Melissa Applies For a Trip


by Melissa Franklin

Melissa Franklin, who visits this site on the web, has applied for a grant to visit Bobo’s home planet. The application requires, among other things, an essay explaining why the applicant wants to go. She has allowed me to post it here. If she gets to go, she says she will send me regular reports about her trip, so check back for updates. Ken

Now that I am an adult, most people pretend not to even notice it, but occasionally someone will ask me how I hurt my left eye. I have a birth defect—a very small but very cruel one: my left eyelid is missing one tiny muscle; and as a result, it always looks like I have a sty. I had a number of operations when I was very little, but surgeons aren’t magicians. At its worst, it looks like I have been crying or haven’t slept enough.

But when I was a little girl, it looked a lot worse than it does now, and the other kids made fun of me. I used to dread the beginning of every school year! By the time I reached high school, I was convinced that I was hideously ugly. I had the same pimples all the other kids had, but I also had a teenage girl’s worst nightmare: a facial flaw that make-up couldn’t hide! I was terrified that none of the boys would like me. My bashfulness made everyone think I was haughty and stuck up! The result was that I didn’t have much of a social life at all.

In the last year of high school, one of the guys in my history class befriended me. He became my first boyfriend. Pretty soon, we were dating; and in my last year of high school he proposed to me! I was ecstatic! Of course I agreed, but my parents didn’t like the way things were going. In retrospect, they were right: I just fell for the first guy who said “I love you” and hung on him so tight because I was scared I wouldn’t get a second chance. No one else would want a girlfriend with a funny eye, I thought. My parents argued that I was acting out of false desperation and not love, but I was too dumb to listen. We eloped.

The marriage did not last very long, and I did not have any children. It took some time to build back my relationship with my parents, and everything seems to be better for me now that every before in my life.

But this is why I want to go to Homeland!

All my life, people have been cruel to me. In high school it was so bad that I was driven to deep depression and thoughts of suicide! Popular music drove me nearly insane, because it’s all about love and dating; and I didn’t believe that I really had a chance. Instead, I retreated into the world of science fiction, of other people on other worlds, who could love and accept me. In fact, when things were really bad, I used to look out my bedroom window late at night. I watched the clouds pull themselves across the moon like a veil across a face, and indulged in my fantasies.

In my fantasy, a flying saucer would land just outside my window, and let down a ramp. A tall, beautiful woman dressed in a sheer white gown would walk down the ramp towards me. She was radiantly beautiful and had long blond hair swept by the breeze. She walked gracefully, until I could see her face: a lump would grow in my throat and tears would come to my eyes as I saw that her left eye looked just like mine!

“Come to me, my child,” she would say, “I was very worried about you when we lost you. Come to me, and I will take you home!”

I used to fancy myself an artist, and the woman emerging from the flying saucer was my dominant theme as I progressed from crayons to charcoal pencils. She was my real mother, and she would comfort me in my affliction and help me escape to a better world.

As I got older, the tall beautiful woman became a handsome young man, but the rest of my fantasy was the same. Sometimes I just wished it were true, sometimes I dreamed it at night. I always awoke crying, wishing I could sleep forever and live in my dreams.

Sometime in adolescence, I abandoned the flying saucer fantasy and took up housekeeping with unicorns. You should see my apartment! Unicorn statues, unicorn paintings, unicorns everywhere! The unicorn was a symbol of my uniqueness and my loneliness—and they lend themselves better to interior decorating than flying saucers.

Now I am an adult, and these problems are mainly behind me; but I found my fantasies returning to me in the stories about Bobo, Ken Collins, John Anderson, and the others. My friend Joanne first introduced me to these stories on the web, but she did not realize why I liked them so much or so quickly. At first I thought they were fiction; but when I found out that Ken Collins was a real person, and not just a character, I began to hope that the other people were real too! For the Homelanders in the stories are people as I have always dreamed about: kind, friendly, considerate—or in a word, mature.

I very desperately want and need to visit Homeland, which has turned out to be the embodiment of my lifelong dreams. A visit to Homeland would vindicate my girlhood struggles, and give me new strength to live my adult life here on Earth.

Please, please let me go to Homeland!