Still Living

Still LivingGetting older isn’t easy, even in this modern age. It’s not just the aches, phantom and otherwise. You forget things. A summer’s day 40 years ago can seem like yesterday, but you can’t remember what the doctor told you just a few days ago.

Daphne turns off Dr Phil and goes into the kitchen, makes herself a cup of tea. It’s a dark day outside the smudged windows of her apartment, grey clouds over the domed roofs of the city, the zigzagging lights of its elevated transport lines.

She is thinking of the day she got her first synthetic parietal implant. It was cold in the examination room, and she pulled the crisp blanket closer around herself. It was blue, spun of rough wool. She doesn’t get cold anymore. That’s nice.

Daphne goes into the living room and turns Dr Phil on. He’s talking to a mother of three who is struggling with depression.

At four, the doctor comes. She doesn’t remember his name. He calls her by hers, checks her wiring and asks her questions. She can’t answer all of them. It’s not easy being old. You forget things.

“It’s not the aging,” the doctor tells her in a voice just a touch too patient, as if he is growing tired of repeating himself. “It’s because your brain is almost completely synthetic. You’re not able to learn new things anymore.”

After he’s gone, Daphne goes into the living room and turns Dr Phil on. He’s talking to a mother of three who is struggling with depression. The mother says she wants to get off the antidepressants because they dull her senses. She calls it emotional flat-lining.

Daphne goes into the kitchen, makes herself a cup of tea.

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