We're In This Together
She wanted to be alert today. She took the minimum amount of morphine needed to get through the hours it took to change her bandages. Dressed, she stood considering herself in the hallway mirror. Her blonde hair was styled, streaked through with blue. She had managed to draw in eyebrows without breaking the skin. She pretended the healing wounds on her face didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were healing, and she was coping. Her ears were filled with piercings, her nose, eyebrow, lips. She had suffered for it, but it was her choice.
She decided to walk to work, hoping the skin on her feet would survive the short distance. Rolling up her sleeve, she scrolled through the menu of the Endostream embedded in her wrist and selected Harvey’s ‘White Chalk’. Three small buttons lay smooth along the skin, glinting like tiny surface piercings. The rest of the Endo was positioned just below, the menu glowing a faint blue.
She had invented the Endostream. As a research fellow she had explored the relationship between the body, technology, and music. She won awards and was granted funding to advance music technology. From both her own experience and her research, she had a wealth of material on the healing properties of music. She transformed this into hard science, plugging it directly into the body, connecting it to the nerves.
When it hit the market, there was an explosion of media interest in her life. Articles, dripping in condescension, focussed on her disability.
She was ‘brave’, ‘courageous’, an ‘inspiration to us all.’
But she was also a freak, the embodiment of illness and broken down boundaries, a walking death.
Every journalist assumed she was single, and baulked when she told them she had a partner. They had been together since their teens, best friends, lovers, colleagues.
He became the poster boy. He was handsome, he had a winning smile. He wasn’t covered in open sores.
They retreated, they continued as before.
They worked together on further music research, able to focus entirely on their work without worrying about money. The rest of her income was put straight into research on genetic skin disorders.
Then her priorities changed. Her whole life changed.
Everything shifted, except time.
Time continued, inexorably linear.
She wondered why the seconds didn’t fold back in on themselves.