by Rolando Velazquez
I take the chicken out of the oven, and it impregnates the house with that weird smell that broiled chicken has. To be honest, I hate chicken unless it’s grilled. But I’m cooking dinner for my boyfriend, and he loves it like that. He should be home soon, so I’m preparing his favorite meal. You might find this is very romantic of me, but if you think this is a regular love story, you are on the wrong channel. How can I explain it to you without creeping you out for the rest of your life? Let’s see … first, my boyfriend looks like a 56 year old man and I look like I’m 26, but in reality I’m 31. Second, he’s an alien. You don’t believe me? Want to know how I’m preparing this boiled chicken? I’m covering it in mustard with a hint of lime. I know it’s gross; I mean, no human being would eat that, but again, he’s not human. If you’re still wondering why I fell in love with an Alien who looks like he’s 56, let me explain it to you.
When I first met him he looked my age. I was 21 and he was 23. I was at CC’s Café on Royal Street drinking a coffee and working on a project for school. Out of nowhere, this weird looking guy approached me. He was wearing brown cargo pants, a lime green Hawaiian shirt, and an eggplant corduroy jacket. It was simply atrocious. But living in New Orleans, you always find some eccentric characters. The thing I remember most was his eyes.They were almost like a yellowish color, like a cat, but a cat’s eyes at sunset with that golden light projecting from the sky.
The first thing he told me was that I smelled really good. Of course, upon hearing this I got really nervous. I thought he was very forward and weird. He asked me what smelled, but I had no clue. He said it was my hair, that it smelled really good and that he liked it. I told him it was probably my shampoo. It had carrot extract. He asked if he could touch it and I said yes. I was intrigued by this mysterious man who thought my hair was beautiful. Who doesn’t want to hear that?
Anyway, he asked what I was doing, and I told him that I was doing homework. He laughed, and said that it was just a waste of time, and that I should talk to him instead. I asked him if he went to any of the universities in the city and he answered no. “What do you do then?” I asked and he said “I’m trying to find the meaning of this life.” That’s when I knew this guy was nuts, but I didn’t leave. He had this childish look with his tussled hair and his big smile which never went away. He had a big energy and kind eyes that looked at me like I was a great movie. We kept talking for hours. Well, I talked, and he just listened, which was nice for a change. He seemed to have no other intentions but to talk to me. Maybe he was lonely, I thought. Boy was I right.
I should hurry up telling you guys this story, because Mika will be home very soon. Today is an important night for both of us, and I want it to be perfect. I’ll explain later on why, but for now, I need to finish recounting the first day that we met. So, he asked me if we could hang out again, and I said yes, as long as it was at a public place (he was cute but still weird). I asked him for his phone number, but he didn’t have a cell phone. It was 2013 back then. How was it that this young man didn’t have a phone? I asked if there was a way I could communicate with him. He said we would meet again here on Friday at 6pm. He left, and all I could do was think of this absurd guy I had just met. It’s not that I wasn’t good looking, but people normally just don’t approach me at all, and especially not that straight-forwardly. I was excited and intrigued. I decided to be there that Friday.
Friday finally came, and I washed my hair with the carrot shampoo, put on my best jeans and sweater, and headed to the coffee shop. There’s something you should know: no matter how hard I try to be on time, I always end up being at least 5 minutes late. I got to the coffee shop at 6:12, and he was already there talking to a girl who worked at the coffee shop. I got close to him, and I said hi. He turned around and smiled at me like he hadn’t seen me in ages. He hugged me, and I’m sure that he smelled my hair. I ordered a tea, and sat down next to him. He told me that I was late, and I said that I was sorry, but that I couldn’t find my keys anywhere. I remember now that he had tried to dress up this time. His hair was pushed back with gel, I guess. He was wearing a sports jacket a little too big for him, and a pair of nice jeans and his cowboy boots. I thought it was the most adorable thing ever.
We talked more, and then I realized I was doing all the talking again. I asked him where he came from. He said he came from far off. I really couldn’t get much out of him when it came to his personal life. He said that he didn’t know his parents and that he had lived with an adopted family that were now long gone. He had just moved to New Orleans 3 years ago, and he had fallen in love with this beautiful and crazy town. He loved that people were unique here, and he felt that he fit right in. His favorite holiday was Mardi Gras in NOLA, or Halloween if he was somewhere else. The more he talked with me, the more I saw him relax for a little bit. He wasn’t moving in his chair like he had sand on his ass.
The days went on, and we hung out more and more. I was really starting to like this weird, childish man. He was winning my heart with small things. He would make picnics for the two of us in the terrace of his apartment. He would take me camping, and we would spend the night looking at the stars. He showed me the constellations. He would be walking down the street and if a band started playing music, he would dance with me, right there in the middle of the street. Or he would yell from his terrace that he loved me when I went to school. It seemed like he didn’t care about what other people would think of him. And I loved him for that. Slowly but surely he had won my heart. Then everything came together when, one day, he decided to come clean.
We were at my apartment watching E.T. (he didn’t have a TV). I said how awesome it would be to have an alien friend, and be able to travel to space with him. He asked me if I would stay with him no matter what. I said that I think I would, and then he decided to come clean. He told me his real name was Cronimikalao from the planet Capri in the Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf spiral galaxy. Of course, at first I thought he was joking. He was known to say crazy things like that all the time. But then I started thinking of all the weird things he used to do. He was scared of electronics and cats. He ate weird stuff all the time, like olives with chocolate pudding … or he could eat McDonald’s every day, and never get sick. He didn’t have a sense of time and didn’t know the history of the world. I said that I couldn’t believe what he was saying, and that maybe I should go, even though it was my apartment. I went to take a walk, and when I came back he wasn’t there.
We didn’t speak for a few days, and then I decided to go to his apartment. When he opened the door, I almost didn’t recognize him. He looked slightly older, instead of 23 he looked like he was 30. I knew it was him by the yellow hint in his eyes, and the clothes (that now fit a little too tightly). I was shocked, to say the least. He asked me to stay. He said that he could explain it to me, but that we needed to drive so that he could show it to me. We drove for like 30 minutes or more into the swamps, until we found his old spaceship. He said he hadn’t been there in months. From there we took a boat into the swamps, and after making our way deep into the cypress trees, he took out a little whistle made of quartz. He whistled to the air, and suddenly I felt the boat shake, and the water quaked furiously. I was scared to death, and I thought we were going to drown. Gradually, this bright light came from the bottom of the swamp. Then slowly his spaceship came out from the water, and floated right in front of us. By this time, I was soaking wet and shaking with fear.
He asked me if I wanted to go inside. Hell yes, I wanted to go inside! We walked in, and there was this cold feeling to it. It was really a spaceship, a freaking spaceship, with lights and buttons and letters that I couldn’t understand! I was shocked. I didn’t know what to think. My boyfriend was an Alien, like a real Alien. I turned to him, and it seemed he had become more beautiful instantly when he walked into the spaceship. His skin was almost golden, and his eyes became lighter. He had a huge smile on his face, and I couldn’t help but smile myself. But then I panicked. “What if he brought me to probe me or something like that?” I thought to myself. I got nervous and asked him if he was going to kill me. He laughed warmly, and said that he would never do that. He loved me, and he would never hurt me. He then proceeded to kiss me, slowly and then more passionately. We went from kissing to something more passionate, and before I knew it, we were naked in what seemed like a bed in the spaceship. How many people can say that their first time with their boyfriend was in a spaceship, a real spaceship with your alien boyfriend who comes from another galaxy?
After a while, we got out of the spaceship. It was dark outside when we got into the boat, then the car to drive back home. On the way back, I couldn’t resist asking him about his planet. He said he couldn’t remember much, but that it was beautiful. The trees are twice as big as any tree on earth, and there’s never darkness, just color everywhere. People live in open houses with no gates, and neighbors are always welcome. People dress in precious stones and textiles that they make for themselves, soft as silk. I was in love with Capri, and I had never been there. I asked him if I could ever go visit. He then became sad, and said that I couldn’t for two reasons. One was that his spaceship was broken and it wouldn’t make the trip back; he was stuck here. Second was that the trip took thousands of years in human form, which meant that I wouldn’t be alive by the time we got there. This news made me sad, because it meant that he and I couldn’t see Capri together. Then I asked how it was that he survived the trip from Capri to Earth. That’s when he told me that the only way his kind can survive trips is be regenerating every 3 years. If things weren’t complicated already!
He was born again every 3 years into a baby, with no memory whatsoever of his previous life on earth. That’s why he looked like a 30 year old today. He was going to grow older at a faster rate until he went through this complicated process upon which, at the end, he was going to come out as a one year old. “What the hell!” was the only thing I could think at that moment. He explained that this was the only way his kind could ever survive the long trips throughout the universe. When we got to his apartment in the French Quarter I was exhausted. I had just ended quite a day, and I was ready for bed. I still remember his begging eyes when he told me to not disappear out of his life. He loved me, and he didn’t want to be away from me. I told him that I had to think about what I had just experienced.
I drove back home with tears in my eyes. Oh boy, how I longed for the days we had lived just three days ago. I thought his little weird traits were cute, but this is much more than I could ever chew. I mean even the fact that he was an alien didn’t bother me as much. It was the fact that every three years he would be gone. He wasn’t going to remember me at all, and he was going to be a fucking baby. What did I know about taking care of a baby at 21? I went to bed having the weirdest and disturbing dreams of my life. When I woke up the next morning, I realized that, no matter what, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mika. I loved him and there was nothing I could do about that. I decided to call him and tell him I was in … but if at any moment, I was out, he shouldn’t try to stop me. He agreed. And then I saw him grow older and older each month that went by. At first I wanted to run away, but I couldn’t. You see, Mika never lost his energy or that gleam in his eyes that I adore. He kept being this childish kid, even if his body was that of a 70 year old.
Then the first regeneration came, and I was stunned. Here there was this baby that couldn’t stop crying and didn’t look like my Mika, except in the eyes, his eyes were always there, looking at me. At first I wanted to cry with the baby, but then slowly I fell in love with him like a little brother. He still had that devilishly charm, even as a baby. He was playful, and kept looking at me like he knew me. He then grew up again and again. Although he couldn’t remember our life at all, I did have the hope our love was going to be stronger than that, and he was going to grow up to remember me, remember my name and all the amazing time we had together over the last year. I had to make him fall in love with me all over again. I took him camping so he could see the Magellanic Cloud galaxy (which in the middle of the forest at night you can see perfectly). His eyes then turned sad, and I could see the longing in his face of wanting to go back home. I wanted the same. I wanted the same Mika that I knew. Slowly again he turned into that Mika, and then we were again dancing in the street, making love in the middle of the day, ordering Chinese, and staying in bed watching TV. I was happy because he was back, but at the same time I wasn’t completely happy. I knew what was coming. It’s like knowing the day you’re going to die, so you try to do as much as you can before the day shows up. I didn’t want to be apart from him! It had taken me so long to get to this point. I didn’t want to let it go that easily. Then he started to change again; I could see him getting bigger, his hair turning white, and wrinkles here and there. Then there was the next regeneration.
This regeneration was by far the hardest. Everything was honey over flakes until he turned 16. By this time I was working, and he was pretending to go to school. He came home one day to tell me he was in love with someone else. Upon hearing this, I just screamed at him and yelled obscene words that would put a sailor to shame. How was it possible that after all I’ve been through with him, he was in love with someone else? Didn’t he know how hard the past 5 years had been for me?! I was in love with someone who couldn’t remember me. And now he was in “love” with some other person who probably didn’t even know he was an alien. I left storming out of the apartment, and he didn’t bother to follow me. I spent a few weeks away; I wanted to forget him more than ever. I mean, when he was growing up from being a baby, I was more like a sister to him than anything, but he couldn’t be that stupid, right? I was hurt and I felt stupid. I didn’t talk to Mika at all. Then one day I ran into him at the supermarket. He was with this girl who was taller and prettier than any girl I’ve seen. I turned to leave, but running out, I crashed against a dude and knocked both of our groceries to the ground. Mika saw us trying to pick things up, and he came to help. He looked at me with those yellowish eyes, and smiled at me. “Where have you been, stranger?” he asked me. I stood up and told him I had been busy with work, which was true. He said that he wanted to introduce me to someone, but I said that I had to actually get going. He said he would love to get some coffee with me sometime. We agreed to meet the next day for coffee at 7pm. On the ride back to my apartment I kept thinking why I had agreed to meet for coffee.
The next day I showed up at 7:15 pm. “Always late” was his greeting. I said I was sorry, but I needed to stop at the gas station or I was going to be stranded in the middle of the way home. He ordered a chai latte for me and a black coffee for him. He remembered those small details for some reason. We talked for a while, and he kept looking right into my eyes, like he was searching for my soul. I knew he was trying to understand who was this stranger in front of him, and why he was so interested in me. He kept looking at me, like he did every now and then, like I was a great movie. We kept having coffee every Thursday around that same time for the next few weeks. I wasn’t going to pressure him to fall back in love with me. I loved him, but I knew being in a relationship with him was going to be the most complicated thing of my life. He talked about the tall girl and everything they did together, like going shopping and to the movies. He thought she was a little materialistic and boring. “She doesn’t smell like carrots like you do” he told me. “She puts all these different products with different smells. It’s weird and disgusting” he said while making a face. We kept going like this for a couple more weeks until one day, he was the one who showed up late. He said he was sorry, but he had a good reason. He had just broken up with the tall girl. He couldn’t take it anymore, and he was tired of her bitching about everything. He said there was also another reason, and he took a single sunflower out of the pocket from his jacket. It was my favorite flower. He said he saw it in a flower shop, and it reminded him of me. Our relationship was back on track, and I felt whole again.
So that’s pretty much the story of our relationship until now. Today is an important day, because he’s regenerating again. It’s the fourth one, and as much I keep saying it will be easier next time, I know it won’t. I made his favorite dinner so he can be happy. He gets really gloomy before he regenerates. He knows it’s hard for me to try to build our relationship every time he is “born” again. He hates that he will not remember me. “All I know is that carrot shampoo means something to me,” that’s what he tells me. We will have dinner. We’ll play some music, and we’ll waltz around the house. We’ll make love. We’ll hold each other until I fall asleep, then he’ll go to his special room where he’ll regenerate. I’ll have the 70-year-old Mika saying goodnight to me, and wake up to one-year-old Mika greeting me in the morning. I’ll wash my hair with the carrot shampoo, head downstairs, open the door of the room and hold this baby with yellowish eyes in my arms. Knowing that deep inside those eyes, he’s waiting for me.