Skip to main content

Remember When

When Jack arrived at the nursing home with his family, the director quickly and quietly took him aside and explained to him today's visit might be "difficult."
Jack, his wife Anne, and their twin daughters now both 10 followed an orderly through a windowless hallway paved with blue carpet that promoted one of the girls to ask if grandma "lives in a hotel?"
Her room was on the far end of the hallway. For Jack, the walk always felt a little bit longer. When they stopped at her door, the growing sense of dread had turned to nausea. Every time he saw her, she seemed further away, and not just mentally. Her thinning hair would be whiter her flesh more shriveled.
Her decaying mind kept her obscured behind a veil of memories. The past was more real to her than the present.
 When the orderly opened the door, Jack saw his mom sitting up in her bed wearing a VR helmet with a rare but pleasant smile on her face.
"I have to warn you she can get pretty mad when we take the helmet," The orderly warned.
Jack nodded.
The young orderly cautiously approached the old woman and gently tapped her on the shoulder.
"Mrs. Chambers,"
Jack watched his mother's wide smile collapse into a grimace.
"What is it?!" she snarled.
"Your son is here to visit your Mrs. Chambers, and he brought your granddaughters."
"What granddaughters? And I told you my name is Brittany!" she answered acidly. "And you can tell them to leave. I'm busy!"
"Maybe just see them for a few minutes?" The orderly suggested sweetly. "They're really excited to see you."
"Fine whatever," Brittany said. "I gotta go for a bit, but I'll hit you guys up later," the old woman said to the digital aberrations only visible to herself.
She took off the VR helmet and set it down on the bed.
"Hi, mom," said Jack.
"Hey, Jack, what's up?"
"I thought you might want to see the girls today. They just had their birth-'
"Is that my phone?" Brittany interrupted.
"No, mom, I didn't hear anything," Jack said in a tone of subdued frustration.
"I think I hear it," Brittany said, reaching for an old smartphone lying on her nightstand.
Her wrinkled fingers trembled as she tapped on the blank screen "Sorry I've been on this Twitter fight all day," she said
"What's Twitter?" asked one of the girls.
"Mom, the girls had their birthday yesterday. They're both ten now!"
Brittany didn't respond to the news. "Ugh, why isn't this thing working?!" Brittany tapped her bony finger against the blank surface.
She picked up the VR helmet and put it back over her head then picked up the dead phone again.
"Now, it's working."  Brittany's liver-spotted hands curled around the broken phone. "This bitch only has 12 followers," she muttered.
Jack signed in resignation.
Without any acknowledgment of her granddaughters, Brittany put back on the VR helmet to retreat back into the simulation. A simulation built from her most precious remaining memories. Memories that had all been thoroughly documented over a lifetime of social media use. All the posts and daily pictures made her timeline a flipbook of decay.
It was an existence where life had remained static and where she could at least believe she was safe from the corrosive effects of time. The machine resurrected the people and places her heart most yearned for from the days of her life she most treasured, and her son and his family were not included.


Popular posts from this blog

Ghosts in the Memories

It was a bright and mild morning. A few billowing white clouds drifted lazily across the ocean blue sky, the gentle sun reflected off the dew coated grass and flowers, giving the world a shimmer. A human stream filled the streets and sidewalks as the city rose to life.
One lonely widower had a different reaction to the beautifully emerging day.
Hibiki closed the shutters on his windows, locked the door, and sat his tired old body into a reclining chair in front of a blaring television. To Hibiki, the day’s crystal sky was a dark omen and a visceral reminder of that horrific moment all those decades ago when a flash of light took away 100,000 people.
Hibiki had been there when it happened. He was a doctor at the time, and while the bomb canceled the workday for most everyone else for people in Hibiki’s line of work, there was an additional layer of hell to endure.
“ my daughter!” Hibiki could hear a woman pleading from the street below. With a trembling hand, he pi…

Marshal Anosognosia

Cannon fire was their rooster's caw that morning. The shells exploded among the camps and left row upon row of burning blood-soaked tents. Hundreds of half-dressed soldiers scurried away from the eviscerating plumes of smoke and steel.
The percussions of the bombardment were subtly felt by the diligent Captain Charles Magnus in another camp.  He confirmed the massacre through the lens of his battlefield glasses and hurried off to inform Marshal Anosognosia.
Charles hadn't had much face to face with contact with the highly revered military hero, and he relished the chance to be the one at his side in so perilous a moment.  There was no better career booster than association with the Anosognosia name.
Charles’s diligence could sometimes devolve into simple impulsivity. He brushed past the security detail and burst into the old man’s tent. “Sir forgive me bu-” The Captain's words lodged in his throat.
The eighty-six-year-old nationally renowned the illustrious Marshal Oscar Adlo…


The fleet of ships that now held what remained of humanity inside their titanium hulls hovered at the edge of space. The mood was somber as everyone waited in a quiet tension pendulating between despair and mind-shattering terror. The powering up of the colossal nuclear engines sent gale force winds ripping across the planet.  This was the beginning of their latest exodus, just another jump on their way to the last.  Human civilization's only hope rested with an asteroid that was hurtling in their direction. The appearance of this interstellar ballistic was heralded as a miracle, and indeed it was their only hope of escaping the world they devoured. When it screamed past the desolated little planet, they would launch themselves at the oncoming cosmic projectile it in a desperate attempt to cling to its jagged surface. It's projected trajectory was set to take it just outside the orbit of a small planet dubbed Toba. An infinitesimal but livable world.  There wasn't enough …