I was visiting an online friend of mine (we'll call her "Jenny") who lives out west. I'd been invited to stay at her house for a week, though from the beginning of the trip I didn't feel like I fit in very well. Jenny's hometown looked like something from another planet. I've never been to the western U.S., and my subconscious seemed to regard it as some sort of alien territory. The ground was red, hard, and covered with craters. There was no grass, and the sun shone all day and most of the night.
Jenny really wanted me to fit in with her friends, so we spent most of our time with them. They kept trading inside jokes, and I kept waiting for someone to explain them to me. No one did. They weren't being mean to me, exactly, but they weren't exactly treating me like a guest either.
Jenny announced that the best part of the day was soon to come: we would all be going to the store in her hometown that sold anime paraphenalia and everything ever made by Crayola. This didn't thrill me. Jenny and her boyfriend went to the top of a hill and hopped into a stretch limo that was going to take them to the store.
"I'll meet you there!" she called to me through one of the limo's open windows as the car pulled away. She told me to walk to the store with some of her other friends, because she thought I'd "like it better that way."
But I decided not to go. Instead, I went back to Jenny's house, where I ran into her mom cleaning out the garage. She said I could play with Jenny's younger siblings, if I wanted. They were "out back."
The backyard wasn't a yard at all. The entire thing was an inflated yellow moonwalk. The younger kids were uncontrollably bouncing up and down. One of the kids started talking to me about the "Crayola store." Apparently, Jenny and her boyfriend went there every day. The family was much richer than I thought.
I knew I didn't fit in at Jenny's house, and I knew I'd never get used to the strange landscape, but for some reason, I didn't want to go home.