ben vandgrift · on living the dream

Almost Everything

The knock still echoed through her tiny apartment. It was much too late for callers.

Opening the door, Tara looked at Ian—harder this time than last. Something happened in the last week, she could tell. 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 gear is gone."

"All of it?" Disbelieving. Very recently, Ian had been more wire than meat.

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

She smiled. She said something under her breath as she stepped back into the apartment. After a long, uncertain moment she saw him smile—weak, but real. Ian followed her in, closing the door behind him.

written: Mar 22 2004