_Nanomedicine: the end of death._
Jessie Canning leaned forward in his office chair, studying the title of his article on his computer screen. When his husband whispered the words as a possible headline three months before, Jessie had just laughed softly. In another twenty years, he could see the robotic version of a white blood cell doing that.
After seeing Senergine’s press conference that morning, Jessie wanted to call Mathew and tell him…
Several things. That he was sorry. That he wasn’t. He wanted to tell Mathew about what happened that morning. He wanted to tell Mathew that he’d missed him.
Jessie frowned. When someone told their spouse they needed time apart, they didn’t say that in the hope that their partner would call him a couple weeks later. Mathew could read the headline along with the rest of the world in the morning. If he recognized the words, fine.
If not, at least Jessie wouldn’t know.
Somewhere behind him, a phone rang.
It wasn’t his phone, was at least four or five desks away, and yet, for a moment, Jessie hoped. What if Mathew called him?
Jessie ran his fingers through his hair, sending several of the auburn strands into his face. Behind him, the phone cried. It might be someone offering someone else a new story; it might be someone’s child asking if they could go to a friend’s house. It wasn’t Mathew. It would never be Mathew.
And someday, Jessie would stop hoping.
He dropped his hands to the armrests and slouched back in his chair. The nannites in the black material shifted, adjusting to his back in ways ergonomic furniture had never been able to do. He and Mathew had gotten married in the brief time it’d been legal in California. It’d been awesome. His cousin Ben had been his best man; Mathew’s college roommate, Gabriel, had been his, and now, nine years later, Jessie had the ironic pleasure of having an estranged husband.
For better or worse, the thought always amused him. He and Mathew had tied the knot before the legal strands had been unwoven. It‘d taken years to become legal again—not until last year, in point of fact—and though there would be people who fought to get the law shot down, that didn’t stop marriages from happening. Rings continued to be exchanged. People continued pledging themselves.
For some of them, they’d be able to pull off living happily ever after. For the rest, all they would have would be mutual friends who’d drift away, a house that often seemed too big, and photos they had to hide away lest the images of other times haunt them.
Presuming the ringing of a phone didn’t do that already.
Jessie glanced at his top right drawer.
The phone rang again.
Jessie inched the drawer open.
He became visible first. Slightly below average height, thin, with a face that was neither handsome nor okay, but somewhere in between. Arresting, Mathew had once said. Jessie had brown eyes, a sharp looking chin and nose, and journalistic pallor, meaning he rarely spent time outside of offices.
Another inch and Mathew began taking shape beside him. A tanned hand that hinted at a man who loved the beach. A black suited arm that was comfortable because its suit was bought, not rented. Short, blond hair, the side of a clean-shaven face, a crooked smile.
The ringing died.
The sudden silence was jarring. The connection had never been made; the caller was moving on.
He should as well.