It has been a long time, but I distinctly recall the sounds and sights of my alien friends. I was only about 8 or 9 when they first visited me. I frequently heard their voices calling to me, as small sounds in the night, like whispers into my ear. I’d listen hard, trying to make out a few words. Sometimes I even saw them. They signaled with little flashes as the dawn light entered my room, or in daytime with dancing lights in rays of sunshine. They must have been quite tiny, these friends from other worlds. At night, I’d look for signs of their spaceships in the sky. I knew that someday they would invite me to take a trip with them, carrying me far from adolescent troubles to wondrous places of beauty, adventure, and joy. Out there, pain and suffering were unknown. They would show me the galaxy, they would choose me as their ambassador to Earth, and I would bring the news of our great new future to all of humanity. It was only a matter of time, and of my ability to decipher their whispers in the night.
I’m now in my fifth decade of life, and I have not seen or heard from my friends since I was a teenager. I still believe they are out there, somewhere, but I am no longer convinced that they really visited me in my bedroom. Growing up can change your perspective in remarkable ways. The tooth fairy and Santa Claus don’t seem quite the same now as they did when I was a child. My little stuffed bear, whom I’d affectionately named Wilshire Boulevard, never did grow back the hair I clipped off him one day, even though I was sure he would. My alien visitors seemed so very real, but now it seems more likely that I saw reflections from dust suspended in the air, and that the whispers in the night were just the sounds that I still hear but now interpret quite differently.
Still, I have not given up hope of someday meeting my friends again. I am more convinced than ever that wondrous worlds really do await us, if only we can put aside our human hatreds and wars and survive long enough to meet those who have inhabited this universe for millions or billions of years before us. Yes, growing up can change your perspective in remarkable ways. I no longer believe in the voices in the night, in the dancing