On one especially warm and sunny day, an eight year old boy laid unconscious on a sandy Hawaiian beach. As he slowly awoke, he could feel the sun's rays piercing him, fueling his discontent. His eyes widened and peered around the beach to see it full of

people in colourful swimwear and traditional Hawaiian outfits. His hearing focused on the calming sound of waves crashing gently on the shore. Amidst the foreign words of those around him, the peaceful sound grounded him in this unfamiliar place.

Before any thoughts could enter his head, another sound piqued the boy's interest - a rustling emerged from a large patch of palms behind him. It was then the hustle and bustle of the beach magically transformed into slow motion. This turn of

events caused fear to claw at the boy, tightening his small chest. He pulled himself out of the sand weakly as the noises from the forest intensified. His body felt so fragile,

panicked - yet coupled with fear was intense curiosity.

The chestnut-haired boy then caught a glimpse of blue. It streaked palm to palm, like a monkey. There were mutters of strange noises he could not identify as a language. From this short sighting, he could have sworn the creature had several limbs.

As the sandy boy approached the trees, the surrounding people had become

frozen in time. There was no sound or movement other than the muttering blue creature whipping along. Abruptly, it stopped and held itself, one hand and foot anchored to a limb, and set its sights on the boy.

The boy's head spun as he struggled to understand the creature dangling above him. It indeed had several limbs - what appeared to be four arms jutting from his sides and two legs at the bottom. Its ears were pointed and perky, with antennae sticking up between them. It had large, wide eyes. Pointed teeth sparkled at him as it grinned slyly. Yet, he sensed a playfulness and friendliness in its nature.

Now the boy's mind seemed to clear, thoughts breaking through and racing in.

Who - WHAT - are you, and where am I? How did I get here? He noticed he was speaking aloud. The creature simply smiled its pointy-toothed grin, then muttered something else indistinguishable. Despite the lost boy's feeling of disorientation, he also felt comfort. This was a strange yet friendly creature. He felt a pull toward it, like it would show him a place to belong.

The wild blue creature sized up the sandy, chestnut-haired boy. He was small,

even scrawny, and disheveled. Large, curious brown eyes were set among fine features. A spray of freckles landed in a strip across his cheeks and nose. His face was pinkish with heat, fear, confusion.

No, it thought, this boy is not from here. He is like me. It knew he was special. I must show him that it is good and safe here. The creature was convinced: This boy is a friend.

The creature stealthily climbed down from the tree and took the boy's hand. In

that moment, time returned to normal. With this touch, the boy's worries and questions melted away.

"I'm Harry," he said, upbeat, as he gripped the creature's clawed paw. The creature looked back at him, pointing to its stomach with one of its four arms. "STITCH," it exclaimed clearly, eyes alight.

The pair wandered through the palms hand in hand. Harry absorbed the beauty of this place. It was filled with luscious green leaves, as well as bright purple and pink

flowers in bloom. Tropical birds cawed cheerily from high up in the branches.

Once Harry and Stitch had made their way out of the forest, there was no longer a beach: a bustling village stood before them, full of people walking about and shopping at street markets. This place was marvelous, awe-inspiring. Harry had never seen anything like it before.

Stitch walked among the busy humans, and they didn't give him a second glance.

As they walked along the crowded marketplace, Harry began to notice other oddities. There in fact were other non-human creatures here, alien-like and all unique, mingling among the crowd.

"Coconuts, get your coconuts here!" called a plump, cheery male vendor, waving the large objects around in the air like pom-poms. Harry felt comfort in recognising

these words. He now even felt more at home. On cue, his stomach grumbled. As if Stitch could feel this himself, he tugged on Harry's hand and positioned them at the coconut cart.

"Ah, hello there, Stitch and friend!" the gleeful salesman exclaimed. Bright yellow pineapples gleamed at them from the stand. Stitch put two fingers in the man's face.

The vendor then produced a coconut and pineapple, slyly winking at Stitch. Stitch took the treasures and began viciously digging into the hard shell and prickly skin. In an instant, the coconut was cracked and pineapple peeled. They both delivered an intoxicating aroma.

The pair walked along, eating their tropical treats and taking in the sights. A street away from the marketplace, there were neat lines of large sea-side homes looking down at them. They showed signs of activity as Harry observed an old couple working in

the lawn of one home and young children giggling and playing, a smiling mother looking on in front of another. One home in particular struck Harry, and he stopped to admire it.

The house was built up high with a tall, two-tier staircase winding up to the front door. It stood out in a bright blue hue with red paint accenting the door and roof. A

green Jeep was parked in a makeshift carport located underneath the heightened

foundation. Tall palms encased the back and sides of the house, like a leafy hug. This dwelling certainly had an inviting glow to it.

Stitch noticed Harry's awe, sparking an idea. Friend, he remembered. Once again he tugged at Harry, eagerly leading him up the walk. Harry obediently followed, every

event feeding his insatiable curiosity and wonder. As Harry and Stitch approached the door, they could hear the muffled sound of conversation between a little girl named Lilo and her older sister Nani.

"I'm sure he'll be home any second," the little girl, Lilo, in her red and white palm leaf print dress reassured her over-protective sister, Nani. Nani stood over her, tall and muscled, long dark sheet of hair waving around as she spoke, insistently.

"He always wanders off with no consideration then comes back whenever he -" The door swung open as Stitch presented himself in the entryway of his home.

"Stitch!" Lilo exclaimed, her eyes sparkling. "Where did you run off to this time?

Without me?!" The small yet fierce girl ran to the creature and embraced him. Nani continued to stand there with her hands on her hips, yet a small smile creased her lips.

Nani then noticed young Harry standing behind Stitch. She definitely did not recognise the boy, but felt instantly concerned for him.

"And who is your friend, Mr. Stitch?" Nani inquired of her alien son.

"Friend," Stitch replied in his odd voice, pointing his finger toward Harry.

Harry stepped closer, speaking up to properly introduce himself. Once his name left his lips, his mysterious story came flooding back. For some reason, he trusted this creature and this family, and wanted to share with them.

"I don't know how I got here, but when I woke up I met Stitch. He has shown me around. He has been a good friend to me." Harry smiled, reassured. Yet he felt he owed more of an explanation - to them, and himself.

"I don't know where I lived before… my family…" Harry trailed off. He thought to himself, Did I have a family? No memories came. He looked down at his feet, at a loss. A tear slowly streamed down his cheek. There was an ache inside of him.

Stitch used one of many arms to pat the sad boy on the back. Lilo stepped closer and respectfully waited a moment before speaking.

"Harry, I have a story to tell you!" she began. "Did you know that before Stitch became a part of our family, he was lost too?" Stitch nodded passionately as Harry looked into Lilo's caring face. Nani had also come forward, her face softer now.

"She's right," Nani added. She placed a hand on Lilo's shoulder. "We invited Stitch to be part of our family as he became a good friend of Lilo's and had nowhere to go. As we say in our home, Ohana means family, and that no one is left behind or forgotten."

"A little lesson in Hawaiian for you!" Lilo giggled, and Harry cracked a small smile. Perhaps the feelings he had been having all throughout this place were trying to tell him something important. It all led to this moment.

Harry sniffled and wiped his face. Lilo and Nani really adopted Stitch, a wild alien creature, into their home and family? He was astonished and overwhelmed at the

possibility.

"What we mean to say is," Nani continued, "there is a place for you here, with us. You can stay as little or as long as you like. It is safe here, although a little crazy!" Nani playfully glared then rolled her eyes at Lilo and Stitch.

"Yay!" both Stitch and Lilo exclaimed, jumping up and down excitedly. It was clear that they both were satisfied with this idea.

Harry considered for only a moment, as he now knew that this Hawaiian paradise and this quirky yet caring trio could truly be his home - his ohana.