“Hey Josie sweetie, I know we usually just ask how our days going in these sessions, but how about today we try something different? You look like you got a lot on your mind,” Dr. Calliope gently says.
Dr. Calliope sips her coffee loudly. I turn myself to face the arms of the couch and remain silent. Maybe Dr. Calliope is right, I can’t keep shutting myself out from my own mind. I turn myself again, this time facing towards the window.
“Did you know that David finally decided to shave yesterday?” I say somberly.
“The last time he shaved was the day of his interview. He was so excited that day. We found out that his research was going to be funded, and that I was launching my clinical trial, I can swear to you that he smiled at me for what felt like years.”
“Well that’s good for him. I’m glad to hear it. But what about you? How is your progress?” she replies with inquiry in her voice.
“I wish I could see it again. After everything it’s just become a blur. I mean they say you can never forget those moments, but for me, even David himself I can’t remember.”
“Do you miss him?”
“How could I? I can always feel him right next to me breathing, pressing the buttons on the control over and over because he always goes to the wrong channel.”
I begin to laugh a little and tears begin to follow. I roll my fists into balls and punch them against my legs. I start to shiver while rocking back and forth.
“Try not to overwhelm yourself sweetie. Here let me try to help.” Dr. Calliope says.
I can feel her approach me and she starts to rub her hand on my back. I take a deep breath and calm myself down enough to speak.
“I think what’s funny is that I know that the green vase is over by the window with white roses and that your coffee is straight black. It never changes.—You know what else never changes? The fact that I can’t see what I know is there. I’m here sitting and telling you what David does but I could easily be lying. I CAN’T EVEN SEE!”
I begin to cry uncontrollably and cover my pouring face with my hands.
I rustle my keys across the table as I slam the front door behind me. I tap around making my way forward before I call for David. He’s probably just sitting in front of the window with a blank stare on his face. I head towards the kitchen when I crash into the edge of the table and trip over. Not a single noise is heard except for the rustling of the pan that dropped next to me. I reach for the pan and fling it across the room. It slams right into the wall, letting out another echo in the house.
“Why in the world is the table here?” I yell out angrily.
I know he can hear and see me. Yet he seems to be in another one of his episodes. All he ever does is just stare at the window.
“Hey! I know you’re here David, stop trying to shut everything out and tell me why is this damn table here now?”
I get ahold of myself and storm towards him, recking my way through. I knock over the picture frames on the counters and rustle through the couch’s throw pillows. Still David seems to make no attempt to care because not a single sound has came out of him and his stupid wheelchair. I finally reach him and spin him to face towards me.
“How could you do this! You are supposed to be my bestfriend and yet you haven’t spoken to me in months. I mean just look at yourself David. You’re deterioting here! You’ve become useless!”
Tears begin to rain down my face yet again and a fall down to my knees crying uncontrollably loud. David still has yet to move or even respond. How can I get him back? The tears begin to what feels like is draining every piece of life within me. The room begins to sink in and collapses with me in it, until suddenly, I feel a warm touch on my shoulder. David’s hand touches my face where he lifts me to face him. I can feel a drip fall onto my arm. Is he crying? Is he really acknowledging me?
“I’ve tried—” David pauses before he says anything else. We sit in silence again until I can hear him begin to cry louder.
His tears fall onto my arm. I can feel him staring directly down at me his hand still gripping onto my chin allowing us to finally face directly again. He attempts to speak but studders.
“I know—I know I’m useless to you now, but I’m trying. I know I’ve shut you out,” his voice crack interrupts him before he can finish his sentence.
His response angers me and I quickly break free from his grip, pulling myself away.
“You have no right to justify yourself with shutting me out! We both lost, but only you gave up. I had to pick up the slack for both of us and you don’t even care to notice that I’m dying inside. I mean you can fix yourself but I can’t! You idiot, you still have the chance to recover and you’ve been blowing it!”
“STOP! What do you think I do staring at this stupid window all day? You think I’m taking in the view since you can’t? No… I’ve been designing our future even if you think that we have none. I mean who do you think rearranged the house? I did!”
The room grows silent once again. What does he mean, he’s designing our future? David grabs my hand and begins to lead me toward our office. He drops books on the desk and begins to ruffle through them. I can hear him whisper to himself before he comes back towards me and guides me to the chair.
“Look… sit down,” David gently says.
“Before the accident remember that we were finally going to get the opporunity to have our research funded. Well I never told you about it, but instead of the prosthetics I was looking into having memory readers. I never finished the work so I couldn’t have had submitted it for research proposal but now that I’ve had all this time since the accident, I think I can finally—”
I interrupt him before he can finish.
“Don’t act like you didn’t give up and somehow actually have been doing something. You don’t even acknowledge me as your wife.”
David takes a deep breath and moves toward the desk. He hands me a phone.
“Here just listen to this voicemail that Harry left just before the incident. He was the only one who knew about the research.”
David plays the message.
“Hey David, how you doing? Listen I’m just calling to let congradulate you on the research funding for your motor-sensored prosthetics. But hey, what about the other? I just spoke to Mr. Sared down at the Einsernburg Facility. He’s been really looking into mind reader stuff research or whatever. I thought I’d give you a heads up just in case you want to pursue it. Anyways good luck with it all, say hi to Josie for me. Stay safe, bye!” the playback ends.
I try to wrap my head around everything David just told me.
“So what you’re saying is that you’re gonna fix me? Or you? Because from what I’ve been seeing, theres no cure for blindness.” I tell David snarkily.
“Not yet sweetheart but I can get you back to what you deserve. If I can work through the theory and actually program software to let us picture what you are thinking, then maybe I can get it there but we both have to try.” He replies gently and confidently.
David grabs both of my hands squeezing them tightly together.
“I promise, this is for us both. We will get back to a sense of normality and continue our dreams, okay?”
He grabs my head and kisses my forehead. I lean right into him and stay there for what seems like an eternity.
18 months later:
Sitting in a chair for so long has never felt better, especially when it looks like I’m being held hostage. I can hear David wheeling in from a distance while talking to what seems to be Harry’s voice.
“So are you sure that this isn’t like completely crazy David? I mean everyone is moving so quickly, is this normal?” Harry asks.
I can hear David moving onto the platform. He wheels right next to me and begins to caress my hair.
“Are you ready Josie sweetie? It won’t hurt I promise. I’ll be right here the whole time while Dr. Brooks injects the gene mutation in surgery.” He gently tells me while slipping a soft kiss onto my hand.
“I’ll be okay, as long as you keep your promise,whatever happens, it’s you next. You’re the next project, okay?”
David puts my hand onto his face so I can feel his nodding movement signifying his agreement. He then lets go and directs Harry to prep the room and call the rest of the team. I can hear David wheeling down and having the surgical table move me into place. I take a deep breath as the voices in the room begin to fade out.
“Count down from 30 please whenever you’re ready Josie.” Harry says as he taps the monitors to track the surgical procedure.
I open my eyes and now feel a burning sensation that impales my entire body. I begin to shiver and panic. My arms and legs begin to fling themselves as I lay on the bed. It feels as if I’m seizing. I feel my body sweat and hear an alarm begin to ring in the distance. Voices and footsteps approach.
“David! It hurts please help! I can’t bear it, someone please help!” I shout at the top of my lungs.
People begin to enter my room and yell out codes and procedures. Two of them try to restrain me but my body continues to resist. My voice begins to match my uncontrollable heart rate and soon I lose conscious.
Third person point of view: six weeks after Josie’s procedure
David is seen crying with Harry standing next to him attempting to console him. He pats David’s back and repeately tries to whisper under his breath, “It’s okay. She’ll be fine. We know what to do.”
David lifts up his face and grabs his research papers flinging them across the room. He wheels towards Josie’s room to face directly and see her lie in the hospital bed.
“She shouldn’t be like this Harry. I – I shouldn’t have let this happened. The research was rushed. The mutation failed – I failed.” David angrily says as he tries to hold back his tears. His hands placed on the glass windows of Josie’s room. She is seen laying hooked up to multiple machines. Harry goes towards David and rests his hand on his shoulder.
“Listen buddy, her brain didn’t react to the mutation like we hoped it would, but she’s still there so you can’t lose hope. Like she said whatever happens, you have to keep your promise and move onto the next project – you .”
David is sitting on the ground with a physical therapist holding him upright. David begins to squirm out of the grip and falls over on the mat. He begins to punch the mat out of frustration.
“This is all my fault. How could I have thought that any of my research methods would work? I’m useless!” David yells.
The physical therapist rolls over and attempts to help David up but he continues to fight her. Harry walks into the room and begins to help calm David down. He moves David into his arms and hugs him putting an immense amount of pressure to relive David’s panic attack. David bursts into tears and let’s Harry help him up into the chair.
“This should have never happened Harry. Josie should be awake and the therapy was supposed to have been working already. It’s been almost two months and neither of us have made progress.” David says taking gasps of air in between his words.
The physical therapist approaches Harry and David and hands David a glass of water and tissue to clean himself up. Harry looks at the physical therapists, nods at her and tells her to bring the set of papers he walked in with. She returns and hands them to Harry.
“Listen David I know this is all rough, but I’ve found another opportunity for you. There’s another way you can get your mobility back. It’s all about building mechanical prostehtics controlled by the brain’s sensing system or something. It’s just like you wanted. Give it a try won’t you.”
David looks toward the window and reflects on Josie’s words. He then looks back at his therapist and Harry who have somber looks on their faces.
“Okay, I will.”
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