Author: David Henson
“Roger, I know you like vegetable soup, but I can’t stand that slurping,” Rhonda says.
“Aw, let me enjoy my lunch. You do things that bother me, too.”
Rhonda clicks her tongue.
“Things like that. So …” Roger exaggerates a slurp.
“Have it your way.” Rhonda picks up her phone from the table and launches her new sensory modification app. It automatically connects to a chip in her brain. She types: “When Roger slurps his soup, I’ll hear wind chimes.”
Roger shakes his head and puts down his spoon. “I know what you did.” He removes his phone from his shirt pocket and types a command. “Now, my dear, you can click a tongue symphony and it won’t bother me a bit.” He smirks.
Rhonda types: “Blur Roger’s smirk.” When she looks at her husband, a foggy oval replaces his mouth. She throws an eyebrow arch at him, knowing he hates that.
Roger types on his phone and says. “Tit for tat, my dear, tit for tat. In fact …” He tappity tap taps another command then grins and lowers his gaze to Rhonda’s chest.
Rhonda gasps. “Did you just eye-block my breasts? Or are you seeing another woman’s in their place?”
Roger’s face softens. “Sweetie, you know me better than that.” He slides his hand tentatively toward hers.
Not wanting to be tempted to make up yet, Rhonda quickly types: “Roger holding my hand feels like fire.” At the touch of his fingertip, she screams and jerks away.
“OK, I tried,” Roger says.
He and Rhonda proceed to duel sight and sound blocks and modifications until she can’t hear a word he says or a sound he makes. When she looks at him across the table, she sees only a patchwork of blurs, white splotches, and black shapes. She’s certain it’s the same with her for him.
Wanting to calm down and relax, Rhonda decides to do some sightseeing and alters her vision so that when she looks out the dining room window, she sees a panorama of the Great Wall of China.
As she admires the view of the wall dipping and rising from peak to peak, she recalls how she and Roger always dreamed of seeing it in person. They saved and saved, and when they were about to book reservations, they learned she was pregnant with Robbin. The Great Wall became a new nursery in their home. Roger said he’d make it up to her, promised to take her to the moon. Then came Robby. No China. No moon … No regrets.
Roger has a few irksome habits, Rhonda thinks, but he’s been a kind, loyal husband and good father all these years. He’s probably unblocked her with his app already and is pleading for her to do the same with him.
“Roger, Honey, I’m sorry.” She tappity taps her phone, and Roger comes back to normal in her vision and hearing. He’s slumped in the chair with his head back, his snores loud as a chainsaw.
Rhonda sighs and modifies her senses so that she hears his snores as cascading water and sees Niagara Falls out the window.
The sight and sound bring back wonderful memories. Rhonda scoots her chair close to Roger and holds his hand. It feels like holding his hand.
I was worried this was going to go to a dark place, and pleasantly surprised when it didn’t. Just a very real, very human place, warts and all.
Thank you, Ross.
Such a romantic. I’ve been married a long time and it’s all true. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Nice job.
Thanks. I have to admit there’s some autobiography in this piece!
Tasty and gentle. Nicely done.
Thanks, Jae. I appreciate that.
Thank you, Hari.
I’ve been working on something that involves futuristic body mods and love what you have done here, David. Really clever and always with heart. Much enjoyed.