A Box For Molly

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         I never knew unconditional love until Molly came into my life. You could say it was a cautious relationship at first but within a few months, the bond between us was certainly unbreakable. I'd never felt anything like it. Much to the dismay of family and friends, everything I did in my life revolved around Molly. Even some of my research colleagues at the university joked that it wasn't right. A roll of their eyes followed any mention of how Molly was the sun at the center of my universe. I sometimes wondered about them. How many of them had experienced true unconditional love?
I had unconditional love and knew I couldn't live without it. I couldn't live without my Molly.
But Molly had a problem, you see. A condition she was born with. Her time on this world was far too short. Medical science hadn't come up with a solution.
I, too, lacked a solution, but I did have a plan.
The idea came to me one evening while discussing Schrödinger's cat paradox with a friend. It was just a thought experiment in quantum mechanics, but it got me thinking about Molly. Suppose the subject wasn't a cat. Suppose you didn't open the box the next day. Suppose you opened it much later. Several years later. No, I'm not talking about keeping the subject in hibernation. That would entail creating some sort of complex life support system. And who knew the effects of long term hibernation?
What I proposed was a box to keep the subject in a superposition state, neither alive nor dead, so that it didn't need any life support system at all. Just the energy required to keep the box running.
And what about myself? Would I be joining Molly in the box? No, I wouldn't. Instead I would be monitoring the box while working on a solution to her condition. I'd have a long time to do it. I suppose until some time around the year 2045. If singularity could prolong my life by that point, maybe it could do the same for Molly. I would take Molly out of the box and treat her to the miracles of future medical science.
And then we would truly love each other forever.
Sounded like a great plan, right? I certainly thought so. I appointed myself as project manager, and went to work.
I asked my research colleagues to help me out. They happily did so. They in turn asked their friends. Soon we had a whole network of researchers in different fields all collaborating to create and build this special box.
It took a few years and most of my inheritance, but we did it. All the while Molly hung in there, unmindful of her condition. Our love for each other never wavered, and our bond only grew stronger.
My colleagues and I tested our creation as best we could. It worked in the short term, but how would it perform for long term superposition states? With Molly's time running out, I didn't have the luxury of waiting to find out. She had to go into the box soon.
Molly being Molly, she didn't complain. I spoke to her calmly to relax her nerves and walked her through the process. She didn't understand all the tech talk, but she knew whatever I was doing to her, it was borne of love. I tried not to show it, but I was scared too. We kissed each other one final time. As the box lid began to close shut, she gave me one last pleading questioning look. I assured her it would be okay.
She smiled back at me.
We sealed the box, and started the machine. That was the year 2013.
The year 2045 came and went, and with it my hopes for a different kind of future. Humankind had not reached singularity. It was still a few years off. At least that's what the scholars of our time told us.
My birthday was coming up. I decided to give myself a special gift. I didn't know how much longer I had to live. Even with a healthy lifestyle, there were certain ailments I couldn't escape at my age. There were cures for some, but at a cost beyond my means. Most of my savings and retirement money had already been spent. You could say the gift to myself was partially borne of selfishness as well as financial necessity. I simply couldn't afford to keep the box going. Whatever time I had left on this planet, I wanted to share it with Molly.
With trepidation and a sense of finality, I turned off the machine. The hydraulic arm controlling the lid started with a jolt. Which final state would my Molly be in: alive or dead? The same fear I felt those 30 years ago returned. I held my breath. A part of me couldn't bear to look inside the box. Whatever was in there, I didn't want it to be my last image of Molly.
I sensed something breathing and stirring. My cochlear implants were not the best but they worked pretty well. I moved in closer for a look.
Her deep-throated bark startled me, and sent me stumbling back into my chair.
Molly popped up with her front paws hanging over the edge. A big toothy smile on her face. She may have not recognized the 80-year old woman sitting before her, but she knew my scent.
An overwhelming feeling of wonder and disbelief left me briefly paralyzed. Molly didn't hold back. She leaped out of the box and into my waiting arms. I held her tight while she licked the tears from my face for what seemed like forever.

About the Author: 
This is the author's first entry into any writing competition. He works as a digital artist based out of Los Angeles.

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