Author: Shannon O’Connor
I’ve worked at the Registry of Space Vehicles, Lunar Division, for almost three years now. I was bothered at first being the only Jupiterite in the office, but I got used to it. Most of my coworkers are disgruntled Earthlings, with a few Martians and Lunarites. Of course, the manager is an Earthling. They usually run everything.
We process registrations for space vehicles. It’s tedious. We sit at booths, and customers take a number. When we press a button, the next number is called. Beings from all over the galaxy come to get their registrations at our place.
I dealt with it all, because I was grateful to have a job. People where I come from don’t have many advantages. I tried to blend in the best I could. It was easier during the dark side of the month, because beings couldn’t see each other as well. During the bright side, everyone knew where I was from.
Jupiterites are bulkier than other citizens of the galaxy. It’s because our planet is so heavy. I’m used to people looking at me strangely; it’s always been this way.
I worked with Marianne the entire time I had been there. We ate lunch together sometimes, and talked about the websites we liked. We laughed at strange customers together.
One day she said to me, “We don’t think of you as different.”
I was shocked. I had never felt different. I felt like everyone else.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, you’re from Jupiter, and most of us are from Earth. We think of you as one of us.”
One of us. How could she say that? I was different. I always had been.
I went home angry that night. I was glad it was during the dark time of the month, and visibility was murky.
I went to work the next day, and Marianne said to me, “Did you hear Lalexa died the other day?”
“No, I didn’t know,” I said flatly. Lalexa was our unfriendly coworker from Earth. She kept to herself.
“It said in her obit that she wrote science fiction novels,” Marianne said.
“Why did she work here?”
“Nobody reads anymore,” she said. “She didn’t make money.”
“So why did she do it?”
“Nobody knows. The obit also said she’d spent time in a psychiatric facility.”
“That’s why she kept to herself,” she said. “She didn’t want anyone to know about her life.”
“How sad,” I said. “She never talked to anyone, but she went back to her pod, and wrote novels, for nothing.”
“It’s difficult to be insane,” Marianne whispered.
“But she didn’t seem that way,” I said. “She was able to work, and write, and she probably was able to pay bills and everything.”
“You never know what someone is going through,” Marianne said. “They could be suffering, and nobody would realize.”
Everyone struggles in their unique way. I felt the pain of being the only Jupiterite at the RSV, and Lalexa had a history. But she wrote as an outlet. I thought I should find something creative to help me get through. I had to discover what that was.
I had always loved music. I would sing quietly, songs of Jupiter, of solitude, that only I could understand.
I sang to myself in my pod, after I got back from the RSV. It comforted me when I was alone. I didn’t want anyone to hear, so I sang softly, just enough so only my walls and plants could experience the sounds of my heartache.
for all the people on this list who appear, think, or feel differently than others: this story is almost reassuring to know that our situation will always be and we can get by