He gently pressed his thumb against the home button. The smooth glass was still warm from last time. This was his favorite part. He pushed the button down until he felt that almost imperceptible click. He stopped pushing and let the button rise back up without moving his thumb away. The backlit screen illuminated and, only for a fraction of a second, revealed his bright and friendly lock screen, which was quickly replaced by his carefully organized first page of App icons sliding into their painstakingly determined positions. He smiled. If there was one thing he would never get tired of, that was it. Unlike just about everything else in his life. Lately he was so damned tired of everything, all the time. The smile faded from his face and he pressed the lock button. The iPhone made an echoing click sound and its screen went black as he closed his eyes and laid his head back on the pillow.
It was darker in his room when he woke up. He had been grasping his so phone tightly while he slept that his fingers were stiff and inflexible when he tried to check the time. It was only 3:38, the phone cheerfully reported in its big, happy font. Then why was it so dark? The phone’s backlight was the only real source of light in the room, aside from all the quietly humming and beeping LEDs over his left shoulder. But he didn’t want to think about those. It was just him and his iPhone. The way it should be.
He unlocked it again. Gentle press, slight click, and his icons slid in. He checked the weather. The built-in App showed him that there was a storm on its way. That explained the darkness at least. He got lost staring into the swirling clouds and occasional flashes of light behind the forecast, thinking about the effort that went into building something that always looked so beautiful. He imagined being a designer at Apple, a very familiar dream. He thought about finally putting to use all the black turtlenecks and jeans he had in his closet.
Walking down the clean, bright hallways, passing other turtleneck and jeans devotees, he was at home. Their plain gray New Balance sneakers barely made a sound on the brushed aluminum floors. He noticed a slight increase in the brightness of the light around him, and briskly moved to stand against the glowing white wall, as did all the others. Sir Jony Ive was approaching.
As the beautifully simplistic chariot drew nearer, he could see the true elegance and efficiency that had gone into its design. The Chinese children pulling it forward were completely obscured from view by the flat, yet colorful facade, and the precision engineered air-holes helped carry oxygen into their chamber while also expelling the carbon dioxide safely into the environment.
Sir Ive himself looked disinterested and somewhat concerned in his gray t-shirt. In other words, he looked spectacularly Ive. He lazily gazed to either side of the corridor, but finally came to a rest. Sir Ive was looking directly at him.
The chariot came to a gentle stop and Sir Jony Ive opened his mouth to speak.
The thunder brought him back to reality, ugly and dim. Ive was gone, along with the chariot, Chinese children, other Apple employees, even his turtleneck and jeans.
Press, click, slide. He checked for any new messages.
I stopped by your apartment and found your iPads but I don’t know which one you want me to bring so I just picked one.
Ugh, if she brings the iPad 3 instead of the 4, I will be so embarrassed. His mother had no appreciation for the importance of these things. I’m going to be the laughingstock of this place, and it’ll be all her fault. How could she not tell the difference?
He could barely hold onto his phone anymore.
It was almost as tired as him lately. Its battery couldn’t last a full hour anymore. But it was okay. When he got out of this place, he could bring it to the Apple Store. They would take care of everything he needed.
There were three quick knocks on the door and it slowly opened. The light from the hall outside poured in and blinded him like an iPod at full brightness. A man stood silhouetted against the light.
It’s him. It’s really him.
“No, I can’t, I’m not ready,” he told the man in a voice even he could barely hear.
The light was too bright to make out the man’s features, but he knew who it was. The light swirled around him.
He was saying something, but it was hard to make out.
”–your doctor– that’s okay? We can’t–losing so much blood– anemia– where it’s going– hear me?”
There were noises coming from the ugly machines behind him. I bet they run on Android. Disgusting.
The beeps and noises mixed with the light flowing in from the door. The man rushed closer to him, saying something now indistinguishable.
“I haven’t even seen the new iPad yet,” he tried to groan. The man didn’t seem to notice. He was too intent on the machines. “Let me just add it to my Reminders! Have you seen the new fingerprint reader? It’s so cool!”
Press. But there was no click.
“Wait, of course you have, Steve.”
The lights and colors from the machines and all the people hurrying into the room combined into a wash of white light and noise.
His thumb slipped off the home button, and the phone vibrated slightly and said “try again.”