Close Enough

Author: Abigail Hughes

Sure, he’s not exactly the same. There are small differences. Some easy tidbits that I picked up on.
Like, he’s right-handed.
Ian was left.
And this morning he asked if I wanted to take a week off. Save up for a get-away.
The Ian I married would rather plan for the future than blow a grand on a trip.
Dr. West told me, should I notice any serious changes, to alert him immediately.
But it’s nothing drastic. They’re tiny things.
Like, he did the funniest thing last night.
We were sitting in bed, dozing in front of the TV, and he asked me if I still loved him.
Isn’t that silly?
He was serious, too! Completely stone-faced. Eyes fixed on the television.
There was a commercial on for Hair Gel.
Two men were going to town slicking the stuff on their scalps.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Love you!?” I asked, chuckling so hard, so breathlessly, that I began to cry. “Honey, I’m in over my head in debt because I love you so much!”
Could you imagine going through the procedure for someone you didn’t love?
Enduring the stigma?
He made us the best dinner a few days ago. It’s like he’s a gourmet chef now. He never went near the kitchen before, now he practically lives there. Herbed flatfish with chestnuts. It looked delicious, and If he hadn’t mistaken the bleach for olive oil, I would have even tried it!
I’ve been going to a support group in the Heights called People with Reanimated Loved Ones. They have been our backbone through this transition. There’s a mother there, Mary, whose son ended his first life last year. Pneumonia. She told the group that, at first, she thought they did something wrong. That Ben – that was his name – would do nothing but stare at his toys. She would try to get him to eat, to go outside, but all he wanted to do was stare. Like he was trying to form a connection with the objects
She said Ben was empty.
She even used the Z-word.
But after a few weeks, he got the hang of it. He has a favorite food now, too! Pizza!
She was told that these initial episodes are formed from seeing the other side. After being gone, it’s, like, a culture shock to be brought back to life.
It’s all very scientific.
But some people don’t understand that, you know? Like Ian’s father. He called me the just this morning. Told me that he and Marsha saw us grocery shopping and she burst into tears. Said that what I “did to him” was “unnatural”. They’re part of the generation that thinks the end is The End, you know the type.
I asked him to meet us for dinner next week, explaining that having a meal with them would help his son’s healing process.
Do you know what he said?
“That’s not my son.”
And, just like that, he hung up!
I don’t understand how you could say something so cruel. How you could disown your family just because they walk with a limp.
Speak a little slower.
Drool a little more.
Just because they’re a little different!
No, I’m not saying he’s not a carbon-copy of the man I married.
But he’s close enough.

4 Comments

  1. SimonJM

    Just because we can doesn’t mean we should!

  2. Jae

    Ah, the unspoken human death fetish arises once again…

    Good tale. Chillingly real. You just know some people would, if they could.

  3. mina

    I found this very intriguing and it was made even better by the chatty style. It raises lots of questions like – is it real love or the ultimate selfishness?

  4. Hari Navarro

    I liked this a lot and the little dashes of humour you added to what would be a very complicated dilemma. To live and let die.

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