Of course it had to happen like that; I’d gone out without my gloves. I have a skin sensitivity that prevents me from being able to just pick stuff up. My folks think it has something to do with this planet’s climate; they heard of this happening right after our people first started coming here for vacation. After a few millennia, we evidently adapted and just moved here—sort of like how humans who have summer homes end up moving to that place year-round. However, there are a few of us who have whatever recessive gene that makes our skin flake like ash when we touch things. Ordinary things. Like the escalator rail, the shelves at the public library, the soap dispenser at school. I never know what will cause it so we went to our doctor and he prescribed these special gloves. They look like my hands (good thing we generally look like humans; we don’t grow eyebrows and our eye color is a bit different, but other than that, no obvious differences. Unless you cut us open, which is a whole different matter). He also wrote me a note that exempts me from gym class or anything physical; I had to get that when they assigned me to swimming classes last year. You don’t want to know what happens when I try to get near water that chlorinated. Think anaphylactic shock. Times 50. Anyway, I was walking to the auto parts store this morning and there was an older man in front of me. I happened to catch up with him and he started talking out of nowhere. “Hey, son; where ya off to in such a hurry?”
I wasn’t sure what to say. If I told him the truth he would think I was nuts; mom has a cold and the closest thing we can find that helps is antifreeze. I was going to buy her some. “Ah, my dad’s truck is on the fritz; keeps blowin’ antifreeze.”
He leaned heavily on his cane and closed his eyes as if he were looking at a movie in his head. “I had a ’74 Dodge used to do that.” He coughed out a laugh. “Oh, but you don’t know a thing about that, huh? Way before your time? Ancient history I bet. When were you born?”
If I told him the truth on that, he would probably scream, call the police, and have me committed. I’d wager my birthday was at least 40 years earlier than his. I lied instead since I looked more like 17. “I was born in 1996, sir.”
He smiled. “I figgered you wasn’t even 20 yet and I was right.” He reached into his pocket. “Let me see; I think I have a picture of me and the missus—Lord rest her soul—with that old Dodge.” And that’s when it happened. He must not have realized he’d dropped the envelope because he kept walking.
“Um, sir; you dropped something.”
He turned and ambled back to the envelope, and then placed his cane on it in case of an unexpected breeze. He then looked at me as if to gauge whether I was going to help the elderly by picking it up. I kept my hands firmly planted in my pockets and we took turns looking at the envelope and at each other. After about a minute, he smiled, looked up and down the street to make sure we were alone, and grabbed the envelope with a tentacle that suddenly appeared from beneath the back of his grandfatherly sweater. With a wink, he motioned for me to walk on with him. “You didn’t think you all were the only ones who moved here, did you?” He asked, innocently. “Oh! Here’s that picture I was tellin’ you about!”
And that’s how I came to make a new friend.
For today’s Write Now! prompt.