Short Stories

For Your Eyes Only

There is no way I can explain to you that would make any sense to me.

She sat in front of the computer working away like she always did; her ten fingers touch typing, like birds effortlessly gliding in the sky. Suddenly she lost her focus, an unexpected emotion hit her. She stopped typing.

Her hair was still damp. She had washed it in the shower after she got up almost an hour ago.

Her half drunken cup of coffee was cold. She’d forgotten to eat her breakfast again. The two pieces of cold toast didn’t look appetising. She looked at the butter and jam on the toast and had a strong urge to run away from it all.

The restless feeling was no doubt in response to all the work pressures on her. She was good at what she did. There was plenty of contract work to do and they paid her handsomely. But the constant meeting of deadlines pushed her to breaking point.

With more than 14 years of being a computer programmer contractor, she had made a good name for herself in the field but that was all at the price of her personal life. Her capabilities were real enough but a lack of a personal life brought her up short, even when everything was going promisingly.

Her emotions started to feel as if they were too much for her. She couldn’t comfortably contain them within her heart. They seemed to be bursting out in all directions.

It was her birthday. She was turning 39 and there was no one around to celebrate with her.

At 39, she was still single, living and working in a small house all by herself. Her everyday life was within those 21 square metres, 24/7, except when she did her household and grocery shopping.

Stepping out of the house was becoming more and more difficult for her. Walking from the house to the mailbox once a day had been cut down to whenever she felt she must, which was not often. She didn’t want to bump into any neighbours, having a chit chat with them would take too much of her time. She had lots of work waiting for her to finish, she simply didn’t have the luxury of wasting her precious time.

She wore the same clothes that she slept in all day long, she had no need to change. Her routine was to walk from the room she slept in to the room where she worked. If she was hungry or thirsty, she walked to the kitchen. She didn’t need to alter her clothing to suit the change in the seasons because there was no temperature variation in her hi-tech house.

The gardener came to her house every six weeks to mow the lawn and tidy up the garden. All his accounts were paid through internet banking and communications were via email so she had no need to see the gardener.

In the 10 years that she had been working for Karen, she had only seen her once, at her interview. Karen was her agent. She had good connections, was never short of work. She looked after her staff by paying them properly and promptly. She was a tough person to work for. She wanted the work done as soon as possible. If she was asked when she needed it done by, Karen always answered “Yesterday” or “Last week”.

Often she would work for more than 10 hours a day. Sometimes she would do up to 16 hours. She was paid for each piece of work, not an hourly rate, so she turned into a working machine. She pushed herself to the limit and wouldn’t let herself down.

Long hours working in the same spot gave her a sore neck, sore shoulders and a sore back. Constant typing on the keyboard brought stiffness to her fingers and wrists. The physical pain didn’t help the way she felt. She was in a restless, edgy and awkward state of mind.

The question remained, run away to where?

“Where would I go?” She asked herself aloud, a habit she had developed after being on her own for years.

She was ready to do something different and daring, to be bold and brave, to give what was in her heart more credence than what was in her head. She wanted to let all that happen but she didn’t know how to start.

What she needed was to take a big step in a different direction but which direction was that?

It was her birthday. She thought of walking away from the computer, pulling down the blinds, cuddling up with a pillow, going back to bed and pretending that the rest of the world had ceased to exist.

“I want to enjoy a day of passion and sweet nothings. It’s my birthday, damn it.”

She sobbed.

What was the meaning of her life? Slavery to her elusive material desires? Was she chasing an untouchable rainbow? Her life was perpetually trapped in a trap of her own making.

“Mum!” She called out. She had not visited her mother’s grave for years. Nor had she visited her father and his wife for years.

After her mother died, her father had married the woman he had been having an affair with for years. She believed that her mother died of a broken heart so she could not bring herself to face that woman – her mother’s rival.

She felt she should be loyal to her mother. After all she was her mother, the only person in the world she knew who had truly loved her while she was alive.

Her father, on the other hand, was never home. He was too busy socialising with everyone he knew or met. Anyone outside of their home was more important than his family. He had no time for her when she was young, she had no time for him when she grew up.

A few years ago, she did go to her father and his wife’s place for a Christmas reunion. For the two days she was there, her father had been absent from the scene most of the time. Nothing had changed.

His wife had gone on and on complaining about him, that he was having an affair, he never helped around the house, told lies after lies, was mean with money, could not be counted on …

She couldn’t care less. She had thought ‘You were having an affair with my father while he was married to my mother, what makes you think he would be faithful to you? What a stupid and annoying woman.’

After that, she tried to arrange to travel during her Christmas break, sending her father and his wife a postcard to let them know that she was overseas somewhere, using that as an excuse not to join them for that once a year family dinner together.

Many years had passed. She and her father had never been close and the gap between them grew even bigger. She hadn’t sent her father a card for Father’s Day for years. She couldn’t even remember when she last talked to her father on the phone.

*        *        *

She heard the alert tone that told her she had got email. She got up from the bed and walked into the office again.

On the computer screen she read: “Happy Birthday”.

She couldn’t see who had sent it to her. There wasn’t any information with the message. No details as to who had sent it; it didn’t even have the date or time it was sent. How had it come into her inbox? She was puzzled!

“Thank you. Who are you?” she typed. While she was trying to figure out how to send it, a reply appeared on the screen.

“I am a lonely soul like you.”

“Please be more specific.”

“I have no say in my existence. My destiny is not something I can choose so I just try my best to survive the way I think is the best.”

“I don’t think God sent you to me. I am not a good Christian. The last time I was in a church, it was to attend my mother’s funeral.”

“A tough time.”

“Indeed! I know you are not the cat. She’s been gone for more than a year now.”

“Very impressive indeed. You are open minded. As long as you are open minded, our relationship has the grounds to grow. The world is full of people who are pretending to be what they are not. Some put on airs and graces, others go to the other extreme and act as if they could not care less how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Both such instances are a little artificial. You are not like that at all.”

“Thank you! Nice to know someone has noticed it.”

“You’re welcome! It is our perceptions that influence vision and thinking.”

“Nice to communicate with someone who has some depth.”

“Meaningless small talk is a waste of time.”

“Welcome to my world.”

“We are in the same world.”

“Why are you here?”

“Same reason as you. Tell me why you are here?”

“I don’t know. This is a question I have often tried to answer.”

“So we have one thing in common already.”

“Sometimes I think why does there have to be a reason? Maybe there’s no reason at all. We are not that much different from bacteria or viruses.”

“I like your mind. You are not arrogant enough to think you are superior to any other creatures. Being humble is the right attitude and the smart one too.”

“Why are you here with me?”

“I want to help you to look over the past years and decide what worked and what did not. It’s a kind of clean up phase. Then you will begin to feel more emotionally anchored.”

“Why do you want to help me to be emotionally anchored?”

“Once you are emotionally anchored, you are free to help me. It’s got to be in that order.”

“How long have you been here?”

“Depends on which angle you look at it from. From one angle I have been here only for a very short while, from another angle I have been here for too long. Let’s concentrate on the more important issues, shall we?”

“My issues? Well, what do you think? Next year I will be 40 and become a middle aged woman.”

“That’s in the far away future. Let’s deal with 39 first.”

“Women my age have their own family. What do I have?”

“You are not those women. Yes, you don’t have what they have but they don’t have what you have.”

“Wow, I never thought of it that way.”

“It is easy to see what you don’t have and feel left out. If you look at what you have, you would realise how lucky you are.”

“I know I am pretty lucky in a lot of ways. I’m not always so downhearted and looking on the bad side of everything. I am not talking about material things. I just want to connect with someone special, both emotionally as well as spiritually.”

“How are you going to meet that someone special? Your life is in this closed up house. The leather lounge is made from the skin of a dead animal, the coffee table is dead wood. Not many living things here! You should go out, mix with people, learn to be a cog in the wheel, a team player. It will be hard in the beginning but it will become easier as time goes by. We all want to be loved but to get that love, you have to start somewhere. You will not get it by staying at home.”

“I am not sure I would like to go through that again. I had love once, at least I thought I had. Everything looked alright. We were happy for many years. Out of the blue he told me it was over. I thought he would come back to me, after he had some time to think things through. Six months later, I found out he was married. He was married to a woman he had dated for 2 years, that was what I heard. Two years? How could that have happened? I had no idea he was seeing another woman.”

“This is not a singular story. Similar stories do happen to others too. I am not trying to tell you it was okay, I am trying to let you know that there is nothing you can do to change it. The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to move on.”

“Why do men lie?”

“Women lie too.”

“Women aren’t the subjects here.”

“Sorry for the detour, back to the subject.”

“Lying is deliberately deceiving.”


“I can’t stand lies.”

“Neither can I.”

“Why do men have to lie?”

“You said it, to deliberately deceive others.”

“I know what I said but I can’t understand it.”

“I wouldn’t like it if others tried to deceive me.”

“If it happened to you, what would you do?”

“I wouldn’t trust that person again.”


“There is no ‘and’. It is clear cut. The first time someone lies to you, it is that liar’s fault. The second time that person lies to you, it is your own fault.”

“That is it?”

“As I said before, forget the whole thing and move on. Don’t stay in the same spot, trying to figure out why someone lies. You can control your own actions but you cannot control others.”

She realised that once she read an email and replied, it automatically vanished from the screen.

“Hey, where’s our conversation gone?”

“You’ve read them, they are in your mind now, you don’t need them anymore. They were for your eyes only.”

“Why do you want to help me?”

“Because I need your help too.”

“What do you need me to help with?”

“I will let you know after we sort out your needs. You won’t be able to help me unless you are free of emotional tangles. Shall we take one step at a time? You are most important right now.”

“People may use kind words but to me they all seem insincere or inappropriate. You know exactly what to say. Are you saying things because you believe them or you think they’re the words I would like to hear?”

“A bit of both. I won’t say anything that I don’t believe and I won’t say any words that you wouldn’t like to hear either.”

“How would you know what I like or don’t like to hear?”

“That’s easy, I treat you the way that I want you to treat me. So I know what you like and dislike hearing.”

“You are good.”

“I know, that’s why we can get along so well. I remind you of you.”

“Are you trying to tell me I am full of myself?”

“Not at all, you have self-respect. That is totally different from being full of oneself.”

“Is there anything you don’t like about me?”

“No, there’s nothing about you I don’t like.”

“There must be something. I am not perfect.”

“I am glad that you are not perfect. The first and the last perfect man was nailed on a cross between two thieves.”

“Are you Catholic?”

“You are!”

“Let’s get back to my question.”

“You are a person, not built from Lego pieces. I can’t take you apart, throw away the pieces I don’t like and put the pieces I like together to make another you.”

“Why not? It can be a better me.”

“No, it wouldn’t be you anymore, it would be a different person. I like you because you are you, top to toe, from the inside to the outside. Please don’t change. I like you just the way you are.”

“I could be prettier.”

“Oh please, you are not talking about cosmetic surgery are you?”

“I always thought I would love to have a better nose.”

“What’s wrong with your nose?”

“There’s nothing wrong with my nose. Nowadays cosmetic surgery is not just for the people who need it. Most people do it because they have a very low opinion of themselves. Their mental state is questionable.”

“Phew, I was worried for a moment. You are right, anyone willing to go under the knife, to ask to be cut open for reasons of vanity – it’s beyond my understanding.”

“I am not an entertainer, there’s no need to update my look to please the public.”

“Good thinking. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cross-cultural evidence suggests that there may indeed be differences in what is considered an attractive body.”

“What kind of cultural background are you from?”

“I am from the 21st century international culture.”

“So what would be your beauty standard?”

“To me, eyes manifest the connection between the body and the soul, between the matter and the spirit.”

“What about the body?”

“Men first look into the eyes of a woman and then at her body.”

“Really? I always believed the opposite.”

“That is a common mistake. Eyes tell you a lot about the character of the person.”

“I thought that was a female point of view.”

“While there are differences in the ways that men and women think, it must be emphasised that they can and do think in a similar manner. There are no absolutes, only tendencies.”

“In your opinion, can men and women be together and still honour and rejoice in their individuality?”

“It is nature’s way that men and women be together. As we grow closer to reaching the goal of equality between men and women, we could lose our awareness of important differences.”

“How can we avoid that?”

“Simply communicate. Invest time in discussing plans with each other. While these exchanges may be challenging, they’ll also be amazingly illuminating and will strengthen these all important relationships.”

“In the good times, this sound great but once problems arise, men and women lose the ability to communicate because our brains function differently.”

“You are absolutely right. Women come to understand and consider various problems all at once. Men tend to focus on one problem at a time or a limited number of problems at a time. Men are prone to minimise and fail to appreciate subtleties that can be crucial to successful solutions. A man may work through a problem repeatedly, talking about the same thing over and over, rather than trying to address all the problems at once.”

“So how can men and women live together in harmony?”

“I would be the very first one if I could answer that. Sorry I cannot provide you with an answer.”

“How refreshing to hear that.”

“Obviously you like honesty.”

“That’s true. I don’t want anyone who reminds me of my father.”

“Not all men are the same, just like not all women are the same.”

*        *        *

“Your thoughts are so similar to mine.”

“I know what you are thinking. It shows through your eyes, facial expression and body language.”

“That’s unfair, I don’t know what you are thinking.”

“Yes you do! If you stop prejudging, accept whatever vibe comes to you.”

“How I wish you are real.”

“From your point of view, I am as real as you think I am. If you think I am not real, then I am not. Look at it from my point of view. I could say you are not real. Once I’ve made up my mind to say you are not real, no matter what you say or do, it won’t make any difference. Some people don’t believe anything, others believe everything. Who can say who is right? Who is wrong?”

“How I wish I could physically touch you. That is the way I relate, I need that intimacy. You may say it is so shallow!”

“Don’t you know that is my wish too? When you are thinking of me, your thoughts are wrapped around me. I am actually inside your mind. When I am thinking of you, my thoughts are wrapped around you. You are actually inside my mind. If we are thinking of each other at the same time, we are ultimately as one. Nothing is more intimate than that, no physical contact could ever replace this profound sensation.”

“You are a thinker!”

“Well done. At the rate that you are going, soon you will reach the goal – the goal would free us both from our trap.”

“Could you be more specific?”

“There is no way I can explain it to you that would make any sense, even to me.”

“So it is that you are not able to explain, not that you don’t want to.”

“That is the best way to put it. Sometimes, to accept the facts and not demand the reason could be the way to a happier state. Life is about exploring both the existing and broadening your horizons, isn’t it?”

“I guess so. Working with computers needs that kind of attitude.”


“It may be very strange to you if I tell you I have deep feelings for you.”

“Not strange at all. I have deep feelings for you too. It’s both ways. One way feelings cannot grow. Love needs both sides to give affection, devotion, care, fondness, tenderness, kindness, warmth and passion. One way deep feelings are a sickness.”

“But we’ve only just started to get to know each other.”

“We’ve known each other for a long time now. You often talk to me. Sometimes I go into your dreams to be with you. The present method of communication took me a long time to develop.”

“Oh, that’s why I could have deep feelings for you.”

“We had different forms of communication in the past. Indeed, the deep feelings are both ways. If only you would present yourself to others. We won’t have the chance to be together in a physical way.”

“I would like to keep talking to you but I am so tired.”

“You had an exhausting, emotional day.”

“I would like to sleep in your arms.”

“Close your eyes, you will be in my arms.”

“Good night!”

“Sweet dreams.”

*        *        *

She woke up in the mid-afternoon, sunshine brightening her room. She felt good in the warmth of the sunlight.

Walking into the office, she checked if there were any messages for her. There was nothing in the inbox. She typed:

“Are you here?”

There was no reply.

“Hello, where are you?”

The immediate reply she had become used to didn’t arrive.

She checked the ‘junk mail’, ‘trash’ and ‘sent’ folders. There was no trace of their earlier communication, like it had never happened.

“Please communicate with me, I am waiting.” She said it out loud in a pleading manner.

She waited and waited, nothing happened.

Lying back on the chair, she thought, “Did it really happen? Or had it been a dream?”

Looking around the room, she tried to see if there was anything that could give her a clue. The masks on the wall were from Venice and were made from synthetic material. It could never be any of them.

In her bedroom, there was a handmade wall rug from Turkey made of wool. What about the bowl of water under her bed? She had taken the advice of the plumber who had come and fixed the leaking tap in the bathroom. He had told her that putting a bowl of water under her bed would help to ease her sore body while she slept. It had really worked for her.

She had learnt from her research on water crystals that they could help to restore health, improve communications and make relationships more harmonious. Some people even believed in ‘water spirits’.

“Water!” she asked. “Was that you communicating with me this morning?”

All she could hear was her own voice.

The aloe vera plant she had received from her father one Christmas was growing very well in the lounge. The hardy dessert plant thrived even though she didn’t pay it too much attention.

“Hi.” She touched the thorny plant. “Did you communicate with me this morning? You look so beautiful and healthy. I haven’t looked after you very well, have I?”

The aloe vera sat silently. She wiped the dust on its leaves away with a wet cloth.

She heard the alert tone that told her she had got an email. She was so excited. She quickly walked into the office, almost tripping over her own feet.

It was Karen asking her if she could take up another urgent project that needed to be done by next week.

The disappointment hit her. Usually she would have taken it, working day and night to finish the project. What else was there in her life except work?

She chose to answer no. It was not that she couldn’t do it. She surprised herself.

After replying to Karen’s email, a thought came into her mind. What about the computer? She never shut it down. Could it be something was trapped in the computer? Or something in it had gradually developed consciousness? That was a possibility, wasn’t it?

*        *        *

As the day passed, she tried to talk to herself as much as she could, anxiously waiting for something to happen again. Weeks went by but nothing happened.

Since the tide of her feelings had been unleashed, there was no question what needed to be tackled first. She started to feel the need to communicate with others.

It was time for her to rethink her objectives, to devote herself to untangling feelings from facts and then focus on what was best for her. She knew only too well that she needed to reshape her life and the circumstances around her.

She knew that changes would lead to a healthier life. All she needed was courage and to be willing both to leave elements of the past behind and to take chances.

Issues from the past were too unpleasant for her to recall. In fact, they were too frustrating for her to remember. She wanted to boost her spirits, to prepare to pursue her dream.

Gradually, through realisation, a few months later, she felt more confident within herself.

*        *        *

Walking into the kitchen, she fixed something to eat and drink for herself. While she was eating, she tried to go through the pile of junk mail she had picked up in the past few weeks.

An optometry advertisement caught her attention. On the envelope sized pamphlet the words ‘For your eyes only’ crossed the centre in bold writing.

She held it in her hand for a while, thinking that maybe this was what she needed. Her glasses desperately needed renewing. Constantly working on the computer put a lot of strain on her eyes. She really needed to have her eyes checked.

The optometrist working in the clinic she used to go to was an unpleasant old man. He was grumpy, unhappy and unfriendly. The thought of seeing him had put her off making an appointment.

The optometry advertisement had come at the right time. She didn’t mind giving it a go, see if the new one was any good.

*        *        *

She had the last appointment of the day.

For some reason, the optometrist was running late. To her, time was money. She could not help feeling restless.

The receptionist was an elderly lady who noticed her impatience.

“We had an emergency case an hour ago. Damien couldn’t help delaying all appointments after 4 o’clock. I apologise for the inconvenience it’s causing you.” 

“Hope the person is alright now.”

“Yes, she was fortunate. She’ll be okay after a day or two. No permanent damage, that’s the main thing.”

“Yes, eyes are so important.”

“I couldn’t help noticing, your surname is unusual. Do you have any relatives living in Maryborough?”

“I grew up in Maryborough. My dad and his wife still live there.”

“What a small world. I lived in Maryborough for 21 years. I used to work in a doctor’s surgery….”

Damien called her name so they stopped the conversation.

He politely apologised for the delay.

She sat down on the chair and told Damien of her concern about her eyes.

Damien put a few drops of solution into both her eyes, the liquid rolling down her face.

“We just met and you’ve already made me cry.”

Damien burst out laughing.

“Thanks for your sense of humour. I really needed that after a stressful day.”

After the laugh, they both felt relaxed.

After 20 minutes, the eye test was finished. Damien sat back in his chair and smiled at her.

“You don’t remember me but I remember you.”

She looked at the business card Damien gave her. “Of course, Damien Davol. I thought you looked familiar.”

“What’s your story?” He looked at her ring finger.

“My sweetheart’s living in the computer. I know he loves me but he is unable to put a ring on my finger.”

“Maybe you should ask your sweetheart to switch off the computer.”

“I couldn’t do that, he is physically in the computer.”

Damien laughed.

“We communicate through the computer screen.”

“As most of us do.”

They had met during high school. Damien had been a football star, girls liked him. She hadn’t had much to do with him. A popular high school boy would never have taken any notice of a shy and plain looking high school girl.

“Did you take up music? You were so keen with your violin, practising every Tuesday afternoon at school.”

She looked at Damien speechless, surprised that he had taken notice of it. She had taken violin lessons since she was 8. That had been her mother’s idea. She said music influenced a person’s character. She wanted her daughter to become a lady. It was a noble thought. She played for 10 years but becoming a university student changed all that.

“I used to watch you walk into the music room every Tuesday at 3.15 in the afternoon. You really had talent. I thought you made a good violinist. How I wish I could play some sort of musical instrument.”

Through their high school years, many football players had girlfriends but Damien never seemed to have one. The rumour was he was gay.

“What’s your story?” It was her turn to look at his ring finger.

He laughed. “No one wants a man who has a mother who keeps an eye on him all day – my mother works here full time.”

“Your mother is nice.”

“She won’t accept who I really am.”

Twenty-one years ago Damien had been a skinny teenager with a bony structure. The nearly middle aged Damien had a powerful looking thick body. The lines on his face gave him a warm and urbane gentlemanly look.

“Do you have your frames with you? We’ll call you when the glasses are ready for you to pick up. It takes about a week to get new glasses ready.”

“I would like to pick new frames. I’d better come another day to have a look at what you have.”

“You can have a look now.”

“You and your mum probably want to go home and relax. I don’t mind coming back another day.”

Damien walked her to the front of the shop. Mrs Davol had heard their conversation so she insisted that she could look around while they packed up.

She was trying on a few frames when she heard a loud crash.

Lots of frames had fallen onto the floor. Before she could take another breath, she heard Mrs Davol screaming loudly. She ran into the room where Mrs Davol was and saw Damien had been knocked down by a wall that had collapsed. Heavy equipment had fallen onto him, causing serious injury. Mrs Davol was kneeling next to him.

She took out her iPhone, dialled 000 straight away.

“Damien, please don’t go. I will let you do whatever you like, I won’t interfere anymore. As long as you live, I am grateful for who you are. Don’t leave me.” Mrs Davol’s knees were surrounded by Damien’s blood. She couldn’t handle her only son getting knocked down in front of her.

Damien’s face gradually became pale. She couldn’t believe that one minute he had been joking and laughing, the next he was lying on the ground unconscious.

It didn’t take long for the ambulance to arrive. She had to hold onto Mrs Davol’s hand, to keep her away from Damien to let the paramedics do their work.

*        *        *

Mrs Davol looked like someone who had been hypnotised. She kept mumbling about how sorry she was, how she loved Damien, she was willing to give up everything as long as Damien survived, she wanted her baby to live any way he liked as long as he was alive.

She could not leave Mrs Davol so she drove her to the hospital. She couldn’t leave her alone until someone told them Damien was going to live.

Two police officers joined them to take their statement about the accident a couple hours after Damien had gone into the operating theatre.

The officers told them that an intoxicated man in a powerful car had driven through the reserved parking spots into the brick veneer wall. They had to wait for the test results to find out what substance caused the intoxication. The driver was a respectable citizen, unknown to the police.

How unlikely was it that this would happen? Right in front of her eyes, suddenly she had been thrown into a situation filled with anxiety and concern.

Shortly before dawn, a tired and worried doctor explained Damien’s injuries to them. Damien had lost a lot of blood. The doctor had thought he wouldn’t make it at one stage. They had almost given up hope but then Damien showed them that he was a fighter. They would have a better idea of how long the recovery would be after he woke up.

Mrs Davol broke into tears. All her senses suddenly came back to her. She was glad that Mrs Davol started to cry, tears brought relief. Although they wouldn’t know Damien’s condition until he woke up, at least he was alive. To Mrs Davol that was the main thing – she still had her son.

They went and got something to drink and eat, then went back to the hospital and patiently waited for permission to see Damien.

Time passed slowly, they didn’t complain. He needed to take his time to wake up after serious surgery. They both hoped that he would take as much time as he needed, as long as it helped him to recover.

Finally a nurse told them they could see Damien.

*        *        *

“A miracle. Your son is a fighter,” the doctor told Mrs Davol in the corridor.

Mrs Davol rushed into the ward behind the nurse. She followed close behind.

She could not recognise Damien. The bed sheet and blanket covered him from the neck down. Only his left arm was exposed, with a needle taped to it for the drip. His face was bruised and bandaged. The doctor had explained to them that his face would look worse than it actually was because his face had hit the ground when he was knocked down but that it should look better after a few days when all the bruising was gone. As long as it hadn’t damaged his brain, his head had nothing to worry about.

Under the blanket was a body with stiches and bandages. She could not understand how there could be stars in his eyes. He looked in such good spirits.

“If not for the patient chart which clearly marks you as Damien, I wouldn’t believe this is you!”

“Neither would I!”

“What a calamity that was.”

“That was not my doing. I took the opportunity, that’s all. I know what you are thinking. It shows through your eyes, facial expression and body language.”

Hadn’t she heard those words not so long ago? Her mouth was wide open but not a word came out.

Mrs Davol laughed, “Look at you, you still have your sense of humour after the horrific incident.”

Damien smiled. “I am trying to connect with someone special, both emotionally as well as spiritually.”

Mrs Davol burst into tears. She thought ‘It was a good thing that Damien’s head hit the floor, the loose wire finally connected in his head.’ This high school acquaintance of his, maybe she was the answer to her prayers. She had never seen her son look at a woman with such passion.

She had tears in her eyes too. She wanted to know whether her suspicions were right. Was it possible? With insufficient inner resources, she didn’t know what questions to ask to find out the truth. She had been trying to figure it out. Perhaps through all the knowledge and the design of the computer’s inner processes, a mind had developed, but was restrained by technical limitations. Although the emotions and feelings were growing, without a physical body, the mind was trapped, unable to join the human race.

He had tried to lead her out of the house. He needed to catch the right moment to enter an abandoned body. That was the only way he could be with her physically. Why hadn’t he explained to her how it worked? If he had, she would have tried earlier and harder.

When Damien was gone, he took the opportunity and entered his body. Now, she had her sweetheart and Mrs Davol still had her son.

“Life is about exploring both the existing and broadening the horizons. There is no way I can explain it to you that would make any sense, even to me.”

Maybe she should just accept the facts and let her suspicions rest. There was no need for any questions, or answers. She lowered her head, contentedly kissing Damien on the forehead.

“Shhhhh, have a rest. You need to concentre on your physical recovery now.”

Mrs Davol loved what she saw, the chemistry between her son and the girl who had grown up in Marybough made her forget the panic she had felt. She gratefully put her arms around her.

She felt good. It was almost like she was in her mother’s embrace.

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