Author : Tris Smith

She sat down on the bench, overlooking the local park. She and James used to meet here. It seemed a fitting place to say goodbye. After the operation, she might never come here again. Worse, she might never want to come here again.

At 13, it had been minor. A doctor had suggested she try self harming, and that was it. With modern technology the scars weren?t a problem, and for some people it worked really well.

By 15, she was having weekly online therapy. The AI was great, but somehow it just never worked. CBT just wasn’t her cup of tea. Eventually, they gave her one-to-ones with a specialist. No matter what memories they removed, nothing seemed to help.

The final step had been to test her out in a few different virtual realities, to see if she could be happy. Apparently she couldn’t. After that it had been official. They said she was mentally defective. That no amount of talking or support could help. They suggested drugs or surgery.

She couldn’t stand the drugs. The weight gain, the constant tiredness, the knowledge they were targeting everything in her brain. The systems which worked, and the systems which didn’t. Gradually changing and modifying all of them, building up all kinds of long-term side-effects.

James sat down beside her, taking her hand. “You don’t have to do this” he said.

“I do.”

“Why?” he said.

“I can’t do it. I can’t keep going.”

“I know” he said.

“I might not change that much. Some people don’t.”

“Most do” he said.

“Jenny” he said “Don’t do this. I can’t lose you Jenny. We can find another way.”

“No James, we can’t.”

“It’s nonsense Jenny. Mental deficiency is nonsense. The brain’s still too mysterious for us. Even doctors don’t understand it” he said.

“If I killed myself tomorrow, you’d lose me. This way we have a chance.”

“Goodbye James.”

“Goodbye Jenny” he said, standing to leave. James walked away.

“Goodbye Jenny” she said, smiling slightly.


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