Alex and Josie’s non-linear, non-Euclidean, nonsensical relationship revolved around one fact: Josie had been hospitalized for their incurable case of the Sillies.

Contrary to the name, the Sillies were not very silly at all. It was a devastating chronic condition, poorly understood and expensive to treat; even worse, the research wasn’t conclusive yet on if it was even contagious or not. The current leading belief was that it couldn’t be spread through typical means, but Josie had grown up in a less understanding environment, and had developed all kinds of neuroses about skin-to-skin contact.

It was for this reason that Josie was practically a Ninth Floor patient at all; the other staff were frequently reluctant to even be in the same room as them, and Josie was certain that even Eighth Floor doctors would sometimes whisper scornful things to each other. Alex wasn’t so sure that was true, but he was sympathetic to their plight nonetheless, and well-equipped to take care of them.

Truth be told, things were rocky for them at first, as Alex actually had a debilitating phobia of the Sillies. If there was anything he hated, it was not having an understanding of the world around him, and the very nature of being Silly was that you did not understand much of anything at all. Serious cases even saw patients succumbing completely to a catatonic dreamworld; it was a small mercy that Josie still had an even tenuous grasp on reality.

Yet, as the years went on, Alex grew careless about the potential risk of contamination. He found himself forgetting to wear gloves – or did he just stop caring? He personally still feared contagion, deep down, and yet he made reckless choices. Did it scare him less, at this point, to imagine the lines blurring, his entire sense of self unraveling?

Maybe he secretly thought it would be nice to unravel, to have the separators between himselves worn thinner. His inhibitions exhibited.

‘I wish I was Silly too,’ Alex thought.