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.

* * *

“David Woodward,” the bald man in the lab jacket read the name off the paperwork, and glanced up at the patient before continuing. “… history of mental illness … no allergies …” he put down the clipboard. “Doctor Frasier thinks that you are a good candidate for an emotional implant. I am to see that you understand the operation.”

David nodded. “Okay.”

“The implant will communicate emotions wirelessly both ways between you and your new ‘psychic parter’. However, it will not transmit conscious thoughts, memories, or sensations.”

The doctor paused to make sure David understood. “We 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.”

“Wouldn’t another sick person just drag me down?”

“Actually, 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.”

* * *

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.

* * *

“Who will be my … psychic partner?”

“I’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.”


“You’ll be experiencing everything this person feels. The privacy issues are enormous.”

David mulled this over. “It has to be secret, even after the person dies?”

The doctor had returned to his files. He spoke while scribbling notes. “Yes. You’ll have to talk to your congress-critter if you want that changed.” The doctor paused a moment, looked at David. “Your partner will not be from your area. The chances that you will ever meet your partner in person are almost zero.”

* * *

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.

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