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Who You Are on the Inside

February 4th, 2012 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Two friends have known each other since childhood.  One has always been a bit weaker and slightly ill with an unknown virus.  The other friend makes the promise to one day find a cure to the other's condition and studies to become a doctor.

Twenty years later, the doctor gets close to understanding the nature of the illness and finding a cure.  Both are excited at the prospect, but as the cure is applied, the friend seems to gradually get weaker.  The doctor scrambles to figure out what went wrong, but each day that passes, the friend seems to slowly lose grasp on the world.  Eventually the friend becomes bedbound and the doctor caring daily for the friend.

Over time, the doctor notices that, although the friend is losing mental capacity, the friend seems physically fine.  In fact, as the friend becomes healthier, the friend becomes less mentally stable, as if gradually fading away.

The doctor finds this strange but isn't able to understand why.  On a few occasions, accidents occur that weaken the friend physically (perhaps starvation, poisoning), letting the virus overwhelm the body again, but it is in these moments that the friend suddenly feels much more alive.  The moments are brief though, as the friend always recovers physically and then becomes mentally unstable again.

As the friend's final days tick by, the doctor becomes desperate.  At times, the doctor ponders purposely sickening the friend, reversing and perhaps even halting the treatment, just to be able to talk to the friend again or relieve the friend's pain, but the hospital setting prevents the doctor from trying anything drastic.

One day, the friend finally loses consciousness completely.  All tests show the virus now gone, completely eradicated from the body.  However, despite being cured of the virus and physically healthy, the friend's mind is completely empty and left in a vegetable state.  As the doctor mourns the loss of the friend, the friend's eyes just blink absently and stare into empty space.  And after a long while, the friend begins to scream out and cry, like a newborn child seeing the world for the first time.
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