* * *
by Michele Lee
We should meet.
The message blinked on Ian’s screen, impatiently waiting for an answer. But he had none. Still the words blinked, until at last the automated messaging system clicked on.
Did Alan know that he was sitting here, reading those same words over and over? Did Alan know that they brought the vice grip of fear to Ian’s chest? Meet? In the meat world? Where there were diseases and wild animals, where everything was wild and unpredictable and completely unmanageable?
The words blinked again and more appeared on screen.
Lily’s systems reported her permanently flat-lined today. Then again, Maybe we should meet. At least once.
They talked about it all the time. All the time. From the mundane ideas, simple as sitting on a couch together, where they could reach out and touch each other, to cruder—more delightful—possibilities. But it was easy to talk, when you never really had any intention of following through.
It was hard being in love with a man who lived a continent away. But the world was a dangerous, dangerous place and Ian didn’t know if the risk of what was out there was worth the momentary touch of another person’s flesh…