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Ghost in the Video Machine

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Ghost in the Video Machine
by A. X. Zanier

"I saw what you did last night and I just wanted to say I understand. Yeah, sometimes it takes a while for even a genius to see the obvious. I have to admit, though, that you weren't exactly making it easy for me. You are incredibly complex. Which would explain why Darien..." He paused, one hand coming up to adjust a pair of glasses that weren't actually there. A nervous habit that he suddenly missed dreadfully, as it was another reminder of the situation and why he was sitting here talking to the digital camcorder mounted on the tripod before him.

"Claire kept insisting that I was wrong; that you didn't hate me. But all I could see was the cold shoulder you gave me, the refusal to assist my research - research necessary to resolve the situation - and your seeming inability to be in the same room with me for any length of time." He gave the camera a wan smile and shrug of his shoulders. "How else was I to interpret the data?"

"I guess I assumed that you'd be like Hobbes, who, while sometimes completely at a loss, was still there all the time. Being as much of a friend to me as he is for my brother." He stopped, shaking his head for a moment. "Total opposites and yet, Bobby... he cares about Darien so damn much it amazes me. Guess I should thank the Official for that."

For a moment he was stuck on how to proceed, how to explain to the woman who would be viewing this only after he was gone that he was grateful for everything she had done, for himself and for Darien. She had given him a second chance to say goodbye, to explain why he had done the things he had, time to make amends for the mistakes he had either made or allowed to happen through blind overconfidence. He and Claire had unfinished business of their own that they had studiously avoided due to the complicated situation... until last night.

"I... thank you just doesn't encompass what I want to say, but they're the only words available to me. You didn't despise me, which would have certainly been within your right, you didn't even dislike me, didn't avoid me because I looked like him, but wasn't," he stated, his throat suddenly tight with emotions he didn't often allow to surface, and he took a moment to regain control. "No, you stayed away, left me to handle my end of things because you trusted me. You had total confidence in me, which I'm not entirely sure I deserved even now.

"I know I accused you of not giving me the benefit of the doubt, of jumping to conclusions and passing judgement based on hearsay and second hand information from others... But, in truth, you never did." He looked guilty for a moment, before saying, "I read some of the journals you've written to Darien. I was curious about how you saw... see him. And that's exactly what you do - you see him. No more no less." He felt sheepish for a moment and realized it wasn't something he'd often felt in his lifetime.

"And that's how you saw me. You looked into his eyes, but saw me. I only wish I'd taken the time to do the same for you," he admitted. "Show Darien his tape whenever you think he's ready. Maybe it'll help settle the last of the hurt between us. Maybe he'll understand me a bit better." He chuckled ruefully. "Maybe he'll finally be able to forgive me for not giving him even half the chance he deserved growing up."

There wasn't really anything else to say, but he added, "He loves you very much, I want you to know that, 'cause I'm betting he hasn't screwed up the courage to tell you."

And with that he leaned forward and switched the camera off.