The talk on the sofa
Fogle Towers, Penthouse – Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 3:15 PM
Logan sat on the sofa, waiting for Max to stroll into the apartment. A mug of something steaming stood in front of him on the table. His brows furrowed, deeply thinking through his strategy how to talk with her about it over and over again. Then, finally, he heard the key turn inside the lock. "Max! Glad to see you. Hey, come here..." - he beamed the nicest smile towards her he could produce and reached his left hand out for a hug of hers. Max let quickly slip her backpack down on the floor and was at his side within only a few paces. They huddled and kissed intense but quickly. "Mind if you sit beside me for a moment?" Logan looked up to her, his expression more and more uncertain. Max shot him an intrigued glance and responded: "Sure! Mind if I get me a coffee first?"
A few minutes later she was settled at his right side and looked curiously up at him. His whole body was turned a little to her side so that he could watch her face easier. For what he had to tell her, he desperately needed visual feedback. It would be hard anyway. He gulped, looked gravely at her and began:
"Did you ever wonder, why I didn't use the exo anymore lately?" Maxes astonishment mirrored on her face. "Well, no... I mean, wasn't it broken, as usual? I thought you were running out of spare tiles, something like that. And then, bless god, your work became slightly less dangerous. So, I thought, there was no need. Why?"
Logan choked slightly, "Ouhm, well, ... yes, those are aswell some reasons I didn't use it since long. But...", he let the sentence fade out, turned quickly away, glancing absently on the ground and began again. "There is another reason. Something that bothered me a lot. Something I felt coming already several months ago. Something I had to figure out before I could talk with you about."
Now Max was completely alert. "Logan, what the hell!" Her voice grew louder and one of her hands landed subconsciously on her hip. Logan raised his right hand in a calming gesture. "Max, I am telling you right now, ok? No reason to be upset." She nodded and took a sip of her mug, now all listening.
"I don't know when exactly it began, but someday I felt that my sensation was slipping further away than before, I mean after the gunshot but before the transfusion. Do you follow me?" Max nodded again, her eyes grew even wider.
"Now, then I remarked, that I sometimes had problems with my balance and the nerve impulses on the exo. Even if it moves your legs on its own, you need a working lower back to where it can pick up the nerve impulses to move the legs. No impulse means no movement. As I said, I felt that slowly slipping away somehow."
Max slithered nearly inaudible "And you didn't bother to tell me! As usual!" Logan took her hand in his. "No, I first wanted to figure out what the hell was going on. Therefore I went to Sam Carr." Max nodded a third time with a slightly pissed off expression.
- "He did a lot of tests and all, it took a while. But today, Sam Carr finally told me the results." He slipped his gaze away from her deep dark eyes and focused on a spot at the cupboard on the other side of the room, letting hang down his head a bit. Max tenderly grabbed his chin and turned his head now softly back into her direction. Logan let her. "So - it was not so good news, I guess?" He linked his eyes with hers again and shot her a long sad glance. Then again, his eyes interrupted the linking and his head popped away from her direction, as he began to speak:
"No, not so good. My spine is in train to decrease further. You remember the scandal with the transgenic stemmcells? How they were bad for the ordinary people on long term? And about the possible side effects of the stemmcell-therapy in New Mexico?" - Max nodded another time, her eyes gradually growing bigger and sadder. - "Well, something like that happens to me now. Even if at that time it was good that I received the three blood donations from Joshua and you, now it pays back, I guess." He snorted.
"Anyway, what Sam told me is, that they don't have that much of experience with it yet. But he could tell some things for sure - the spine degradation will continue inside me, at least up until this point." With that, Logan pointed at a spot on his lower breast, about 15 centimeters above his navel. And in worst case, it will go up to here." He now pointed at his lower neck. Max gasped and took his right hand in hers.
"Oh, Logan! And how fast..." - silent tears began to stream down her cheek, and she couldn't finish her question. Logan now turned a bit further to her, but not fully, still leaning at the backside of the couch, she registered subconsciously. Now he took her hand in both of his, looked deeply in her eyes and said with a quite soft voice: "Can't say, no experience so far, but probably 15 years if it doesn't stop before on its own."
Max let out her breath she was apparently holding before. Logan kept on: "Sam explained to me aswell the different states I will be in. First, I will have problems to sit properly. Then, my hands and arms will fade away. And in worst case, I'll need a machine to breathe for me." With that, his calm and steady voice cracked a bit, and he swallowed. Then he restrained himself again. "So, this time I wanted to do it right and tell you straight away, to leave the decision to you. Even if this was really hard to talk about." He gazed with an uncertain expression to Max, who sat there with reddened eyes, tears flowing, staring at him blankly. - "What decision?"
Logan took a deep breath and began: "Last time, you were mad at me, because I didn't let you in about what was going on with my legs. It was all about you wanted to decide by yourself to react about it, remember? Now I think it is only fair, if I leave you the decision right away, if you really want to stick around me, when I become such a burden for you."
Max stirred. She let his hands go, furrowed her eyebrows and spitted angryly out: "You are no burden for me, Logan! You never will be! I love you! Didn't you get it? I don't care about your legs, I told you!"
Logan took a moment to respond, his eyes now fixed on his mug of coffee on the table as he spoke: "Well yeah, I know you don't care about my legs, but having no working arms is quite a different story. When time goes on, I will need you to lift me up and move me around, you'll even have to feed me." He shook his head lightly, then, more softly he added: "And I won't be able to caress you with my hands, ... and in the worst case I won't even be able to kiss you." Now his eyes fixed her. "Think about it, do you really want to live like that?" Maxes expression became softer at his words. She whispered: "I want you, now matter what! Remember?"
Logan sought in her face for a sign of decline, but all he found was determination. Then he took both her hands. "Yeah, no matter what! I love you, Max." With that, he pulled her nearer and leaned down to her at the same time. As their lips met to kiss, he felt that he was tipping over, but he didn't care at that moment. Eventually he sunk further down on Max. After a while, she tried to wind herself a little bit out of his heavy embrace to get a sip of her mug, with the only result that Logan collapsed on the sofa into the space between them. His cheeks reddened and he struggled to get into a decent sitting position again, because the sofa cushions didn't provide a lot of grip for him. When he succeeded after a while, Max shot at him a long thoughtful look, reflecting all she heard.
Max began tentatively: "Logan, do you have already problems to sit on the sofa? I mean, what was this about?" - Logan looked shyly away, now again totally self-conscious. "I told you, the first stage concerns the sitting position." He spoke again in his calm, professional voice, behind which he could hide his feelings. "Now, I am already past the spine damage the gunshot did. When I was shot, my boundary line of sensation was here." He pointed at a spot about 5 centimeters below his navel. - "Now it is here." - He lifted his index finger to a spot just above his navel. "It is already 6 centimeters up. It is a matter of balance. Which means, I sometimes struggle not to topple to one side or tip to the front. Remember last week, when I collapsed on the bed as you gave me the necklace to open for you? Because I lifted both my hands, I couldn't quite steady myself on top of the bed. The matress didn't provide sufficient grip and there was nothing to lean on, so I toppled. This will happen far more often, and one day I will not be able to sit without leaning on something anymore."
He sighed deeply. "But, there are some toys to help with that, thank god. This morning, I already ordered a different wheelchair. One with belts and with a better backrest." Logan decided not to tell her yet, that the chair he ordered also provided the possibility to add a head rest plus fixation and an electronic mouth control feature to move around for later on. Until then would be plenty of time... "Hopefully I won't need it too soon, but..." He let his last words fade out, fully aware of Maxes terrified expression.
Again restraining and with another sigh he added: "And there is one last thing you should know. I will diminish my armrange a lot with the belts that steady my back. I'll eventually not be able to lean over to one side and grab things like I used to anymore. Like from the floor or from a shelf." He swallowed again. „Sorry, to burden all this on you, but you just have to know it..." Now his voice cracked, fading away, and he let his head hang down again, even deeper this time. He could feel the tears shooting in his eyes and then trailing down his face in a stream that seemed to be endless to him. He let them go, he had no force to fight his tears, he already opened up emotionally, so there was no point in holding back anything. He just felt sad, numb and blank inside. That was that, his future was done, and he would be a huge burden to the woman he loved and he then even couldn't have proper sex with anymore.
Max slowly snuggled in at his side, careful not to push him to topple down again and began to caress his right arm slowly, humming a soft melody. This sucked, it really sucked, but they would be together, no matter what.