I’ve been revisting some of my writing from a few years ago and I discovered this short story I started in 2007. While I’m working on completing it, I’d like to share it with you, and maybe get some feedback…
My sister came up with the theory that stadia are built like flying saucers because in ancient times (pre-Greek history, mind) the aliens first visited and their aircraft became a centre for much jollity and celebration (for them) while humans were left with the grueling task of proving themselves competent and worthy of the lavish reward afterwards.
After most of the aliens had left, the humans as humans are wont to do, hearkened for the days of yore and erected monuments in honour of the aliens and held games within them.
But no one really ever took my sister seriously. Not because she was the middle child. Because she was awkward. Not in the way she looked but because you never quite knew what to do with her. She just stood there sometimes, looking at stuff. She wasn’t naughty or stupid, or bland even. She wasn’t a goody-two-shoes. She was just Leticia. I think my mother felt it was such a waste of a pretty name on such a child.
I was, I must admit, a little frightened the day Leticia spoke to me. Sure, I knew her voice. She told me things all the time; things like “the sky was blue today, like every other day” but that hot afternoon in March, I believe was the first time she was actively directing her conversation at me. I wiped my sweating hands on my jeans, cursing the Gwagwalada heat, but experiencing that sinking feeling that I recognized as terror. I swiveled the chair in front of the computer 180 degrees so that I was facing her. “I have a theory,” Leticia had said to my back. “On aliens” she added when I turned around. And then she smiled.
In that instant, the ten years between us seemed to vanish. My sister had never smiled at me – not unless I was taking one of those toothy-grinned family photos. As you can imagine, most of her solo pictures were just that – solitary; and unsmiling – she always looked like she was blending into the background. Never screaming for a personality or an identity.
She stood there waiting for me to get back into the present. I smiled back, imagining a rictus grin spreading across my features – Our mother’s expression when she was trying to “connect” with her second daughter.
I stopped smiling.
The next time I smiled it was genuine. Her theory, like any other self-respecting conspiracy theory, sounded wacky, but in a crazy way (of course) it made sense. I stood up, wiping my hands on my jeans again. “Ok,” I said, “let’s take a drive into town and go look at the stadium.” If she was any other ten-year old, her face would have brightened. I picked up the car keys and slipped my driver’s license into my shirt pocket. When Leticia put her hand in mine, I wasn’t scared. Shocked but not scared. I squeezed and she squeezed back. I can perfectly understand why I heard the sound of smashing crockery coming from the kitchen where our mother was doing the dishes.
As expected, the trip was a little strange. All trips with Leticia are that way. “We have cows today,” was all she said. Even as I turned the old bulky Volvo into the stadium’s gate she was silent. I opened the back door for her and she climbed out. She took my hand again. “Wait,” I said, reaching into the pigeon-hole. I rooted until I found the old Polaroid camera that our dad had left there. I gave it to her and said, “So you can capture all those things you want to describe.” She took it without a word and we began to walk about the compound. I hoped that no security men with their rusty guns would be prowling around – I had no change with me.