From Part One:

“Shut up and kiss me,” she mercifully whispered to him. He was smart enough to comply.

“Thomas, I never want this moment to end…I want us to…to -”

Angry bright light exploded all around him. . . .

You can read part 1 here From Part One:

“Shut up and kiss me,” she mercifully whispered to him. He was smart enough to comply.

“Thomas, I never want this moment to end…I want us to…to -”

Angry bright light exploded all around him. . . .

“What the…” he slowly turned away from the monitor.

The blinding light rudely barged into their tender moment and brazenly demanded the attention of all his senses.

“No…” he spoke the word out loud, but the voice he heard wasn’t his own. It sounded like the raspy voice of a very old man.

“Oh, my! Mr. Brown, dear, it’s waaaay past your bedtime. Now I’m gonna be late finishin’ up mah rounds.” The female voice was as sickeningly sweet as southern tea poisoned by heaps of aspartame.

“Get out!” The old man shouted…uh, he shouted.

He looked back at his monitor and read, “Thomas, what’s wrong? Are you still here with me?” the words appeared on his screen. She was typing them on her keyboard some place far away, and yet she was closer to him emotionally than anyone he’d known in decades. He needed to respond, but…

“You, you, get out of my room!” the old man’s voice was louder, agitated and shaky.

“Now, now, dear, you gonna go gettin’ yourself all worked up, and then we’ll just have to give you something to calm you down again.”

The intruder walked towards him, the hideous squeaking of her rubber-soled shoes gripping then releasing the cold linoleum floor. The sound grabbed him by the throat and thrust him back into this place; this awful, ugly, hard, lonely place for old people.

He desperately typed, “I’m here, Darling, it’s just -”

“Mr. Brown, you know right enough that 9 o’clock is lights out. Now, it’s almost ten o’clock. So, my dear, you gonna need to- ”

He cut her off, “I’m not your ‘dear’ and you have no right to come into my room without so much as…as…knocking and…and…I have my rights and you’re taking away the last tiny bit…of my…uh…my dignity…is…” his voice shook weakly, trailed off and then stopped.

“There, there, dear. You makin’ yourself all upset and confused ‘cause you need your sleep. Now, I’m gonna to let you close your little computer game while I go get you somethin’ to help you sleep, but when I get back, it’ll be bedtime sure enough. Or do I have to call Daniel, that big strong orderly? He is a manly man right enough. I might just need to…” her voice and squeaky shoes trailed off mercifully as the room door swung shut.

He knew he was defeated by this reawakened reality. His plea took the form of a whisper now, “please…just leave me…alone…” He felt the tears, crowding into his aged eyes.

His trembling arthritic fingers were barely able to type now, but he tried, “Darliung, Ih so sorrry but I’m goinbg to have to say good night for nowe.”

He was deflated; tired of fighting it. His eyes, watery and plagued with cataracts, fighting against his still keen mind; his aged body warring with his spirit, and the dementia winning the war against his wit and intelligence. He was ready to give up. But – then he found this place. This wonderful place, this virtual world where he could be young again. Where he saw himself as the man he once was, the man he still was…inside. He’d found this pixelated world where he could be free from the prison of old age.

Jayne typed, “Is everything OK, Thomas? I thought we were going dancing after the sunset, are we?”

“I cant toonigh…I’m so soihry,” he slowly typed, barely able to see the words through his tears.

“Darling, what is it? What’s the matter? Was it something I said, I didn’t want to rush you…” the genuine sadness and worry was palpable in her words.

“NO. is noT you,” he tried.

“But I don’t understand, Thomas…”

“I want to explaijn, Jayne, but -”

He heard the door creak open.

He sighed deeply, giving up, he sat back. He stared at the monitor. Trying to lock the blurry screen images and tinny sounds from the speakers away in his mind: the blue-greenish ocean teeming with white horses; the waves lapping against the side of the boat; the sunset…and his virtual-self sitting beside her, his love…his…

“Thomas?” this time her message would go unacknowledged.

The nurse leaned over his wheelchair and flicked off the computer.

He felt the tears run down his face and he wondered if he would ever see her again.