked his bowtie! And OH, Whisper was so cool! Our swimsuits matched!”) She couldn’t stop talking about Whisper, actually.
I’m glad she was able to make some friends tonight. I think I made some, too. WELL, at least Elliot… I sort of embarrassed myself in front of Daniel but everything turned out okay in the end…
Anyway, our bedtime routine was disrupted tonight by Xilla’s excitement levels. I think we read through two of her books before she was calm enough to drift off to sleep. I’m exhausted, too, so I think I’ll head to bed also. Here’s hoping we get to see everyone again soon!
Emmanuel was very excited. “Whisper! She’s your color!”
“I know! She’s periwinkle! Call her over!”
“This is my house and I’m Emmanuel!” He shouted across the pool, “This is Whisper! Thank you very very much for coming to my pool party!” He smiled and waved. “Who are you?”
“Hi! I’m Xilla and I heard your song!” She walked quickly around the pool and plopped down next to them with a little sigh. “I don’t hear many others singing so I was really excited when I heard this one!”
“You mean my song? My pool song?” Emmanuel replied.
“Yah! For the party! I told Lili right away and she said she’d see if we could come AND WE COULD!” Xilla’s voice raised in pitch and she tried to reign in her excitement.
“I’m really happy that you’re happy to be here with us! Also, you’re very pretty!” he nudged Whisper. “You should say something to her, since you’re both girls, or something. I’m not really sure what girls like to talk about, or anything…”
“Hi Xilla! I really like your swimsuit!”
“Thanks! This is the first time I get to wear it. Oh! It almost matches yours!”
“It’s like we’re almost twins or something.”
“We could be! Maybe I could make my hair like yours if I tried hard enough!”
Whisper smiled. “I like your hair. I think it’s cool that we’re all alike. Nobody at my school is like us.”
“I just started going to school but we’re all alike… For now it’s just the five of us and we don’t have to wear our disguises or anything!”
“You don’t have to hide your purple when you go to school?” Emmanuel quickly interjected.
“Nope! We just have classes at our houses. They call it homeschooling, I think.”
“Home… schooling? I’ve never heard that before…” Emmanuel seemed to drift deep into thought.
“So who teaches you since you don’t go to the building-school?” Whisper asked.
“Well, not Lili – she’s not too good with all the subjects – but she helps me a little. Mr. Alec is really smart so he does most of the classes. The adults sort of help all together.”
“They all come to your home? Do they live with you or something like that?”
“No, we all live in a little neighborhood and it’s pretty quiet. We each have our own houses.”
“I don’t live in a house but I think that’d be cool to have your neighbors beside you instead of under you… and do you play in your yards?”
“Yes – I have monkey bars!”
“There are some of those at my building-school.”
“What’s it like at building-school?”
“Well…” Whisper hummed. “It’s a lot of people there. A lot of people. I live in the city and one time I heard my teacher say that the school is overpopulated so I guess there are too many people. But it’s okay there. They have lots of books in the library so that’s a good thing. Manny, what’s your building-school like?”
“Hmm?” Emmanuel returned to the conversation. “My school is where I– woah, I feel really funny all of a sudden. Do you? Everywhere… like I’m supposed to be somewhere else… do you feel that?”
“Then maybe you should go find where you’re supposed to be. Wherever it is, we’ll be here when you get back,” Whisper said matter-of-factly.
A tall and slender teenager rounded the corner of the house. Emmanuel perked up. “I’m going to go talk to him really quick… I’ll be back! Please don’t talk about anything fun while I’m gone, okay?”
“You bet!” Xilla watched him go and turned back to Whisper. “Who is that older boy, do you know?”
“I don’t know who he is. We can ask Manny when he gets back. Or we could ask Ms. Elliot. Did you meet Ms. Elliot on your way out here? She’s Manny’s mom.”
“Ohhh, she did introduce herself when I got here and she told me you guys were out back! Yeah, let’s ask her!”
The girls got up from their spots and peered around the backyard.
“Guess she’s still inside.”
“Let’s go in and ask her.”
The girls found Elliot in the living room with Daniel (Whisper’s dad), and Lili.
“Did you guys see that older kid come in? Do you know who he is?”
“Older kid?” Elliot looked to Daniel and Lili. “Where’s Manny?”
Whisper shrugged. “Don’t know. He went to wherever he felt like he was supposed to be.”
Elliot flew to the back door at Whisper’s cryptic explanation, looking through the glass for her son. “Oh, he is an alien. Manny’s talking with him… it seems okay. I don’t know who he is though.”
Liliana turned towards the pair.
“How’s it going, girls? Are you having a nice time so far?” Xilla nodded enthusiastically.
“Yes! We were talking about school. Did you know that they have school in a building that’s not their house?!”
Liliana smirked, “I bet you might get to go to one of those schools eventually. I wouldn’t worry.”
“Do you guys want to go swimming? Why don’t we all go cool off and get some sunshine?” Elliot smiled brightly.
“Sure,” Whisper agreed. “I’ll just sit on the side of the pool, though, because I don’t know how to swim.”
Xilla beamed at her, “I don’t know how to swim, either!”
“Well in that case, Ms. Elliot, I think me and Xilla are just going to stay in here but we’ll come out a little bit later.”
“Good idea,” Liliana answered, “I think I’m going to dip my toes in a bit, too. Oasis Springs is a lot hotter than Willow Creek…”
“It is,” Elliot giggled. “Daniel said the same thing.”
“Oh, where are you from again?” Liliana asked, moving with the group towards the door.
“I live in San Myshuno right now,” Daniel answered with a smile.
“I guess the big brown desert is pretty boring compared to Willow Creek and San Myshuno.” Elliot sighed as she spoke.
“I don’t know. I can’t decide if I’d rather live in an oven or a sauna, actually. Perhaps I should try ‘tundra’ next.” Liliana joked.
Elliot laughed her reply. “Certainly sounds viable to me!” The trio continued outside until the girls could no longer hear them talking. With the adults outside, Whisper turned towards Xilla eagerly.
“You said your homeschool has other aliens? I only know two aliens- you and Emmanuel. I’ve sung to… four other ones though. Do you sing?”
“I don’t sing very much… When I was really little I just sort of sang to myself. But then one day someone sang back to me! It was Pixit, one of the girls in my school. But yah, there are three others: Kal, Sol, and Xe. ”
Whisper glanced around the living room. “What is your house like?”
Xilla thought a moment. “Hmm, small. But a cozy-like small. I have my own room, though! I have a nightlight that shoots off stars, too!”
“Oh yes I have one of those, too! Mine is blue!”
“Mine’s pink!” She fired back quickly. “Does Emmanuel have one, too?”
“Don’t know. I’ve never been here before. We can ask him when we see him again. That would be so cool if he does.”
“We can ask that older boy, too!”
“Sure,” she nodded. “As soon as we find them both… Where do you think they’ve gone?”
“Dunno. I guess they’re outside still with everyone else. Let’s check!”
Back outside they found Emmanuel, Daniel, and Liliana sitting poolside. The girls sat next to Emmanuel and began to talk animatedly together.
“So, Daniel,” Liliana turned towards him with purpose, “Tell me about the school Whisper attends. The Agency has only mentioned the possibility of school once the kids are a little older but I’m not sure they’re as eager for it as Xilla and the others are.”
“Whisper goes to a public school in our district. It’s a pretty big school but I think she likes it there. She has a handful of friends. San Myshuno is full of interesting characters so I don’t think she feels too different from everyone else. So far, all of her teachers have been pretty good. She’s always telling me something she learned, so I guess that’s a good sign.” Daniel chuckled.
“So I guess the district doesn’t know that she’s an alien?”
“If they do, it wasn’t me that told them.”
“Does that worry you at all? I mean, that they might find out…”
“Not really. When she was younger, there weren’t many negative reactions to her without her disguise on. I’m sure there are places a lot more xenophobic than San Myshuno.”
“That’s true… I don’t know how my hometown would react if I brought Xilla back to visit. My parents have met her, though. They were surprised at first but have gotten used to the idea, thankfully.”
“I’m from Windenburg originally so I get it. I can’t imagine taking Whisper there and having her run around in all her purple glory. My parents actually left me a house there and I considered moving when they placed Whisper with me. I’m glad I stayed in San Myshuno, though. Whisper loves the district we live in.”
Liliana nodded in agreement. “My brother’s living there now and I wish that we could visit him for even just a weekend.”
Liliana thought a moment. “Actually, I was also wondering about disguises. Xilla has never shown me because there hasn’t really been a reason for her to use it… Is it… strange for you to see someone else?”
Daniel’s eyes glazed over with a distant look but it was gone as soon as it had appeared. “At first it was strange because she’d never worn her disguise until it was time for her to go to school. But I got used to it pretty quickly. I don’t prefer to see one over the other… and from what Whisper has told me, she doesn’t mind wearing it.”
“That’s a relief. I was wondering if it was uncomfortable for them so I’m happy to hear that. Maybe when we get home I’ll ask her to show me.”
“Whisper was super excited to show me hers. From what I could tell, she put a lot of thought into it. Maybe Xilla will craft hers to look like you.”
Liliana’s eyes widened. “Now you’ve got me even more eager to see what she’s come up with!” She looked down momentarily before smiling up coyly at him. “You’re sweet.”
“Thank you!” Daniel smiled at the compliment. “I try.” Liliana searched his eyes a moment before taking a chance.
“So, you’re in the city…” She lowered her voice slightly, “Ever… peruse the spice district?” She raised an eyebrow at him expectantly.
“The spice district?” He chuckled. “Not often… Things are pretty spicy right now.”
Liliana let out a deflated laugh and felt her stomach flop, “O-oh?”
“It’s still pretty new so I’m figuring it out. Everything’s felt new since I adopted Whisper. Now that she’s in school, it’s like I have to relearn myself… again.” A laugh escaped Daniel’s lips. “Did you say that Xilla is in school?”
“She and the other alien children are being homeschooled by myself and the other parents. I’ve been helping them with ‘art appreciation’. Nothing really important like math or science, stuff like that. I mean, I think it’s important but, you know, testing…”
“I think art is important, too. My wife- she was an artist and Whisper loves every single one of the arts.”
“Oh, you’re married?”
“Only during the workweek.”
Liliana snorted, “And you’re funny.”
“Um… About Whisper’s disguise, does she take after your wife at all?”
A thoughtful smile spread over his lips as he turned to face her. “Actually, yes. But it’s not in the way you’re thinking. My wife died some years ago so Whisper developed a disguise using a picture of her.”
“Oh wow…” Liliana offered him a friendly smile, “Whisper sounds like a sweetheart.”
Daniel glanced to his right where Whisper and Emmanuel seemed to be talking about something intense. “She is.”
Following a quick bite to eat Xilla wandered into the kitchen to toss her plate. However, before she had a chance to leave she thought she heard a noise from one of the nearby rooms. The door to a bedroom was cracked open enough that she could peek inside. Seated on the edge of the bed was the older boy they had seen earlier. She paused a moment and then knocked softly on the door jamb, suddenly shy.
“Hello, pagoto! Are you a little bit sad?”
Xilla crossed over to stand near the boy and nodded to his question, peering up at him curiously.
“Do I… know you? I feel like I’ve met you before or something.”
“We all know each other! We are gotogo! We came here together, right? It wasn’t so long ago. Maybe you’ve heard me singing about home and the far star.”
“Oh!” Her face brightened and her voice perked up, “I knew it! I did hear you singing before!”
“I don’t sing very much… Is that… normal?”
“Maybe you don’t sing much because you don’t need to. My pops had a rabbit when he was a boy. Did you know that rabbits can sing?”
Xilla shook her head quickly and sat next to him, eager to hear him continue.
“One night, as the moonlight shone in through the window, the lonely rabbit lifted his furry little chin, opened his mouth, and he let out a really loud warble!”
“That’s bananas! I didn’t know rabbits could make noises!”
“Oh, rabbits are full of all sorts of surprises! Pops was so worried! ‘Are you OK, Little Guy?’ he asked the rabbit. But the rabbit just looked at him like he was nuts and went right on singing. The next morning, when my pops went out to the front yard, there was a lady rabbit! The song brought her there! So, you see, singing is good when you’re lonely, and you need to find those you belong with, inna-inna, but if you’re already with them, and you’re not lonely, there’s no need to sing!”
Xilla looked at her hands in her lap, deep in thought.
“I guess you’re right. I have all my friends on my street and I see them all the time!”
“You see! You’re already with those you belong with! Will you tell your friends that I think of them every day? EO in’i EO.”
Xilla nodded excitedly again. “What’s your name so I can tell them?”
“Tell them I am Baxini’vre.”
“Baxi-niv… I’ll try to remember,” she wouldn’t but she attempted to look earnest.
“If you’re ever lonely, or you need your bizoobagoto, just sing like a rabbit! I’ll hear!”
“I think I can do that! I’d tell the others but they won’t get the joke.”
“You can tell them to wiggle their noses!”
Xilla wiggled her own nose and giggled, “Like this?”
“Yup!” He wiggled his pointed ears.
Xilla gasped, “That’s pretty neat! I’ll have to work on wiggling my ears, too!”
The ride home was was accompanied by Xilla’s excited storytelling which continued until it was time for bed.
Liliana was hopeful that Xilla’s uplifted mood would last into the coming week but she had a bad feeling that there’d be a lot more questions coming her way…
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