Phantasmagoria

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Lost In Reality

After I read my son his story and put him to bed, I eat my dinner and then prepare to go to bed myself. I reach my bedroom and get undressed, changing into my pyjamas. They're these light blue and white pinstriped ones that Hannah got me as an anniversary present. I look like a grandfather in them, but she says I look very hot. What a comedian. I get her lingerie, and she gets me pyjamas. How very romantic.

''Ooh, very nice,'' Hannah says as she enters the bedroom from the bathroom. She had been brushing her beautiful, dark brown, shoulder length hair and had just finished as she came in wearing a silk cream short-sleeved pyjama top and matching shorts. I snort at her attempt to make me laugh.

''Yeah, well, it was your choice,'' I tell her. She comes over to me and hugs me around my waist from behind.

''I have good taste, don't I?'' Hannah muses as I turn around to face her.

''Impeccable taste,'' I say, continuing the joke. We embrace each other for a while, and she plants little kisses on my lips. We look into each other's eyes, lingering in the moment. I look down briefly, and then look at her face. She looks at me, knowing that I have a certain look in my eye. She knows.

''I'm...sorry,'' I tell her.

''No, it's OK. It's just...I'm not sure if I'm ready, Nash,'' she responds. I feel like such an idiot. Of course she would feel unsure. Unsure whether we should have another baby after she suffered a miscarriage. She must think I don't care for her feelings about it, but I do. She knows I want another one badly. We both always dreamed of having two kids, a boy and a girl, so we could have a complete family. You know, the ones you see on those old television ads. When we suffered the loss of our baby girl two years ago, it's like she gave up. We were both very lost. We wanted Jay to have a beautiful little sister to play with. He tells me he wants to be a big brother so that he can protect his sibling. Wants to be as strong as his daddy.

''I'm sorry, maybe...I don't know,'' Hannah says. She doesn't have to be sorry. I'm the one who's rushing her. Guess I just don't want to get too old too quickly.

''I am sorry. We don't need to think about it now, we have plenty of time,'' I reassure her. She gives me an uneasy look.

''Plenty of time? You're the one who's running out of it. Nash, I really do want another one, but I just need a bit more...time, just to sort things out in my mind,'' Hannah says. I know how she feels. I need time to sort out my mind for this game I'm about to play. I don't think I'm going to enjoy it.

''You OK Nash?'' Hannah wakes me up from my thoughts. She notices everything about me.

''Yeah...just thinking about the game,'' I tell her.

''Oh yeah, I almost forgot. When are you due to go in for it again?'' She asks me.

''The 24th,'' I reply.

''Wow, next Wednesday? That soon? I thought they would give you next month or so,'' she reacts slightly surprised. Yeah, I know. They want me in the game so damn quick so that they can get their hands on their prize.

''Yep, so I need to get ready for that. Did all the phase simulation training, now just waiting to go inside,'' I say to her.

''How long is it for?'' she asks.

''I believe it should take a day. The time is different in the game, so if I spend an hour outside, it should be a like day in there,'' I explain to her.

''Oh, that's OK. I thought it would be longer,'' she says.

''Well, if the challenges aren't completed in time or I gain the least points and have to start again it might take longer. But we of course have breaks so that we can have a rest,'' I continue.

''Just as long as you remember what the difference is between reality and the game,'' she says with a smile. Yeah, let's hope I don't lose my marbles. That would be annoying.

''Hey...I'm pretty tired. Can we get into bed now?'' Hannah says, her voice sounding as tired as she looks. I didn't notice the time until I look at my watch.

''Oh wow,'' I say as I see the time read 11:45 on my watch.

''Yep, it's that time. Night, Nash,'' Hannah says as she kisses me.

''Night, Hannah,'' I respond as I kiss her back. We both head into bed and as we turn off the lights, I think about the big adventure I am going to be getting lost in in less than a week's time. I look over to Hannah in the dark and she is already going to sleep. She must be very tired. I look up at the ceiling as I gather the duvet over me.

Will the inside of the game be like this? A dark blanket shrouding my mind? Will it choke my imagination? I look over to Hannah, peacefully sleeping as if she were a baby. I wish I could be like that. Sleeping as soundly as she does. But my mind is too busy with the virtual battlefield I will face, as well as the horrible battlefield I faced in the past.

A reality within an un-reality.

Man, this is going to be tough.


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