“No, come on, will you please look at this?”
If the term cold shoulder was literal, she would resemble an ice princess. As it stands, she’s wearing a fire red shirt that hugged her upper body as hard as I want to most of the time.
“No, Kevin. We’re not doing this. That machine…what you do…it’s not healthy. When did you even last go outside?”
Trying to not let her notice, I roll down my jacket sleeve and look at my skin. If light hit that, I’d probably blind someone.
“Well…it’s been awhile, I’ll admit. But you know how important this device is to me.”
“Yes. Yes I do.” She keeps her back to me, and lets out a long sigh. “Important is definitely the right word for it. I remember when other things were important to you.”
I step forward and place my hands on her shoulder.
“Look, I know. Soon. Once this is done. I can—oh god, the things I’ll be able to do. It’s showing me things, Karen. Things beyond. Things soon.”
“Yeah, well. Then I suppose you already know why I’m here.”
I try my best to smile. “Because you have needs? And you want your boyfriend?”
She turns and looks at me. And now her shirt metaphorically matches her eyes. “No. That’s not it. Damn it Kevin. You call yourself my boyfriend, and yet you see me even less than the fucking sun. It’s me or that damn machine of yours. Choose now.”
“Oh my God, Kevin. Fine, we’re done.” She walks towards the door, but stops at the edge, and looks at me. “And I’m bringing someone to dismantle this thing. I don’t want this to happen to someone else.”
What! No! I’m at the edge right next to her, holding onto her hand. I may be pale, but working with tools for this long made my grip at least strong.
“You can’t do that. This machine will change the world! Think of how politicians can use it! Doctors! And look at this, just look at this! I printed it out right before you came.”
She struggles under my fingers. Trying to not look at it. But her eyes linger on the gray image. It’s her and me. On the floor, kissing. Making up.
“That’s not going to happen. That’s never going to happen. That machine’s making you sick.”
“No. No. No.”
I shove her back into the room, and she trips, careening backwards. She looks up at me, her eyes wide.
“I’m sorry Karen. But I can’t have you doing anything to stop this machine. Now, please can we make up. Look at this picture. It’s going to happen. We can make out for a little while, and then everything will be fine.”
She swallows over the course of a few seconds, her eyes held on the image. Her voice sounds strained.
“That’s not kissing. Kevin let me leave.”
Huh? I look over the picture, examining our faces. She’s right. The images changed at some point. I’m still laying on her. And her eyes are wide open, and her windpipe’s caved in underneath my palms.
I throw the image to the side.
“Well, I suppose that works too.”
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