Friday, March 28, 2008

Double Blind

Jason hikes through a shallow gully and up a rise dotted with sagebrush. He walks to the edge of the arroyo. He listens to the wind rustling in the birch trees. He looks out across the plains at the high, billowing clouds piled up over the Deception Mountains. The clouds are white as whipped cream on top, but dark underneath. He thinks he hears the singing then. It is very faint. He looks down and across the arroyo wondering where it is coming from.

Dancer is barking as if by habit, a constant bark, pause, bark, pause, bark, ad infinitum. The family is used to their dog’s ritual mongrel Morris Code, but it still gets on the parent’s nerves. Jason is oblivious to it, as he thumbs his hand-held game console. The father looks up from his book. He looks to his wife. She is sewing some garment he doesn’t recognize. Trying to make minor repairs. She feels his eyes and looks up at him. He wants to take her in his arms just then and tell her everything will be okay. He turns to his son and leans forward.
“Jason. Son? It’s dark out. Better put Dancer on the porch. And make sure he has water.”
“Okay, Dad.”

Jason gets up and moves slowly towards the porch, leaving his console on the floor where he was sitting. The mother starts to say something, but just stares after her son, watching him moving away from her towards the darkness.
She turns to her husband. “I don’t think you can fathom how I feel when you say something like that at the table,” the mother says, staring at her husband with her needle and thread poised above the garment she is mending.
The husband looks up from his paper. “What did I say?”
She drops her hands in her lap and shakes her head. She is trying not to cry.
He gets up and walks to her. Puts his hand on her shoulder and leans over trying to look into her face. She turns her head away. “Don’t.”
“What is it, honey?”
She looks up at him, suddenly angry. “Eat your vegetables so you’ll grow up to be a big, strong boy. He has cancer, for God’s sake!”

Steven Hawking changed his mind about information being lost when black holes expire. Work by several theoretical physicists suggests a strange universe -- a kind of hologram, in which information about what happens inside some volume of space is somehow encoded on the surface of its boundary. Ed and Sarah Hockley’s son Jason is dying. Why should they care?

Double Blind is the story of a family trying to come to grips with a bleak reality only to realize that they no longer know what is real.

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