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Instead, I kissed him full of sadness and hoped, wished, that I had heard wrong. You could say that after his mother died we grew apart even more, but I would have to disagree. We kept in touch in spite of our busy lives. Proof: I was finally added to his small circle of friends and I added him to mine. Our profiles automatically shared updates for the next several years so all I needed to do was to take a peek in his socnet to find out pretty much all there was to know about what was happening in his life. I didn’t miss any of his birthdays. I would see him at least twice a year and chat about stuff, like adult friends do. We became comfortably acquainted with each other for the following decades, celebrating each occasion when we found ourselves in front of each other’s holograms. I sometimes really missed having him close to me, like when he was a little kid, but that was something I usually realized when we were together, not before, and not after. In some occasions when we met, the need to hug him and kiss him made me wish that he was there in the flesh, sharing the same room with me instead of talking to my hologram thousands of kilometers away. I even offered to visit him several times, but he always found a way out of my propositions. I should have pressed the issue, maybe follow my instincts and travelled to his home unannounced, at least once; but there were always other more hedonistic impulses to satisfy, and my son, well, he seemed always to be all right. His hologram always looked happy and healthy. How was I supposed to know that his mother had infected him with what she used to call a “sense of human spirituality”? Of course I call it by its real, archaic, and obscene name: Religion. She went through pains to keep her beliefs a secret from everybody. Even I wasn’t sure about their existence until it started to show on her wrinkles and her ills. “I would be persecuted,” she told me

one of the very few times the subject was brought up and I asked her why all the secrecy. “What persecution?” I asked her. Instead of answering my question, she looked at me in silence; her eyes wide open showed a strange horror that contrasted with the rest of her agape expression. I waited a little longer for her explanation, but none came. She suddenly turned around and left. Having a religion may be frowned upon or even ridiculed, but nobody really persecute you in any way if they know you have these beliefs. They will think you are an ignorant person, maybe demented by choice, but there has always been religious people in the world. Religion is not something that will be eradicated like tetanus or rabies, and there’s surely less and less religious people every time anybody bothers to check, but they are there, they still exist. So I didn’t pay much attention to her beliefs and unfortunately she took advantage of that, secretly filling my son’s head with her crazy ideas of suffering and redemption for all those years while I thought he was happy with his life. How naïve I was! How stupid and irresponsible! Imagine the horror when I received the call from his Socially Appointed Physician! More than fifty years had passed since the last day I saw him in person. Fifty years since he had confessed to me his faith through that whispered blessing. Fifty years of me pretending cluelessness out of cowardice. For five decades his dead mother’s ideas had corroded his brain with impossible promises from an impossible, almighty being, while his life, his real life, was being wasted away. For fifty years I thought that he was leading a happy life! And why wouldn’t

Profile for Conjectural Figments

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

Conjectural Figments Feb 2012  

ConFigs, the first issue. Transhumanism. Interview: Simon Morden. Poetry: Jhon Z. Baker, Dale Herring. Short Fiction: Richard Thomas, Simon...

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