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Optical Delusions

"Good afternoon, son," Ira said ritualistically as he walked into Josh's room to check on him. He paused to sip tea from a mug with the Gold Stars logo on it and survey things.

The room was in good order, but Ira had to tweak things anyway, just to make sure he stayed in touch with his son's care, despite the nearly-constant presence of companions. He shut the door behind him and drifted slowly around the room, moving a tissue box here, lifting and dropping the hamper lid there.

"It's getting cold out there," he said, looking out the window. "Thanksgiving's over, and we're coming up on the holidays. Hannukah starts next week. I liked it last year when we said all the blessings and did the lighting in here. Is it all right if we do the menorah in here again?"

"Yes," a hoarse voice said.

Ira dropped the mug. It hit the carpet with a muted splash and crack.

"Son?" he said without turning.

"Yes, Dad," the voice said, less hoarsely this time.

Ira turned slowly and made his way to the bed. He thought about reaching for the tape recorder, but Josh's bright blue eyes were open, and he was watching Ira's approach. At the side of the bed, Ira looked down at him, then reached out and touched his son's slightly stubbly cheek.

"Is it all right if I... my body is hard to use. Can I talk to you with my mind?" Josh's jaw and lips were moving stiffly, making the words slur even though it was clear he was trying to enunciate.

Ira paused, worried about the whole telepathy thing. But then he realized that no one believed him anyway. Hell, he wasn't sure he believed him. "Of course, son," Ira said, sitting down.

Josh sighed just a little and Ira heard, in his mind, This is much easier. Thank you, Dad.

Ira rubbed dust out of his eye and pulled his scattered wits together with a deep breath. "So, how goes the war then?"

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