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Project Touch

by Orit Yeret


“Let’s switch bodies,” Nelson said to Mar­garit as she placed his coffee order.

Photo courtesy the author

“What?!” She looked at him, shocked.

“Think about it—didn’t you ever wonder what it feels like to live in someone else’s skin?” His brown eyes sparkled. He was serious.

“You’re insane,” Margarit declared and moved to another station behind the counter.

In the two years they had known each other, she still could not get used to Nelson’s strange mind. He was a “true scientist”—in his words—determined to research the world and the phenomena around him.

“It is because of our history?” He followed her with his eyes.

“What history?” Margarit asked as the machine started grinding the coffee beans.

There was a kiss on New Year’s Eve; that was the “history” Nelson referred to.

After the incident they agreed to never speak of it again—a kiss between friends—they called it a drunken mis­take, on Nelson’s part, Margarit always bothered to mention.

“You know, New Year…” He was trying to lock eyes with her, but she kept moving.

“That? Don’t be silly.” She meant to laugh but didn’t. I don’t think about it anymore, she wanted to add but bit her tongue at the last min­ute.

“So what’s the problem?” he insisted.

Margarit knew she couldn’t give him a straight answer, so she poured his coffee blend into a paper cup and covered it with a top. “It’s simple,” she said as she handed him the hot cup. “I don’t want you to change anything.”

“What can I change?” he asked, surprised.

“I don’t know. I like things in my body a certain way,” Margarit replied.

“Okay.” Nelson thought for a minute. “And what if I promise not to change anything?”

“I don’t know if I trust you… Three ninety-five please.”

Nelson handed her a crooked five-dollar bill, and she clicked the cash register to give him his change. “Keep it,” he said.

“You need it more than me.” She smiled and handed him the change.

“At least tell me you’ll think about it.” He grabbed her hand as she gave him the receipt.

“I can’t promise anything.” She released her hand from his grip.

“You’ll be sorry to miss it. I’m positive it’s a life-changing expe­rience.” Nelson shoved the change in his pocket and winked at Mar­garit. “Call me when you decide.”

Later that day, while she was cleaning the tables, Margarit found herself thinking about Nelson’s strange idea—switching bod­ies—how did he come up with these things? She was staring at a young couple who sat at a table near the window. She could always guess how long a couple had been together according to the way they touched. Owning a café, so she learned, taught her a lot about love—every couple had a different way of touching, little gestures they used to make each other happy, to make each other smile. This couple was no exception; the girl caressed the boy’s leg, and he reciprocated by patting her knee. Margarit wondered: If I were a man, would I be aroused by that?




Why shouldn’t they agree? Nelson asked himself before going into the board meeting. He was pacing, back and forth, along the corridor leading to the big conference room, where the ten great minds of modern-day physics were considering his future.

The rest of my life is in brackets… He suddenly paused. I need to… No, I must do something extreme, something that no one ever did before, or at least succeeded in doing, so I can be the first to declare a new discovery as my own. The results could potentially be amazing. He smiled to himself. And after all, not long ago the most brilliant scientists believed that the earth was flat! I’ll show them, I will… I can prove that the world isn’t round, that peo­ple are not defined by gender…genes can be manipulated… I can find the formula. I can show the world. I can… I can…

Slowly, the mahogany doors opened and a distant voice said, “Dr. Nelson, the committee is ready for you now.” Nelson was drawn into the room following the voice.




Nelson looked into her eyes and said, “You’ll never find another me out there, and I’ll never find another you.” Margarit was con­fused; the next thing she knew they were kissing. Nelson held her in his arms; she admired his touch. Finally, someone who knows how to hold me, she thought. It was obvious he had been drinking. She saw him dance with other women all night, but when it was time, when it was right, he picked her like a card from a deck. It must have meant something… His hands felt big as they came under her chin, caress­ing her neck on their way down to her shoulders, and that spot in her lower back that always made her shiver. The ball dropped, the New Year entered, it was a wonderful dream, but now they had to wake up. Their eyes opened simultaneously, and they smiled at each other, a bit embarrassed.

“Happy New Year,” Margarit whispered.

“Happy New Year,” Nelson replied.




Margarit approached his table. She put down the coffeepot and looked through the papers he had lying around in disorder. “You’re doing it again,” she said.

“How did you guess?” He winked at her and reached for his ciga­rette box.

“Stop trying to write me, Child. I’m un-writable. There’s no smoking here.” She pointed at the red sign—an image of a cigarette with an X over it.

“How sad.” He placed the pack on the table. “You can’t blame a guy for trying. But you’re wrong—everyone is writable, just like everyone has a price.”

“So now you’re in the business of selling people? I thought you wanted to be a writer.”

“Bite your tongue, madam! Who said I did? Who said I didn’t?” He laughed.

“Always the joker… Tell me, what do you want to do when you grow up?”

“I want to write you.”

“No.” She picked up the coffeepot and stepped away from his table. “I’m surrounded by crazy men, crazy immature men.”

“So you’ll do it then?” Child shouted from his table.

“Shh, people are trying to eat here…” She came to his table again. “Do what?”

“The switch,” he shouted again, even though she was close to him.

“Shh, be quiet. What do you mean?” She stared at him. “You mean…” Child nodded his head in approval. “You know.” She sat down at the table, facing him.

“Who do you think gave him the idea?” His smile was wide.

“I should have figured. Imagination like that belongs in fan­tasy—bad fantasy, you know, the kind you write.” She moved back in her seat, allowing her body to rest for a minute. Child didn’t laugh. He raised his coffee cup, stared into it, sniffed, and said, “Your coffee smells like shit.”

Margarit burst out laughing. “I didn’t have time to clean the machine today.”

“Machines are ruining our lives.” He took a sip from his cup.

“Great line, Shakespeare. Now pay your check and go experi­ence life.” She got up.

“Must you leave me so unsatisfied?”

“Alas…” She bowed in a theatrical manner.

Child grinned. “There’s still some juice in you after all.”

“No, my dear, only coffee—black and thick as the night.” She turned serious. “Stop writing me, I mean it, Child. And don’t play around with Nelson either; he might just take you seriously and…”

“And he’s got more to lose,” Child completed her sentence. “That’s what you were going to say, isn’t it? See, this is perfect, I can read you like an open book!” He grabbed hold of his pen and jotted down some notes on the back of one of his papers.

“Stop that!” She tore the paper as he was writing it. “Ha-ha!” she called.

“Never mind, I have it all up here…” He pointed at his head.

“Ahh! You’re so frustrating…” Margarit turned red with anger.

“Good, what else?”

“So infuriating…”


“Irritating, annoying…”

“Aha, more?”


“That’s a big word.”

“And if you weren’t my brother, I could kill you!”




The bells rang as Burton stepped in the café. He went to Child’s table and sat down.

“What are you doing here?” Child asked.

“You said you wanted to meet for lunch.” Burton looked through the menu.

“I did? Well, not here then.”

“Why? What’s the problem?” Burton closed the menu.

Child whispered, “I’m sleeping with the chef.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate,” Burton looked around, “for him.” He winked at Child.

“Another rat,” Child mumbled.

“Excuse me, sir, is this person bothering you?” Margarit came from behind Burton.

When he saw her he jumped from his seat and they kissed.

“On the mouth? You don’t waste any time,” Child remarked.

“Jealous, loverboy?” Margarit smiled. Burton held her in his embrace for a minute.

“How are you, beautiful girl?”

“I’m fine, beautiful boy. Ready for work?”

“Can’t say that I am, but the show must go on. What is he so cheerful about?” He pointed at Child without looking at him.

“Who knows? The end of the world, his new fiction, annoying me…”

“Child, come now—do I have to separate you two?” He waved his finger like an unapproving nanny. “My God, you are so alike it’s scary.”

“You really think so?” Margarit asked.

“Sure.” He turned to face both of them. “You have the same nose, the same eyes, the same flare for drama…”

Margarit laughed. “I just wish you could knock some sense into him.” She wiped her hands on her apron.

“Say no more. Child, you’re on cleaning duty today,” Burton announced.

“Hey! What did I ever do to you?”

“It’s not fair that your sister and I have to slave away to maintain this business while the three of us are equal partners. Now come on, we all have to work.”

“Well, one of us has to write.” He put on his glasses and buried his nose in his papers.

Burton and Margarit looked at each other. Margarit whispered something in Burton’s ear and went to the counter to get a check for one of the customers.

“We never said you couldn’t write. Maybe there’s a way to do both.” Burton sat down in front of him again. “Who knows, perhaps you’ll come up with new ideas.”

“Oh, yes, because the sun always shines at the bottom of the trash can.”

“That’s the spirit!” Burton winked at him.

“Here is your uniform.” Margarit handed him an apron. “Make me proud.” She came and sat down at the table again, next to Burton. Child got up, put down his glasses, and put on the apron. He tied the back and then posed for Burton and Margarit.

“Sexy!” Burton called. Child danced around in his apron, Bur­ton laughed, and Margarit averted her eyes in embarrassment. Child went over to the mirror, near the counter.

“So what’s new with you?” Burton suddenly asked Margarit. “Have you told him yet?”

“Told who what?” She was confused.

“Told Nelson, of course, that you love him.”

“What? No, are you kidding…absolutely no.”

“That’s her word of the day,” Child said as he returned to the table.

“Are you kidding me? Why the hell not?” Burton focused his eyes on her. “What are you afraid of? You’re gorgeous!”

“I’m a waitress,” Margarit replied.

“Don’t sell yourself short. You own this place—you’re a busi­nesswoman.”

“A lot of good that brought me.” She looked out through the window.

“She is afraid of love,” Child said to Burton.

“Poor dear.” Burton took her hand.

“Don’t be silly, I’m not afraid… It’s just—the touch.” She looked at Burton’s hand.

“She’s delusional.” Child started slapping her cheek gently, to wake her up from the daydream. “Sometimes I forget she’s my baby sister.”

“Stop that!” she called suddenly.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” Burton asked.

“I’m fine.” She wiped her nose. “We should get to work, because the lunch crowd is about to come and…and they’ll want more than my stale coffee and dry muffins.”




I remember the first time we met. It was on an early Monday morning; I had just opened the café and started to restock the tea shelf. It was raining. The bells rang as you came in wet, soaking wet, wiping your feet on the carpet before approaching the counter.

“Can I help you?” I asked. I felt untidy. My hair was pulled up and my shirt was wrinkled.

You held onto the counter for a moment, looking at the menu written in crayon behind me. “I need something to bring me back to life,” you said, serious.

“Okay,” I said, “I’ve got just the thing.” I looked into your eyes without fear. “You might not like it at first, it’s very strong, but you’ll have to trust me. It’s what you need.”

“I’ll take my chance,” you said.

“Please, have a seat.” You sat down on one of the stalls near the counter, looked around, and then rested your head on your arms.

“There you go.” I placed the cup near you; the scent of the blend was intoxicating.

You barely raised your head to sip from the cup. “Oh, wow…” Another sip. “Wow, it’s rejuvenating.” You smiled for the first time. “You were right, exactly what I needed.”

“It’s a gift,” I said.

“Ahh,” you yawned. “I’m sorry, I’ve been in the lab for forty-eight hours straight. I work at the university down the road.”

“I see.” For some reason I leaned on the counter, wanting to hear more. “What are you working on?” I asked without knowing what I was getting myself into.

“Well, I’m attempting to prove that the world is not round.”


“You see, all of our lives scientists have agreed that the Earth is round, ever since Galileo. They also believe that the earth revolves around the sun.”

“And you think it doesn’t?” I was skeptical.

“I think that the laws of physics are interchangeable. At least that’s what I’m trying to prove.” You spoke with passion.

“No offense, but it sounds a little far-fetched.”

You smiled. “I’m used to people thinking I’m mad…” You sipped from your cup again. “This coffee is very good. How much do I owe you?” You searched your pockets.

“Don’t worry, first time is on the house,” I said.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.” I took the cup and stepped away from where you were sitting.

Suddenly you called out, “Hey, what’s your name?”

I turned around. “Margarit, but everyone calls me Maggie.”

“And you let them?” You laughed. “Margarit is a beautiful name. I’m Nelson by the way.” You stretched and we shook hands. I remem­ber your touch.

“Thank you, Nelson. I hope you visit us again.”

“I will. It was nice to meet you. Thanks for the coffee and the conversation.”

“Anytime.” We parted hands. The bells rang as you went out the door.




They keep telling me I’m wrong, that it’s impossible. You would expect someone to have an open mind about these things, really… I have to talk to Margarit; she has to help me, she must! An entire career can end just like that—who do they think they are?

Child believes in me and…and…and Burton too. I have to get her on my side. As soon as she agrees, we’ll come up with the plan. I would never hurt her, I should tell her that…and also that it wouldn’t last long, a few hours, a day, maybe…enough to prove them wrong. What do I feel about her? I know she is the one, even though she isn’t sure yet.

Let’s not think about that right now… And if she says no? Let’s not think about that either, because it might just be the end of the road for me, and I can’t imagine facing that without her. I need to breathe. I need to see her eyes. I’m going in.




Margarit and Burton went into the kitchen while Child walked through the café, picking up the dirty dishes and wiping off the tables. Burton occasionally watched him through the order window. Margarit was arranging the plates in the dishwasher.

“Cheer up, doll face,” Burton said, “it looks like he’s doing fine.”

“I’m not worried about him. He always lands on his feet,” she replied.

“Then what is it? Nelson?”

“Can we just work?” She shut the dishwasher and looked at Bur­ton. “Please?”

Burton looked through the window again. “Oh, I can’t guaran­tee that.” He was pointing at the door with his chef’s knife; Margarit came closer to have a look.

“Shit!” she said as she noticed Nelson entering the café.

Margarit went to the counter. There was a customer waiting in line.

“What would you like to order, ma’am?” she said to the cus­tomer.

Nelson stood behind the woman. It took her several minutes to decide; Nelson began to tap his foot, nervously. As soon as she gave her order, Nelson barged in with his question: “Have you decided yet?”

“Jeez, what’s with you today? No, I haven’t…and I can’t talk about this now.”

A queue was starting to form behind Nelson; the lunch crowd was filling up the place.

Nelson was relentless. “I’m afraid there’s not much time.” He grabbed her hand. “I need an answer.” He looked into her eyes.

Child approached the counter. “What’s going on here?”

Nelson released her hand. “Just talking.”

“I need a minute.” She turned to Child. “Can you…?” Child nodded in approval.

Margarit and Nelson went through the kitchen and into the back room.




When I think about my life, I realize I’m not happy. But it’s no one’s fault, because I don’t know how to be happy… I don’t know what makes me happy. You asked me to think about my life—I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to answer.

I’m not sure how to think about my life, how to think about you in my life, how to think about what I have and what I want to have, how to explain my desires in words.

How can I describe that feeling, that magical touch, that way you swayed me and the world turned dark? I see you in front of me, begging me to understand, and I can’t seem to know how to speak—when I think about my life, I think about you, but it doesn’t make me happy. That’s the truth. I’m afraid of being dependent. I’m afraid of wanting more than you. I’m afraid of the way you see me. I’m afraid of the unknown.

“When you think about your life…” I keep listening. Will this help us rectify our future?




“Fine. I’ll do it. Now please stand up,” Margarit said to Nelson, who was bent down on his knees looking up at her.

“You will?” His face seemed to glow with this new revelation. He stood up fast. “You won’t regret it, I promise… It’s a chance of a lifetime, a scientific breakthrough! Just imagine the possibilities of proving that something like this is…”

“Are you really so sure it’s going to work?” Margarit asked.

“Of course, you have to believe,” Nelson said.

“Belief has nothing to do with this.” She crossed her arms. “This is an experiment; this is science. I was under the impression you are interested in facts.”

“Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean we should rule out faith. After all, something like this, it’s never been done before…and if we succeed…”

“If!” Margarit pointed at him.

“When! I meant when.” Nelson laughed. “You always catch me off guard.”

“Walk me through it.” Margarit sat down on an empty wooden coffee crate.

“I’m still working on the specifics,” he explained as he sat down on another crate, facing her. “What I can tell you now is that it wouldn’t last long, only a few minutes. And once we enter the energy field…”

“Energy field?!”

“Yes, the environment needs to be powerful enough for the mol­ecules to separate.”

“Molecules separating? That doesn’t sound painless and easy.” Margarit stood up.

“I guarantee you won’t feel a thing,” Nelson tried to reassure her.

She paced around the room for a moment, thinking.

“Oh, and another thing,” Nelson broke the silence, “we would have to touch during the experiment. If we separate…” He paused.

Margarit remained standing. “What happens if we separate?”

“Let’s not think about that. We have to touch. It won’t be com­plicated, right? I mean you don’t hate me that much, do you?”

“Please,” Margarit dismissed his question, “we’ve come so far, haven’t we?”

“Margarit, I want you to know…” She turned to look at him. “I want you to know there’s no one else whom I could do this with.”

“So I must be the craziest person you found.”

“On the contrary—you are the only one that makes sense.” He smiled at her.

“If that is so, then I need something from you.” She sat down again.

“Anything.” Nelson leaned over, intrigued.

“Before we do this, before we enter the energy field, before we separate the molecules, before we…touch,” she took a deep breath, “I need you to tell me.”

“Tell you what?” Nelson was confused.

“Tell me what you need to tell me. You know what you need to tell me.”

They looked at each other for a moment, knowing exactly what the other person was thinking but fearful of being the first one to talk.




“Are you really going to let her do it?” Burton asked Child as they were both arranging the chairs up on the tables, preparing to close down the café for the night.

“Last time I checked she was a grown woman,” Child answered.

“Last time I checked you were still her older brother. You can’t put her at such risk.”

“She will do whatever she wants; besides…she would never lis­ten to me.” He sat down for a moment, searching his pockets for the pack of cigarettes.

“Ah, ah, ah…” Burton reminded him. Child sighed and put the pack back in his pocket. Burton flipped a chair and sat down next to him, leaning forward.

“I just fear that she’s not thinking straight,” Burton said.

“What makes you say that? She is the most sensible person I know.”

Burton sighed. “Sometimes people forget how to walk, their feet get flustered, confused. They bump into things…they scratch the sidewalk, almost falling down.”

“And the point is?” Child began to tap his right foot.

“Then they need someone to teach them how to walk again—how to balance themselves without falling. It’s a risk but it’s also a reward.” Burton continued, “Nelson and Maggie, they are like that for each other.”


“Can’t you see? They are only beginning to learn. They need time.”

“Time to learn how to not bump into things?” Child started laughing.

Burton looked at him, seriously. “See what I mean—a risk and a reward.”

“Excuse me, what are you trying to say…that you saved me?” Child was amused.

“I did, baby.” Burton looked into his eyes. “I taught you how to feel again.”

“Oh, you did? It was you? Thank you so much.” He continued laughing.

“Sometimes I don’t know why I bother.” Burton got up, placed his chair up on the table, and walked away toward the kitchen.

Child stopped laughing. He held his head down for a moment, staring at the floor.

“B, wait…” Child called out.

“What now?” Burton said from the kitchen.

“Come out here.”

“I’m cleaning up; come in here.”

Child got up, took off his apron, and placed it on the counter. He entered the kitchen. He watched Burton scraping the stoves. They were both silent for a moment.

“I’m sorry, B…” Burton continued scraping. “I didn’t mean it. You know how I get sometimes…” Burton started wiping off a big pot.

“Sometimes?” Burton stopped. “If it was only sometimes…it’s always, it’s all the time, and frankly, I’m getting tired of it.”

“Come on, B. You can’t do that… You were the one who said this is forever.”

“Well, then…I’m not sure anymore.” He dropped one of the pans by accident, and it made a terrible noise as it hit the floor.

“Let me help.” Child jumped to pick up the pan. Their hands touched.

Child touched Burton’s cheek gently and they kissed.

“Don’t let go,” Child said to Burton as they stood there with their foreheads glued together, tasting each other’s breath.

“I won’t if you won’t,” Burton answered.

“It’s a risk and a reward.” Child smiled.

Burton kissed his forehead. “Exactly, baby…that’s all I’ve been trying to say.”




When we transcended into that alternative universe—you were not you, and I was not me—did you see it? Did you finally see? Because I think my life was ordinary until I met you; I ran a small business, I had good friends and nice customers, but one day every­thing changed. One day you came into my shop, cold, wet, tired, overworked, underpaid, a scientist, a dreamer…and I fell…without a warning, without letting you know, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t…because I never…because I refused to get hurt again. You see, when people leave, a hole opens up in your heart, a hole that can’t be healed—you would probably associate it with the “black hole” theory, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Sometimes it feels like that, like a black hole inside you that sucks everything away…home, love, happiness… When our parents died, there was no one there to pick up the pieces, so Child became sarcastic, while I became numb. We were only kids back then, but I guess our scars caught up with us in time. And then, when we stood facing each other and I couldn’t even utter the words…but maybe you under­stood, could you really feel what I felt? Could you know?




Several weeks later, Nelson called Margarit very early in the morning, saying that everything was ready. She told the news to Bur­ton and Child when she arrived to work, and Burton insisted that they accompany her to witness the event. And so it happened that on Friday “Child’s” closed two hours earlier due to a switching bodies experiment.

Margarit, Child, and Burton met Nelson at the university lab.

Besides Nelson there were two other scientists in the lab; he presented them as Dr. Oliver and Dr. Oak. Their job was to monitor the entire operation, as well as witness the experiment and come up with actual proof for Nelson’s premises.

Nelson explained the stages of the process once more, at Bur­ton’s request.

“First, we attach electrodes so that Oliver and Oak can monitor our vital signs. Then,” he looked at Margarit, “then they will start the turbines,” he pointed at the two large round-looking engines that were positioned in the middle of the room, “and we enter the energy field.” He looked at Child and Burton.

“That sounds dangerous.” Burton was worried.

“Oliver and Oak will keep us safe,” Nelson tried to reassure him.

“We just met them,” Burton said to Margarit as Nelson stepped back to finish the preparations. “I don’t trust them.”

“For the last time, B, I’m doing it and that’s that!” she insisted.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” Burton turned to Child.

Child shrugged his shoulders. “Clearly she has made up her mind.”

Burton and Child stood back and watched Margarit and Nelson. They were situated close to the turbines. Oliver and Oak circled them, attaching electrodes to their heads, arms, and legs. They checked their vital signs and put all the data in the computer.

“Now remember,” Nelson said to Margarit, “once we start the machine, we’ll have to touch, and remain touching, until it stops.”

“I think we can handle that,” she smiled, “but you owe me some­thing, before.”

“I do?” he asked, puzzled.

“Don’t play that trick; you know you do.”

He thought for a minute. “Oh, that…what you asked me to say.” She nodded. “Of course I remember.” He held up her face. “Your eyes are two lights…”

“Three minutes,” Dr. Oliver called out.

“Your lips are rose petals.” Nelson embraced her.

“Starting the process,” Dr. Oak said. The turbines began to move, slowly picking up speed.

Nelson looked around. “Everything is good.”

“Not quite,” she said.

“I love you, Margarit.”

The sound from the machine became louder, and a cool wind began to blow in the lab.

“Take my hand,” Nelson told her. “Don’t let go,” he whispered in her ear. They held on to each other, tightly. The wind was blowing strong. An energy field was beginning to form; it moved around them until they were caught up in it, almost invisible to the others, who kept looking at them, mesmerized.

“Slow and steady,” Oak said to Oliver. “I can’t believe it. I think it worked!”

Burton and Child stood near them, staring at the monitors.




In our little cocoon, we swirled in slow motion. It took time to find words to describe it; after all, we were using each other’s voices. It felt strange to me, but also somewhat familiar… It was like I knew what was going to be said before it was said, what was going to hap­pen before it did, and I felt for her, for me, all at the same time.

In her voice I asked, “Well, what do you think?”

In my voice she answered, “I don’t know…” She laughed. “It’s surreal!”

“I touch you, but I touch me and I’m inside but still outside… It’s…”

“Amazing!” she answered. She stroked her hair that was now on my head.

“This is how it feels,” I said.

“It’s so weird. I feel free.” She looked into her eyes.

“Two lights, I can see your soul in me.”

“You think so?”

“I know so.” I held her close and we kissed. Tears went down my face.

She looked into her eyes again. “You still don’t understand.”




The machine made a sudden noise. The turbines began to speed faster and faster, as Margarit and Nelson became more visible. Oliver and Oak checked the monitors.

“What’s going on?” Oliver asked.

“I’m not sure. It seems like it’s gaining speed again.”

“Is everything okay?” Burton asked them, but they didn’t answer.

Child moved closer to examine the two bodies, the supernatural act that was going on in front of their eyes. He squinted his eyes, try­ing to see the images better. In the mixture of loud sounds and swirl­ing wind, he suddenly heard a voice.

“I’m slipping,” Margarit said in Nelson’s voice.

“Maggie?!” Child said to himself.

“Don’t let go,” Nelson said in Margarit’s voice.

“Nelson?!” Child tried to make sense of the voices.

The machine became louder. The turbines spun faster until there was a noticeable burning scent. “What’s going on?” Burton asked, anxious.

“Maybe if we change the quadrants…” Oak typed something in the computer.

“It’s no use,” Oliver answered. “This thing is out of control.”

“I can’t hold on anymore!” Child noticed that the first voice was crying. He could make out their faces now—Nelson was looking at him.

“Bobby!” Nelson’s voice called out for Child.

“Maggie?” He looked into Nelson’s eyes. They appeared like two lights.

“Bobby!” the voice begged again.

“Maggie, hold on!” Child’s face changed as though he felt her panic. He turned to Burton. “We have to do something!”

Burton and Child ran toward Oliver and Oak. “Do something fast,” they urged them. “Stop this thing!”

Child aggressively moved Oak from his computer and began to press different buttons.

“Hey! This is delicate machinery, watch it!” Oak complained.

“Why isn’t it working? Why doesn’t it stop?” Child was obsessed.

In a desperate move, Burton attempted to shut off the turbines by hand. He called out to Child, “A little help, please!” Child and Burton focused their energy.

Suddenly, one of the voices screamed, “NO!”

There was an alarming “bang” sound as Child and Burton man­aged to shut down the turbines. In a matter of seconds, Margarit and Nelson were separated—each of them thrown to the opposite side of the room, due to the strong energy field that surrounded them. Then there was a blackout.

Oliver and Oak quickly lit the emergency lights. They went over to check on Nelson, as Burton and Child hurried to check on Margarit.

Nelson opened his eyes. Oliver and Oak helped him up, slowly. He saw Burton and Child hovering over Margarit’s body. “Margarit?” He ran across the room. “Margarit?” He bent down and held her head in his arms. “Margarit? Talk to me…baby, talk to me…” Burton was crying on Child’s shoulder.

Child said, with tears in his eyes, “Sometimes the touch isn’t strong enough.”




You felt it, didn’t you? What it’s like to be me… What is it like?

When I was inside you, I felt free, and it was an amazing feeling that I’d never felt before.

I wonder if it meant that with you I feel free, because I still had my own deep thoughts and reflections, but it was like my conscious­ness became unconscious for a brief moment.

But tell me, what did you feel? You didn’t change anything. I hope you didn’t.

You remember your promise—my eyes are two lights, my lips are rose petals, and you love me. You love me… That was all I wanted to know.