What was Martha supposed to do knowing that there was an alien in her house? Was she supposed to go to sleep in her great ancient bed, where she had a sky light and could see the starlight even with her eyes closed? Was she supposed to pace back and forth in her large empty bedroom where the floors felt like they went on forever, unhindered and dark? She stood a long while beside her window and looked down to the first floor, where the streetlights shone brightly and she could see her little blue Toyota parked there beside the fire-hydrant. The alarm clock told her she had five hours before work, and she knew that if she fell asleep now she would simply be too tired when she came in to enjoy herself. She might as well stay up.
She watched Orange is the New Black for two hours and organized her closet. She found a lot of old books that she hadn’t had room for before, so she put them out where her textbooks used to be. She moved her favorite books onto her desk and ironed several blouses for work.
She didn’t know what to think. She was wide awake now, her brain running smooth as clockwork, yet she couldn’t be sure of anything. She wondered what the lady in the space suit would require of her to do; whether she just wanted Martha to harbor her, or food that she would need, and if Jun’s presence would bring any unnecessary danger. She felt a little helpless and knew that she had no choice in this matter, no more than if Jun had pushed her against the wall and forcedly entered her mind. She did not like having an alien in her house, if that even was what Jun was. Martha liked everything in her life to make sense, to be something easy to follow and succeed in, and until last year she had been quite satisfied with everything. What terrible luck she had.
She tried to read but she could not focus. It was odd that Luke had arrived early, she realized. He was usually late to parties. Why he had been so eager to help and get involved it Martha could not tell, and she wondered a little if he had some ulterior motive. She thought about how serious and thrilling his glance at her had been, and she felt resentful and confused, but again she could not get any answers about it yet.
At six she changed into a pink checkered shirt, pink earrings and a grey skirt. She pulled her brown hair back and neatly combed it. If she was going to talk to the lady in the spacesuit it would have to be now, for if she started any later than she would be late for work. She found the woman in the living room, asleep on the couch with her beautiful blond hair draped over its side. Martha hadn’t really noticed how beautiful she was. She had flushed cheeks, unblemished, and dark full eyelashes. Her features were rounded and clear and her face a soft creamy color. She did not look like a human, Martha decided after a long minute. Or at least, she resembled a human in that she had eyes and a mouth and hair. She could not describe it well, but she felt something not quite right in the shape of her face; the eyes were spaced differently and were disproportionately large. The mouth was large, but attractive, and curved up as a smile even in her sleep.
“I am going to work,” Martha said in a calm voice, and the Jun’s large eyes open and blinked up at her. She sat up and stretched and yawned, as naturally as a cat.
“Oh yes, that is what you humans do, isn’t that right? You get into your little cars and drudge to places where you can get money from every day. Well, the time away will give me a chance to work on my Estute and fix it, maybe get some decent disguise going.”
“Well, good luck to you. Is there anything that I can do to make you more comfortable?” Martha asked, wondering how much money she had in the bank right now and how well she could financially handle this sudden duty she had taken onto herself. Jun only shook her head and smiled.
“I am an easy guest, my kind host. I will stay out of your way for the most part, and I do not eat your human food. And I’m sure I will answer any questions that you’ve accumulate throughout the day as soon as you get home. I can tell you hardly have an idea what is going on. You did not sleep well.”
“No,” replied Martha, who hadn’t slept at all. There was nothing more to say. She put on her dress shoes and cardigan, grabbed her bag and headed out the door. The air bit her cheeks and hands and the sky was rising in pink and gold across the park across the street. Her car door cracked and creaked as it opened from the ice and she quickly turned her heat on as hot it could go and rubbed her hands across the steering wheel to warm it up. She pulled out of her spot and headed downtown.
It took twenty minutes to get from her little second-story apartment at Brooklyn Terrace to Simon and Wilfred’s consulting services. She pulled into the parking lot at seven fifty and found that she was the first one there as usual, except the janitor’s little car parked near the back. He had left the door unlocked and Martha went in and turned the lights on. She had several tasks already for her on her desk in an untidy little pile; she found reminders on purple notes scattered around her computer screen, and the phone told her she had three voice mails that she needed to deal with. No doubt as soon as Mr. Wilfred walked through the door he would find five things she needed to get done. Her watch said seven fifty-five. She could have gone to straight to work but thought better of it and pushing the papers aside slowly sipped at her coffee. She wanted to be miles from here. She couldn’t think of any specific place, maybe a place with mountains or lots of books, as long as if it was as far away from this dreary cold little lawyer firm where she felt keenly that she did not belong.