After yet another failed relationship, I knew that I needed to make a change in my life. I determined the solution to my problems: finding someone as far from my usual type as possible. That’s how I found Tom. Tom was an alien, and I had never dated anyone from another planet before. But that’s what excited me. He was just so remarkably different from all my past boyfriends, as he actually resembled intelligent life.
We met online. The instant I saw his profile photo, I was transfixed by his beauty. That gorgeous green skin, those enormous black eyes, that chiseled, rock-hard exoskeleton… not to mention what seemed like dazzling intellect: “Tom enjoys studying civilizations on other planets, creating mysterious patterns in crop fields on Earth, and taking long walks on the asteroid belt.” I absolutely had to meet him, so I sent him a message. And so, one thing led to another, and there we were, meeting for our date in the Cheesecake Factory. It was the height of romance.
Unlike my last few online dates, he was even more beautiful in person. The silvery-green scales of his skin shimmered in the light, and his smile was so broad that I could see all three rows of his sharp little teeth. “Wonderful to finally meet you,” he said huskily (in perfect English)! His voice was deep and raspy and sexy, like a beautiful love child of the voices of Rod Stewart and of the demon Pazuzu in The Exorcist. I was completely entranced.
Despite our obvious differences, we discovered we actually had a lot in common: we both frequently pondered our role in the universe, and neither of us knew which planet the Kardashians were from. I had so many questions about him and about life on other planets. So I took a chance and asked. “Is Tom your real name?” I inquired. “I’m dying to know. I was expecting something a bit more exotic.”
Tom laughed. “No, actually. I picked it after Tom Cruise—he’s very popular on my home planet. My real name is incomprehensible to the underdeveloped ears of humans, so I had to choose an Earth name when I moved here for my job.”
“You work here? What do you do?”
“Oh, nothing too exciting,” he said. “I just harvest DNA from human brain stems to send back to my home planet for use in synthesizing neural organs and prolonging our life spans. But let’s not talk about work! Let’s talk about you!” I blushed. He knew all the right things to say.
“Aren’t you going to get any food?” I asked him.
“Food?” He scoffed. “What am I? A primitive humanoid? My species has been absorbing nutrients from daily tablets for millennia.” Was there anything Tom couldn’t do? He was the most mesmerizing creature I had ever met, and I knew I was falling hopelessly in love with him. It was either love, or the strange substance Tom was excreting that was seeping into my bloodstream, that was causing my heart to race and me to sweat excessively. Did it even matter? All I knew was, I had to express my feelings.
“Tom, I know that we barely know each other, but I just want to say that… I think I love you.”
He smiled. “I am already aware of your feelings, for I can read your mind. And yes, while the time we have spent together has only been a minute portion of my life span, I too feel a strong connection with you. I find your genetic material to be pleasingly indicative of your chance of reproductive success.”
“That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard,” I said, choking back tears. “I want to spend the rest of my life exploring the universe with you.” But something was wrong. His face had suddenly twisted into a grimace.
“I have to go,” he said sharply, standing up to his full height of nine feet.
I was taken aback. “Tom? Are you ok? Are you sick?”
Tom shook his head. “I… I have gotten a vision of the future—our future, and it’s certainly bleak. We date, get married, and settle on my home planet. But it is not enough for you. We start to drift apart. You start going out more, staying out all night traversing the stars, while I turn to the drink. We argue constantly, and I cannot stand to hear you calling me an ‘ugly fucking lizard bitch’ in your head—you tend to forget I can read your mind. We eventually get divorced. You return to Earth with the kids, and wind up working as a cashier at Kmart. The two of us never communicate again except via passive-aggressive text messages.”
“Wow,” I whispered, unable to wrap my head around such devastating information. My whole world was collapsing around me. “I work at Kmart? Really?”
Tom nodded sadly. “If we continue to see each other, we are both doomed to this tragic fate. The only way to save ourselves is to part now.” My heart was breaking, but I knew he was right.
“I understand,” I sighed. “But do you have to go so soon? Isn’t there anything else we can do?”
Tom looked at me, a twinkle in an enormous black eye. “Well, there is one thing we can do before I leave,” he said. “Can I harvest a bit of your brain matter?”
I grinned at him. “Of course! I’m not really using most of it anyway.” So Tom and I spent what was surely the best night of my life together, although I cannot say for certain because the brain cells that Tom scraped erased my memory of the rest of the evening. Yet no matter how many brain cells I lose, I will never forget Tom. Every once in a while I’ll see a lizard or an iguana, and I’ll be reminded of Tom’s beautiful skin and our brief time together; I can’t help but think of him and smile.
— KD ’19