Sandy sat in the quiet of her laboratory, sad and confused. The last three years has cost her her family, one month ago she'd lost her last. So while the rest of her coworkers, the company, the country celebrated victory over France, she sat alone in mourning.
When her mother died three years ago, she felt broken. She had holed herself up, rejecting the comfort and consolation offered her. She was 25. 25 year olds weren't supposed to lose parents. She lived for a while in the den, abandoning her husband, not returning her sister's phone calls. When she emerged again, it was a thing of necessity. Her mother had died just 3 months before becoming a grandmother (cancer does not understand timing). Sandy emerged from her isolation 8 months pregnant and in labor.
It had been a daughter, a beautiful girl with whispy blond hair and sky-blue eyes si common in infants in her family. Sandy herself had been born the same, though her eyes dulled to grey by 2 years, and now her hair was grey-flecked brown.
As a new mother she took more time from work and, to her husband's dismay, spoke almost exclusively with her daughter. He watched from the sidelines as his wife nurtured and loved his daughter. He knew his wife was on the edge, her grief just prior to bith put her in a dangerous place. Yet, while it was evident she was not alright, she loved her daughter wholely, and her husband saw she would never think to harm her.
And slowly they drifted apart. In action the split was sudden and complete, he mother's death sparked a great schizm in every part of her life, seperating her from all and all from her. In emotion, however, the decay was slower and heartwrenching. Her husband loved her strong and deeply, but such emotional isolation in combination with such physical proximity was deadly to their relationship. When she began speaking to him again, a year after her mother's death, he was a broken man. He was tired all the time, more often worried than happy. He was less productive at work (local branch of Sensorax) than he had ever been before, though now he spent more time there.
They never divorced. He just didn't come home one evening. She had shunned him for so long he found it easy to shun her. He slept in his lab for a week or two before moving into an apartment a block away from the complex.
Every time she saw him, she felt herself die again. She loved him. It was oainful, it was sharp, but none of it compared to the death she felt last month. Last month she had sent her daughter off to preschool. First day away from Mommy, and May had cried and smiled to see her leave. Little May of sunshine hair and sky-deep eyes. Little May who smiled no more, who cried her last in the hospital bed, still bleeding inside from the crush of the car, the stranger's rush and accident. Little May, too eager to find the other side, too fast across the street.
Sandra sobbed to herself, and breathed a ragger breath. She glared at the hypodermic, she reveled in the pain of the needle as it found a vein. Sandy worked at MiniVibe, specializing in bio-cleanup: little bots to render harmful biological substances harmless and inert. And now a handful of those bots spread themselves through her body at the same rate her blood did, at the same rate her adrenaline rushed through her organs. Each little bot, knowing its duty and its lifespan floated through her, waiting. Sandy stared at her watch, considered the 4 button key to her death.
Suicide by nanotech. The world' first, no doubt. MiniVibe prided itself on its firsts. Sandy laughed through the pain.
Her father had shot himself when she was 11. She had found him when he family returned from a day at the beach. She ran back to the living room to tell him of all the animals she'd seen, and the sailboats that skimmed the surface of a living sea. Sandy would never leave such a mess to be found, such a horror.
But she did not key in her death sequence. Sandy, somehow, seemed to wait.