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The Adjunct Professor's Alien Girlfriend

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, "Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side," and serves on the Board of Trustees. She won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, 2010, the SFPA's Dwarf Stars Award, 2012, and the Elgin Award for best poetry collection, 2015. She has won the Bram Stoker Award _ for Poetry, the Rhysling Award and the Grand Master Award from the SF & F Poetry Association, 2015. Marge's poems and stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, You, Human, Chiral Mad,, and Scary Out There, to name a few.

Let's say she obtained a green card, stating she was a formerly a resident of the Isle of Man. She got away with it, too. No problem for a confident young woman and being attractive helped as well. As she was already a fine specimen of humanoid, any slight difference was easy to mask.
We don't know how such inter-galactic travel in so short a time was possible, but we suspend our disbelief. Surely we can only guess why she selected a small college in the northeastern USA. Perhaps the scholarly population would best suit her species' intents and needs for intellectual study without attracting attention. With that in mind, let's say she joined an online dating service. Within due time, a certain shy young man happened upon her photo. After a brief exchange, they arranged to meet. When all's said and done, there is no logical explanation for the rest of what happened.
He kept his hands in his pockets when they met, as if she might be contagious. They walked a ways, stopping at the bridge to watch the fish perform a shadowy ballet. Over coffee, he told her she had pretty hair. Later, he sat on the rug in her apartment, sipping mulled wine. He shared his ideas softly and painfully slowly, as if she were only providing a space for him to address her ornamental pillows.
At first, she was amused. There was certainly something about him that she found attractive, but she couldn't place what it was. The multiple sexes on her world were all equally bright with many mutual talents, mutual interests.
After a while, she found herself plucking the lint balls from his sweater and assuring him that she was here if he needed her. She learned to cook dishes just like his mother used to make, though they were beyond digestible for her. Her oatmeal cookies were exceptional. When he complimented her on them, she felt a new and overwhelming pleasure. Most of the time, she responded thoughtfully to his references to Nietzsche or Nabokov, endured the endless Havel quotes. She was silent when he gazed off nobly, so infused with words and wisdom, more than she could justify. But she loved the way he smelled, his eyes, his helpless honesty. When it finally happened, the sex was a very nice surprise.
Then came notification that her sabbatical was timed out. So it was that she returned to her home planet and gave her report. To the shock of her esteemed colleagues, she broke down in great sobs, garbling about her feelings for this gentleman of Earth. It made quite a sensation, for those of her status were esteemed for their impassiveness. This display would ruin her career, as she well understood. Yet to her surprise, others stepped forward, requesting to accompany her back to reunite with him. And so it came to be.
Though she was brighter than he could possibly imagine, she never let him know. When he proposed, she accepted. Of course she stuck around for his lifetime--a fact that pleased him immensely, though he never got around to telling her. That part didn't matter.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Author Comments

This little piece has been through several (unpublished) incarnations. It seemed to me it was always missing something until some months ago. I asked myself, "What would Sturgeon do to make this speak to more readers?" He must have whispered in my ear when I was sound asleep, because it came to me the next day. And I knew I finally got it right!

- Marge Simon
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