Mikey lay his hand on the kid’s head. ‘What do you want to do next?’ The kid, transfixed by his game, pressed a few buttons and said nothing. Mikey wondered if this was what childhood was really like but had nothing to compare it to and could barely get the thought out the gate. ‘Are you hungry? I can do pancakes.’ A canned scream came from the screen and the kid dropped his controller disgustedly. ‘You made me die,’ he said. Mikey tussled the kid’s hair in a way he thought playful. ‘Living takes more practise than you’d think.’
It’s you I really want and your image that I’ve sought, yet I find myself saying, I love you, to my screens. Classical frescos in digital relief. I thread myself between the pixels I keep of you, looking out as if I’m still living in every moment. I wonder if you do the same, stare at my simulacra and elicit emotion from derivative data. One thousand words per picture, ten megapixels minimum, what I wouldn’t pay to see the flesh again. But I’ll stare, swipe, click, say, I love you on screen, and hope you know what I mean.