The few minutes I had to spend in the Institute’s waiting room were my least favorite part of coming up to visit my mother. It felt more like a dialysis room, the visitors sunk into the overly-soft couches and not speaking, just drinking orange juice and recovering. There were no magazines and no television, just cold air blowing from the vents and generic music flowing with it. I’d finished my juice and was beginning to brood on my dislike for overly air-conditioned buildings when my mother arrived attended by a nurse.
I kissed and hugged her, automatically asking how she was, mouthing the answer she always gave as she gave it again.
“I’m fine, same as always.”
It wasn’t strictly true, but true enough.
~ "Élan Vital" by K. Tempest Bradford
Last week Escape Pod republished K. Tempest Bradford's short story "Élan Vital".
The science part is handwavy, but I don't think that takes away from the story at all. The first time I read it, it was only a few months after my dad had passed away and it really hit home.
What would you be willing to give to keep someone you love alive?
Listen to and read "Élan Vital" at Escape Pod
Read "Élan Vital" by K. Tempest Bradford at Sybil's Garage
Image: "Free Souls Embrace" by D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.