The driverless car drives itself to the hosp—to the Medical Facility. Come on, Max.
“You’ve been reading too much.”
Cathy. Cathy is my wife and I love her.
“Hello in there—Max? You. Reading. Too much. Again.”
I put my book down and I look sideways at her. She’s reclining in the passenger seat next to me. She is my wife and I love her.
“I’m reading about Earth.”
She scoffs. “Max. Come on. It’s not real.”
“What do you mean?”
I slide my hand under her hand on her stomach.
“It’s not real, that.” She gestures. “What’s real is this.” She squeezes. “Here. Now. Us.”
Under my palm I feel the material, the cool synth without texture. What she wants me to feel is the warmth of her skin beneath the lifeless synth and also the life we’ve made together. I think. But what I feel is…well, an entirely a different matter.
“You keep reading about the Earth but this isn’t the Earth. It isn’t real. Not to us.”
She is, of course, pushing my buttons. I know this. It is understandable. My hand is on her stomach. Underneath the layer of synth is the layer of her skin and under this layer there is a turmoil of chemicals and because of this she pushes my buttons. I get it. It makes her feel better. She knows me so well.
“And if it isn’t real—to us, that is—then what’s the point of thinking about it?”
“Yes. That’s it.”
She flashes her winning smile.
“Oh Max. You know me so well.”
So very well. She is my wife. And I love her. It’s true. I do. I really do.
We are on our way to the hosp—damn it—Medical Facility to have a look at the exact nature of the chemical turmoil in her stomach. Nearly there.
Through the treated windows of the driverless car we pass between the machines on the red sand fields and a greenhouse district all aglitter in the sun.
Perhaps I have been reading too much. It is real, though, what I read. But now is not the time. Not here. Later. What I feel can come later.