ben vandgrift · on living the dream

Almost Everything

Ian tapped gently on the door, hesitant. He didn't expect, and maybe didn't want her to be home. But he heard the soft footsteps approach, and the locks release. Then she was standing in the doorway.

She looked tired and disheveled, but was still lovely. Ian hadn't thought she'd have lost sleep over him, and perhaps he was flatterring himself, but he felt a little relieved.

"Did you save the world?" she asked, a sad smile appearing on her face.

"Something like that. But I didn't help much, it turns out."


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Tara looked at Ian again. He had changed quite a bit in the past few days. He didn't move the same way. He wasn't armed. His eyes looked different. He felt different. Hollow. Broken.

She nodded at his left eye. Where there was metal and plastic, now there was flesh. "What happened?" she asked quietly.

"All of my 'ware is gone."

"What about the new stuff?"

"Gone. Everything's gone. There used to be color—vivid, brilliant. I used to see tones and hues, depth, and now there's only shades of gray. I had a gift, and just when I mastered it, it was taken away. I don't really know what to do." His eyes glanced down at nothing. "A few days ago, I was a living thing. Alive, strong. Now there's just this," he turned up his hands slightly. "I've lost everything."

She smiled. "Almost everything," she said, stepping back into the apartment. Ian smiled—a warm, real smile—and stepped inside.

written: Apr 10 2001