Chronicle of a Friendship Doomed
We had been expecting them for a long time. On the news, they mentioned the long awaited encounter almost every single day. Until one day, they stopped. When people began wondering, the government made a reassuring announcement, claiming that the encounter was temporarily postponed due to severe technical problems. Only a few believed them. I certainly didn’t, yet at the time I was so busy consoling my best friend, that I had no real interest in the subject. Alex was deep into depression at that time. I was all he had in the world. Besides Sparky, I mean.
Alex claimed that he loved his dog. He’d found him on the street a few days after his girlfriend of three years left him. The dog kept him company through all those endless nights, when he still mourned his lost relationship. He named him Sparky, because he brought a spark of hope back into his life.
We spent many nights drinking until dawn – talking about his old girlfriend, analyzing what went wrong. We even talked about the postponed encounter from time to time. Alex was certain that something went terribly wrong.
“What if they did come and attacked us?” he asked.
“That’s hardly an option, Alex,” I said. How could he think that an alien attack would go unnoticed? If they did have the means to reach the planet, I was sure they would also have the proper weapons to beat us, if needed. In hindsight, I consider this thought too “human”. I couldn’t imagine, back then, that there would be creatures trusting enough not to care about defense. I hadn’t met J yet. Several months went by before I met J, the alien who saved my life.
Alex met Maria some months ago. He didn’t even like her in the beginning. As soon as they began dating though, he seemed back on his feet again. He seemed to be using her as an ego boost, and it didn’t take long before they decided to move in together. I noticed he forgot to mention the dog.
“Will you take Sparky with you?”
Alex shook his head. “Unfortunately, I can’t. Maria is allergic. Can you keep him for me?”
I worked long hours and the dog was not used to staying alone for many hours. I pressured him to try harder. The dog had been there for him when he needed him. He couldn’t leave him like this.
When Alex convinced me that he couldn’t find another home for the dog, I reluctantly decided to take him. He promised he would come every other day to spend time with him, but he soon forgot all about Sparky. That should have made me suspicious. In a way it did, yet not suspicious enough to believe he could forget all about me too.
Maria proved to be the jealous kind, and Alex’s friendship with me was a big threat in her mind. She asked him to stay away. She wanted the whole of him and wouldn’t settle for anything less.
Alex felt flattered. In the beginning he talked to me about her insecurities and we both burst into laughter. I was sure, back then, that he wouldn’t give up our friendship, that he wouldn’t sacrifice me on the altar of a new relationship. He had never done it before.
This time, he did.
He denied everything for a while. Whenever I asked him about it, he claimed he was too busy, but the truth was, he wanted Maria more than he needed me. And he made his choice; he gave up on me the same way he had given up on the dog. He no longer needed us.
Trying to sort things out one night, I went for a stroll, and confused as I was, I didn’t notice the strange creature waving at me. When I did, I thought it was an odd sort of bird, as it jumped from one side of the street to the other, as if it was flying.
Too late I realized it wasn’t a bird. It materialized beside me before I had the chance to run away. I noticed a green liquid coming out from his upper arm. I was scared, yet determined to help.
“J… J… JJJ….,” the creature was saying repeatedly.
“Is that your name?”
I never did learn the creature’s name, so I decided to call him J. I used my scarf to stop the bleeding. and he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared. But before he left, he offered me a tiny green box, which I opened only after I got home. A green light burst forth from within the box, brightened the room for a second, then formed into a green beam and splattered on my forehead. As soon as it reached my skin, I felt a brief burning sensation then suddenly an insight hit me – so vivid that it was like I was living the vision rather than imagining it.
The truth was revealed.
When the spaceship landed on earth, it was attacked by the very humans who had agreed to the encounter. Most of J’s people escaped, but some were captured – I assume the government wasn’t planing to use them for anything nice later on. As the vision ended, I struggled to understand what had happened, but the emotions were so strong, that there was no doubt in my mind that the events had really taken place.
I wanted to share it with Alex.
I even handed him the box to see for himself. Unfortunately, the light beam didn’t affect him the way it had affected me. Alex is a writer, but strangely enough, he seemed unable to feel what I had felt. I now strongly believe that green is the color of empathy. Alex was never that empathetic.
Taking Sparky for a walk, I see a car coming fast in my direction. As fear invades my psyche, immobilizing me, I glance at the night sky and glimpse a big green starship. All of a sudden, J is by my side, pushing me and Sparky out of the way, then gone – vanished into the night.
A brilliant green beam shoots from the ship, heading directly to my brain, only this time I’m not frightened. I feel the happiness of the creatures who have managed to gather back all their strength, fix the spaceship in secret, rescue their captive friends, and escape human greed.
I feel their impatience to go back home, mixed with J’s happiness, his appreciation for the help I offered him. and his eagerness to say goodbye. He doesn’t believe all humans are evil, despite the attack. He belongs to a better, trusting kind.
Somehow, I must have sent him a signal of my fear in that single glance at his ship, and he came to my rescue, jeopardizing his chance to go home. It still amazes me how friends may treat you as a stranger, while absolute strangers, even aliens, may be kinder than your supposedly best friend.
Sparky ran away and never came back. My greatest wish is that J took him away with him to a happier place. I’m sure he felt the dog’s sadness, his lost sense of belonging, and decided Sparky deserved better.
In the beginning, I believed Alex felt too shameful, or even guilty, to face me. In time, I realized that shame is subjective. Smart people like him find plenty of excuses to avoid shame.
I bet he is writing a story about me right now. About how clingy and needy I’ve been. How toxic our relationship has always been for him. And how finally he managed to get rid of me. Writing has always been his passive aggressive way of dealing with things. That’s why I haven’t mentioned J again. I don’t want to see the alien who saved me in one of Alex’s stories. J will stay deep in my unconscious, protected from the unpleasant part of me who comes out every now and then, ready to sacrifice all emotions on the altar of words and vanity.
Alex will be left alone to deal with reality for as long as reality suits him.
I bet he won’t ever mention Sparky, though; He still has no excuse for the dog