That was almost a year ago and was also one of the happiest days of my life on Baptize. Baptize is a planet that mostly always raining, it has one of the shortest summers ever in the whole galaxy. It is only summer once every seven years and lasts for about an hour and then the sun disappears instantly and will never come back until another seven years. That was what the peoples here predicted, many say it’s a myth but I fully believe in it and that day is approaching very very soon.
Tetosis always has been a good friend for the whole time when I met him, we always seem to have the same opinions and such, and we never fought over anything at all. I met up with him in school, just same old same old here at school. We were told to make our own creative poems. Tetosis and I made our reference to the sun, though our classmate laughed and our teacher took that as an applause. We did not mind as long as we had each other, we don’t really care what the peoples on Baptize thought. Later that day Tetosis came up to me and told me something that sadden me a little more than I thought I be.
“Hey, calm down Alkaline even if we aren’t together to see the sun when it comes. Our bonds intertwined no matter how far apart we are.” Tetosis told me.
“Maybe you’re right” I calmed.
“So will you be managing w/o me for the rest of the day, then?” said Tetosis while we were working on an assignment together.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine as long as our bond remains” I flattered
“Well, I don’t have to go just yet. I’ll go in a half of an hour.” Tetosis smiled back.
After we had finished our assignment and the teacher came and we handed it in for her to grade. We just stared at each other for a few mintues.
“Well,” He finally said. ”I think a half of a time passed and I really need to get home,” Tetosis finished.
“Make sure, you don’t miss the sunlight that will come out later today.” I called after him before he closed the classroom door.
“I wouldn’t want to miss something important and interesting as that, take care Alkaline.” Tetosis said as he closed the rest of the door.
“He’s the only one that ever listens to you” said Tuck.
“I only need one person to listen to me, one is enough to keep me away from my loneliness” I replied
“Have you ever realized that only peoples who have daydreamed about the sun are the only ones that believe in it?”
“That’s not true!” I countered.
“You peoples make me sick just by looking at them. Come on; look at your names for an example.” He said.
“Alkaline and Tetosis” he mimicked.
I said nothing.
He pressed, “You two have the weirdest and the most complex names out of all of us, even the teachers.’
When I didn’t answer they all edged away from me; they would not look even lay an eye on me. I felt them go away. And this was because I would play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the underground city. If they played tag with me and they ran after they’ve tagged me, I would just stand blinking after them but I never followed. When the class sang songs about happiness and life and games my lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and the summer my lips would actually move as I watched the drenched windows.
And then, of course, my biggest crime of all was that I came here only five years ago from Earth, and I remembered the sun and the way the sun was and the sky was when I was four. And they, they had been on Baptize for nearly all their lives, and they must have been about two years old when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and heat of it and the way it really was. But I was one of a few to remember.
"Its temperature is like a warm burger," I said at once, eyes closed.
"No it's not!" the children cried.
"It's like a fire," I said, "in the stove." I added quickly.
"You're lying, you don't remember!" cried the children.
But I did remember and stood quietly apart from all of them and watched the patterning windows. And once, a month ago, I had refused to shower in the school shower rooms, and clutched my hands to my ears and over my head, screaming the water mustn't touch my small head.
So after that, dimly, dimly, I sensed it, I was different and they knew my difference and always kept away.
I was taught that my mother and father were taking me back to earth next year; it seemed vital to me that they do so, though it would mean the loss of thousands of dollars to my family. And so, the children hated me for all these reasons of big and little consequence. They hated my pale snow face, my waiting silence, my thinness, and my destined future.
"Get away!" The boy gave me another push. "What're you waiting for?"
Then, for the first time, I turned and looked at him. And what I was waiting for was in my eyes.
"Well, don't wait around here!" cried the boy savagely. "You won't see anything!"
My lips moved.
"Nothing!" he cried. "It was all a joke, wasn't it?" He turned to the other children. "Nothing's happening today. Is it?"
They all blinked at him and then, understanding, laughing and shook their heads. "Nothing, nothing!"
"Oh, but," I whispered, my eyes helpless. "But this is the day, the peoples predict, they say, they know, the sun. . . ."
"All a joke!" said the boy, and seized me roughly. "Hey, everyone, let's put him in a closet before teacher comes!"
"No," I said in fear.
They surged about him, caught him up and bore him, I protested, and then pleaded, and then breaking up, they led me into a tunnel, then into a room, and I saw the closet, they slammed me in and locked the door. They stood looking at the door and saw it tremble from my beating and throwing myself against it. They heard my muffled cries. Then, smiling, they turned and went out and back down the tunnel, just as the teacher arrived.
"Ready, class?" she glanced at her watch.
"Yes!" said everyone.
"Are we all here?"
The rain slackened still more.
They crowded to the huge door.
The rain stopped.
It was as if, in the midst of a film, concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something had, first, gone wrong with the sound apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting off all noise, all of the blasts and repercussions and thunders, and then, second, ripped the film from the projector and inserted in its place a peaceful tropical slide which did not move or tremor. The world ground to a standstill. The silence was so immense and unbelievable that you felt your ears had been stuffed or you had lost your hearing altogether. The children put their hands to their ears. They stood apart. The door slid back and the smell of the silent, waiting world came in to them.
The sun came out.
It was the color of flaming bronze and it was very large. And the sky around it was a blazing blue tile color. And the jungle burned with sunlight as the children, released from their spell, rushed out, yelling, into the springtime.
"Now don't go too far," called the teacher after them. "You've only two hours, you know. You wouldn't want to get caught out!"
But they were running and turning their faces up to the sky and feeling the sun on their cheeks like a warm iron; they were taking off their jackets and letting the sun burn their arms.
"Oh, it's better than the sun lamps, isn't it?"
"Much, much better!"
They stopped running and stood in the great jungle that covered Baptize that grew and never stopped growing, tumultuously, even as you watched it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of flesh-like weed, wavering, flowering this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the color of stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.
The children lay out, laughing, on the jungle mattress, and heard it sigh and squeak under them, resilient and alive. They ran among the trees, they slipped and fell, they pushed each other, they played hide-and-seek and tag, but most of all they squinted at the sun until the tears ran down their faces, they put their hands up to that yellowness and that amazing blueness and they breathed of the fresh, fresh air and listened and listened to the silence which suspended them in a blessed sea of no sound and no motion. They looked at everything and savored everything. Then, wildly, like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles. They ran for an hour and did not stop running.
And then it happened,
In the midst of their running one of the girls wailed.
The girl, standing in the open, held out her hand.
"Oh, look, look," she said, trembling.
They came slowly to look at her opened palm.
In the center of it, cupped and huge, was a single raindrop.
She began to cry and tear fell down her face from looking at it.
They glanced quietly at the sky, soon enough they all looked like they were crying as the raindrops fell down their faces.
A few cold drops fell on their noses and their cheeks and their mouths. The sun faded behind a stir of mist. A wind blew cool around them. They turned and started to walk back toward the underground house, their hands at their sides, their smiles vanishing away.
A boom of thunder startled them and like leaves before a new hurricane, they tumbled upon each other and ran. Lightening struck ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile. The sky darkened into midnight in a flash.
They stood in the doorway of the underground for a moment until it was raining hard. Then they closed the door and heard the gigantic sound of the rain falling in tons and avalanches, everywhere and forever.
"Will it be seven more years?"
"Yes. Seven more years, before it ever comes again."
Then one of them gave a little cry.
"We left him in the tunnel where we locked him inside the closet."
"Alkaline." They all said at once.
They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced out at the world that was raining now and raining and raining steadily. They could not meet each other's glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.
One of the children said, "Well . . .?"
No one moved.
"Go on," whispered the same children.
They walked slowly down the hall in the sound of the cold rain. They turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible. They walked over to the closest door slowly and stood by it.
Behind the closed door was only silence.
They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let me out.
I walked pass through all of them without looking back, and they move out of the way to let me pass as if I was somehow the guest of honor. I knew they were watching me, I can feel their heavy glares on my back. When I reached the other side of the room, I finally turned around and they all gasped because how grimed my face was when I stared at them. They already knew I was different and insult my name and thoughts for it, but they face I was making at them right this very moment told them that I don’t want to have a any similarity with them not a single one.
“I hope you guys are proud of yourselves.” I finally manage to say. They took it as an attack and took a step back. And I took that chance to step of the room.