Author : William Tracy
Before I received my emo chip, I guess I thought I would feel my own emotions and those of the other person as distinct and separate. Somehow, it never quite worked that way.
* * *
â€œDavid Woodward,â€ the bald man in the lab jacket read the name off the paperwork, and glanced up at the patient before continuing. â€œ… history of mental illness … no allergies …â€ he put down the clipboard. â€œDoctor Frasier thinks that you are a good candidate for an emotional implant. I am to see that you understand the operation.â€
David nodded. â€œOkay.â€
â€œThe implant will communicate emotions wirelessly both ways between you and your new ‘psychic parter’. However, it will not transmit conscious thoughts, memories, or sensations.â€
The doctor paused to make sure David understood. â€œWe have had a good track record using this technology to treat patients with a variety of psychological conditions. Your psychic partner will be another patient like yourself, experiencing a similar illness.â€
â€œWouldn’t another sick person just drag me down?â€
â€œActually, exactly the opposite happens; the two patients together are able to reverse their conditions. The treatment is completely safe and natural, and involves no drugs.â€
* * *
At first, I felt whatever the person on the other end felt. Strange emotions washed over me, unbidden and unexpected. Then, I gradually was able to adapt, and something beautiful happened. Our feelings played together in harmony, like two instruments in a duet.
Rather than being surrounded by my feelings, I could look at them from the outside. I was able to sample them one by one, as if they were fine foods and wines. I tasted the spicy bite of anger. I brushed the cool moist of sorrow. I wrapped myself in the fuzzy glow of joy.
I became a connoisseur of emotions.
* * *
â€œWho will be my … psychic partner?â€
â€œI’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. Partners are matched by computer based on compatibility; privacy laws keep us from ever divulging partners’ identities.â€
â€œYou’ll be experiencing everything this person feels. The privacy issues are enormous.â€
David mulled this over. â€œIt has to be secret, even after the person dies?â€
The doctor had returned to his files. He spoke while scribbling notes. â€œYes. You’ll have to talk to your congress-critter if you want that changed.â€ The doctor paused a moment, looked at David. â€œYour partner will not be from your area. The chances that you will ever meet your partner in person are almost zero.â€
* * *
Was that really thirty years ago?
I am cured, sane, a productive member of society again. Together, we healed.
I still do not know who my parter is. I do not know where my partner lives. I do not know what my partner’s name is. I do not even know whether my parter is a man or a woman.
After thirty years, though, there is one thing I do know.
I know love.