It is late at night and I am lying in my bed willing the aliens to come to me, throwing my voice out into the night like a lifeline, looking for a catch. My pillow smells like musty baby powder. I want you to come. I have been wanting an alien to come for a long time. I had a feeling that you would be coming for days—a vague longing, an intuition of your arrival. I acted like I was pregnant or like I think I would act if I was pregnant. I baked; I looked at nature and saw the simplicity and design within it; I thought of what your face would look like when you came for me, not knowing whether to trust it or not. And then today, I made pop-n-fresh buns with cinnamon in honor of your imminent arrival—the silver color of the tubes and the way that you twist them to bring out the rolls always reminding me of a space ship opening. I have been looking for you for months in the normal passageways between dimensions.
At first I thought maybe aliens will visit me someday, and then probably I will be visited soon, and now, I know you are coming. I just need to wait and keep my body open like a good spoon.
I think about Elizabeth Klarer. I read a book about her. She was a scientist and meteorologist in South Africa who claimed that she was taken to another planet and had a child with an alien-scientist named Akon. She was madly in love with him and wrote in her memoir, “I surrendered in ecstasy to the magic of his lovemaking.” I think about those words a lot. I am a little jealous of her. I want to surrender in ecstasy. Akon said that he had been watching her all of her life and waiting for the right time to meet her. Later, she had to leave the planet of Meton because her heart couldn’t adjust to the vibrations of the magnetic field, but those things happen in love, difficulties arise.
I glance again at the checklist for alien abduction that I found in a book called Alien Abduction Instructions.
- Be ready for anything.
- Dress in white.
- Go to the field, the one you’ve been thinking about.
- Don’t even think about telling the press. It’s hard to be called crazy. It’s worse to be institutionalized.
- You are participating in an extraordinary experiment with alien/human contact.
- Don’t worry, be happy.
The last one makes me wonder. Who writes these books? Formerly abducted fraternity boys. They might as well say, It’s all good.
“When faced with alien contact, don’t panic. Alien contact has been happening on many levels for the past fifty years. There are studies that say that up to 50,000 people have received contact from aliens. Yet it is still not accepted by the mainstream. Don’t doubt your experience. Perhaps you have been feeling out of sorts recently, having headaches, strange dreams, hives, or dizziness. These are all symptoms of pre-alien contact. They are common precursors. Your body is readying itself. Eat a good meal and dress well before abduction. You may be gone for a long time and alien food does not always agree with our systems. Do not fear though. Aliens will not allow any harm to come to you. You may become hungry, but would never starve.’
Somehow I know that tonight is the night you are coming and I know where to go. There is a field that I have been thinking about for a long time. A field behind an abandoned house, near an old soapstone quarry. A beaver has moved into the old quarry and I go there sometimes to watch his progress damning up the streams that feed into it. I go there at dusk when the veil between the worlds opens up.
I lie on a Mexican wool blanket looking at the clouds, and then comes the moment that abductees have a hard time describing. I am looking at the clouds, which are lazy and rolling. One of the clouds starts to get bigger and bigger. It looks like a giant balloon. It starts to roll open as if it was bursting like a flower opening up, and then it pops open and inside it is a silver ship. I know that I have a choice to lie there or to let my body or my soul or what feels like me rise up into the ship. I think, yes, this is what I want. Then I am inside.
Inside, the walls have the softness and color of a rose petal. I wonder how everything looks sort of like flowers here and if this is my own special flower-shaped version of alien reality. Then I notice you are there. I feel you before I see you, the feeling of extreme excitement when you feel that someone you are attracted to is nearby and you turn your head to see them. You are standing there and you are the only one. Your body is yellowish but also translucent, so I can see a purplish gel inside of you, moving around, changing colors; you have no legs, but a trunk and a floating mobility—instead of a head is a hood-like area, and instead of eyes, five light holes of different sizes and shapes and five silver octopus-like tentacles. I’m not sure what I like about you, but I do like you. It feels like a childhood crush, making me slightly giddy with a swirling feeling in my chest and face and my eyes so wide open. I realize I am smiling.
You are all business at the start. You tell me that you are going to ask me some questions about my life and I should answer honestly. I feel slightly betrayed by your formality. I wish that we could just sit quietly and gaze at each other.
You are holding some of my papers. Somehow you got them from my bedroom. You are holding my journal open and I see it is a particularly embarrassing section about a boy I liked who didn’t like me and how crazy I felt and how I couldn’t stand it anymore.
“Tell me about this,” you say to me.
I feel confused. “Oh, that’s just my journal. It’s nothing important,” I say. “I was just writing how I felt. It’s personal.”
“We want to understand personal,” you say. “Why did you write this information? We have many records of all of the newspapers and television shows, but we are trying to investigate the personal writing of humans. Why do you write these things? Who are they for?”
I feel silly. I try to remember what I wrote. About how cute this boy was and how he had hurt me. It just doesn’t seem of intergalactic importance.
“I just wanted to express it. Get it out there,” I say.
“Is this part of the love ritual?” you ask.
Love ritual. Love ritual? These words are so odd. I don’t know what you are talking about. “What love ritual?” I say. Would you just have sex with me, I think. Why are you asking me these questions?
“In the book you write,” and now you are reading the scraggly handwriting of my journal. “‘Love will never work for me. I try too hard.’ How can you try too hard?” you ask.
You are humiliating me without knowing it. Like all humiliation, it excites me a little. I feel exposed but seen.
I don’t know why you want to talk about my journal. I thought this would be just sex and fluid sampling, but you are taking your job very seriously.
And, pointing to my journal, these pages written in the large schizophrenic handwriting of the severely emotionally disturbed, you ask, “What does pathetic feel like? Here,” you say, “you wrote, ‘I am pathetic in my love. Pathetic.”’
I start crying. Maybe I cry so you will comfort me or maybe because I don’t know what to say, or maybe because you are calling me on my neurosis, or maybe because, although I am very comfortable with the idea of being abducted by aliens, actually being abducted is a little strange and frightening. You respond to my tears, either because you have been taught that they are a bad sign, or because you are not so unlike me. I’ll never know. There are so many things I’ll never know which make you interesting to me.
“It’s OK. Rest,” you say like an alien mother. You put me on a surface that feels soft with a complicated texture, like a giant pincushion flower. You let me sleep for some time.
When you wake me up, you say that now you are going to ask me a series of questions that are not personal. Questions about earth and human life.
“Tell me about these animals you humans keep in your houses.” you say. “What is the relationship between those and humans?”
“I don’t have one of those animals—pets I mean. I’m not sure if I ever really understood that relationship. Some people seem to love them better than anyone else. They like to take them on walks.” My thinking is not so clear.
“But why are these animals of such interest to humans?” you ask.
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask someone else.” You are making me feel like an alien. I have never felt as strongly about dogs as other people. You should have picked a more typical human.
“Why do people have children, when they put such a strain on their energy supply?”
“Oh yeah.” You are good at seeing to the root of things. “Well there is economics and then there are emotions. I’m not totally sure, but I think when people have children they go a little crazy. It’s like falling in love. And so they don’t think about the economics or energy strain.”
I feel like I’m answering questions in school, making things up, lying a little. I feel like there are a thousand answers to these questions. Your questions are interesting, but I feel at a loss to answer them, incomplete in my knowledge. Have I ever lived on earth?
You ask. “What is the relationship between the nation-state called the United States and the much smaller one called Japan?”
Jesus, aren’t you supposed to be getting this stuff from textbooks and not from your average citizen? “I don’t know,” I say because I don’t know how to answer this question. You could get a better answer somewhere else. I realize that I have little to tell you about life. “Can’t you just get the answer from a book?” I ask.
“Assimilating all of the information that comes to us from textbooks and television is challenging,” You say stiffly, “There is much contradictory information.”
I think of you with all of your books and television shows and no teacher. It must be overwhelming. You seem kind of like seven-year-old kids lost in the woods with a map, but not knowing how to read it. I want to take your alien body in my hands and stroke it. I don’t like you worrying so much about information. I don’t like you wanting to find the right answer for things. I think that you are smarter than we are and I hope that you know that.
“You have to learn who to trust,” I say.
You keep asking me question after question until I grow dizzy. Why don’t you just throw the questions away?
Then seemingly out of nowhere you say, “What do you think about when you are performing the reproductive act?” And I perk up.
This is the kind of question I was waiting for. I can answer this. I look at you in your holes. “I have fantasies, or I think about love or just the feeling in my body,” I say.
“Why is the reproductive act so much reproduced in films and books?”
I laugh. “That’s tough,” I say. “Well there’s Freud’s answer. He said that sex was fundamentally the most important drive underneath every action. You should read Freud. He’s important.”
“What do you think?” You ask.
“Well, it’s kind of addictive. And it’s connected to love and—it’s fun.” Are you coming on to me? I’m starting to wonder.
You tell me, (shyly?) that you are supposed to learn about sex from me, from acting it out with me. This is an awkward pick-up line, but I don’t care. I want to see if you have any special energy tricks, some kind of cosmic hoodoo voodoo stuff that will open up my body in a new way. I don’t know what gender you are or what kind of sexuality you have. Does it matter? I don’t suppose you have a penis or vagina, so I don’t guess it matters what gender you are or if you have gender. I realize that up till now I have been thinking of you as a he because you somehow remind me a little of an old boyfriend.
You move towards me and put a cool long tentacle on my arm. You are moving it up and down along my inner arm and it has the slight feel of an electric charge. It feels like my arm is becoming lighter and lighter and I wonder if you are actually doing something to the particles of my body. Will this have lasting effects? Then you move another tentacle (this one hot) along my upper lip and I feel a smooth pressure against my mouth, not sticky, but with some texture, like a warm strawberry. I don’t know what to do and I don’t care. It’s not like I could have any idea. This hot and cold stuff is intriguing. Is each tentacle a different sensation? I look at the light holes in your hood. They are changing into a violet color.
“We will follow the directions in the book,” you say, but I see no book.
“OK,” I say, What book? The alien-human Kama Sutra?
Your complete awkwardness makes me want to help you. It is as if you are a virgin, but more than a virgin. Not like an awkward teenager but like someone who is skilled in one area learning something entirely new. Beginners mind. I guess we follow the directions in the book. Whatever book it is. I don’t know. I am lying on the metal table and you are standing next to me.
“Would you like kissing?” You ask.
“Yes,” I say. I am so easy. You put a cold tentacle on my mouth and this one tastes interesting and sweet like jasmine. I start licking it.
“You’ll have to excuse me,” you say, “I don’t have a penis.”
“Oh, of course,” I say.
“I am nonetheless interested in female sexual response,” you say.
“That’s good,” I mumble, thinking I can already see that. I want you to touch me in whatever ways possible. I realize that nobody will ever have to know about this. I won’t have to tell anyone. I don’t want to be on the cover of National Enquirer and Star. It’s like you and I are the only ones who exist in my world.
I say, “You can touch me and make me orgasm.” It’s such a strange word, but I don’t know if you’ll know the word “come.” But you must have done your research. You probably have Susie Bright in your back pocket. And you do touch me and I touch you or something of you in some way that I have always touched people, feeling my way towards what I think you like. Here, in this non-human world, knowing less but still thinking I can please you somehow.
I feel like I am fainting, swooning, and you are doing things on my body, but it isn’t just my body but my thoughts too. Yes, you are connecting to me on some other level, reading my mind maybe, and I am having all kinds of strange memories from my life (or are they from another life?), not stand-out memories, but moments that I didn’t even know I still held in memory. I remember the first time I dove into a pool and the feeling of my body shooting forward and the tenderness of realizing that I could hit my head against the bottom, getting out and feeling cold and my Snoopy bathing suit feeling tight and the lifeguard looking at me strangely. What’s going on in my head? It’s like it’s been taken over by a swarm of old memories.
Afterwards, I think it wasn’t like sex really at all. It was more like a strange interaction that I’ve never experienced. It wasn’t really conventionally erotic. You didn’t bite me or tie me up or say dirty things to me. You didn’t look into my eyes and melt with me or tell me you loved me. Yet I enjoyed it immensely. That’s the thing about enjoyment. The things that you think are going to be so enjoyable, like birthdays and romantic trips are often horrible, and the things that sound horrible, like really, really awkward sex, can be wonderful.
After you leave, I pine for you the way I pined for an out-of-town boy in high school—the separation between us making me long. Where does longing appear in the body? In the hands, the chest, the eyes, sometimes in the throat, a vague wanting to make syllables for the other, a need to talk, to communicate, that is cut off. A longing that reaches up into space and finds itself in some distant galaxy. I keep thinking of things that I should have told you. My body hurts in indefinable symptoms: throat itching, a dull headache, hands restlessly roving and touching objects. I find myself one night, watching television without watching, absent-mindedly stroking the couch cushion over and over, as if it were your tentacle. I go outside and look at the stars and try to figure out where you came from. I try to send you a telepathic message to come back, but I realize I don’t even know what direction I should send my thoughts. I look out into the direction that I think you came from, furrow my brow in concentration, and send the message: please please come back for more.