What if we view the world differently from one another? What if our worlds were different from the start? Whether we see different worlds was already set in stone. Your world was always separate from mine.
I walked out of the patient's rooms and I started to walk down the hall. Some rooms were filled with various machines while others had just an IV drip only. Although there was one particular room that was different. I went through the doors at the end of the hall and found myself in the waiting room.
"Mrs. Meyer?" I called out to the waiting room.
Visiting hours had just begun. It was nine in the morning. I was already two hours into my shift. A woman had been here since I arrived at the hospital. I already assumed she was a relative to one of my patients.
"How's my boy?" The woman asked.
"He's been doing well recently," I lied.
She didn't believe me. I could tell. I've told many lies to family members of patients and could tell whether they could believe me. Even when telling them the truth, I've seen various reactions.
"Can I see him?"
"Of course," I said with a smile.
"Where is he?"
I gestured for the woman to follow me. She got up slowly and carried her small purse. Now I had a good look at her, she had worn out clothes. Did she sleep in here all night?
Mrs. Meyer followed me down the hall. I assumed it was her first time in the ICU. It was a tough floor to work at. Just as it was as tough to look at.
By the time we got to Peter Meyers' room, the woman broke down. Her legs gave up and she was almost on the ground.
Mrs. Meyers got up and walked slowly to the bed. She slouched further the closer she got. Her arms started shaking and tears flowed down her cheeks.
"Why is that thing still on him?" The mother pointed at the machine on her son.
"It was the only way we could calm him down."
It was unusual but not rare. Peter was plugged in a virtual reality machine. Not the cheap ones that you only see, but the ones where you fully plug in your five senses.
"I want it off him," She demanded.
"He'll go on another tantrum."
I've seen this before. A state that goes beyond addiction. It becomes a lifestyle. It wasn't the first. Nor will it be the last.
The mother easily gave up. She should be familiar with Peter's situation.
"If only I was there… If only I was there…"
She repeated herself over six times.
Mrs. Meyers legs were shaking. I brought the chair over to the side of the bed where she was standing. She sat down and continue to weep.
I left Mrs. Meyers by herself to be with her son. As I walked out of the room, Peter's doctor stopped by.
I waved at her.
"Hey, Ms. Vera, hows Peter?" Dr. Philips said while putting away her clipboard.
"He's been calm now. Not like yesterday."
I remembered my shift yesterday when Peter first came in. It was a huge mess.
"Anyways, I need to talk to him."
"You can't," I asserted.
"He's not… stable yet."
"What do you mean?" Philips said as she looked behind me. "Oh."
"He's still like that? I thought he was only going to play?"
I sighed before I continued.
"He's like one of them."
"I see," Philips said while looking at her clipboard.
"Is there a problem?"
"I wanted to try talking to him, but with him at this state… I think we can try something."
"To talk to him?" I guessed.
"We still have an open server here right?"
It's not unusual for patients to use virtual reality during their stay.
"Then let's join him on the server."
"We?" I asked with a surprised face.
Philips laughed. I never used virtual reality before. I was more old-fashioned when it came with technology.
I followed Philips to the break room where there were a few empty chairs and a virtual reality machine.
"Here, put it on."
I admit I was nervous. I grabbed the machine and put it on my head. I wrapped the necklace device from the back of my nape. I know how to put it on but I asked for help. Philips laughed at me while assisting me.
"Okay, press that button and I'll handle the rest."
Everything went dark.
Then a menu appeared. Philips told me what to do. I selected the correct menus and went into the server Peter was in.
Then a bright light shined all over the place. The world began to materialize. Piece by piece a picture was being put together. And once it became clear, a beach appeared in front of me.
"Is that Peter?"
A young child sat on the beach. The waves flowed in then left a dark spot on the sand. The sunrays could be felt on my skin and the wind blowing in from the ocean. Trees swayed smoothly and the sand felt as warm as the sunshine.
"Peter Meyers?" Philips called out.
I was too afraid to take a step. It took a minute for me to follow Dr. Philips down the beach.
The child was unresponsive. He just sat there at the beach. Maybe he was still exhausted.
"What do we do?" I asked. Philips sat down next to Peter. I sat down on the other side.
I just watched the waves pull back and come back crashing on the sand.
"Your mother is waiting for you," I said.
No response. All he did was look up at the sky and then slouched a bit more.
"You shouldn't keep her waiting," Philips added.
He looked at us for the first time. His face was drooping. Like he was tired.
"How long have you been playing last night?" I asked.
"All night," He whispered.
"You haven't played this long haven't you. Since you're under an IV Drip. Feeding you nutrients and all. Last time you did that, you collapsed. Was it worth it?"
Philips was pretty blunt.
"Hey," I tried to interrupt but Peter spoke up.
"It's okay," I tried to reassure him. "Let's go, your mother is waiting for you."
"But she left me."
"Listen. You can visit wonderful places like this beautiful beach. You can play many different games out here in this reality. But there's a world you can never leave behind. A world where someone is waiting for you."
"That was deep, Vera," Philip said with a dumbfounded face.
Peter paused for a moment. He stayed silent for ten minutes. He behaved differently. He sat up straight and appeared to be in deep thought. Peter waved his hands in the air. I could only assume he was navigating through menus right now.
And at that moment, he vanished.
"Looks like our job here is done."
After we got off virtual reality, we walked back to Peter's room. There we saw Peter without his virtual reality helmet and in his mother's arms.
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