Better than my life. Chapter 1
Better than my life
Oh, my little sixpence, my pretty little sixpence,
I love sixpence better than my life;
I spent a penny of it, I lent another,
And I took nothing home to my wife.
English Nursery Rhyme
He was there somewhere. I had to find him, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was, I had to find his mind. It was a difficult problem, because there was nobody to ask. I couldn’t ask for directions, like that, ‘Excuse me, sir! How can I get to Bill Shepherd’s mind? What bus do I take? Maybe the underground is better? No, I’m not mad, dear sir. Bill? No, he isn’t crazy either. He’s just lost. That is, his mind is lost in this computer game. Anyway, thank you, sir.’
No, I couldn’t ask anybody. I had to find him myself.
That started with a phone call from his wife. At first I understood nothing. Usually I answer each call, but that time my partner Andrew pressed the reply button. He listened for some time, then put it on the speaker system, so that we both could hear it. The woman was crying. She lost all hope. Her husband started playing a computer game called “Sweet dreams Inc” about a year ago. He bought the most expensive C-suit and started to play. Then he lost something. His wife called it “he lost something” but she could also call it “he went somewhere” or “he found something”. He just changed. He was absolutely normal, and he wasn’t. For example, when she asked something simple like “How are you today?” he had to think before answering. Maybe he wasn’t thinking at all. Maybe he was far away from her, and it took a minute for the sound of her voice to get to him. But he went to work as usual, went out with her as usual. They had no children, and on Saturday they usually visited their friends. He was happy to go to their friends. But he didn’t smile and laugh with them as before. He just wore his smile like a coat or a suit.
It all happened slowly, step by step. It didn’t happen fast, like you get up one morning and see that everything is wrong. No, these wrong things were very small, and they came into their life slowly, one by one. It’s like rain. You’re walking, than you feel a rain drop on your cheek. Then – another one. Then you see dark spots on the road. At first you can count them. Another minute or two, and you can’t count them any longer. The whole road is dark with rain, and it’s time to open your umbrella. The problem was that she didn’t have any umbrella to protect her from that kind of rain. And she lost hope.
We were her last hope. That’s why I had to find him. First, to find himself, second, to find his mind. If I could do that.