FROM: YOUR MEMORIES
by Mary Wright (me)
“Tom, this isn’t the right thing to do!” yelled his sister, Alex.
“It is for me. I loved him, I loved Paul. You wouldn’t understand!”
“I do understand that Paul wouldn’t want this -”
“Oh really? How do you know that?”
“He told me, Tom. He said, ‘ Tell him, when I’m dead, I’m dead, and that’s it. No reanimation. No re-calibration. No reboot. No android.’ It’s what he wanted.” Alex said. Tom looked down at the remote in his palm, the one he had been using to ‘wake’ Paul up with. But it wasn’t Paul, not really, and he knew that. The pain wouldn’t let him stop doing it. “That isn’t him. He’s dead.”
“I’d rather have this than nothing at all,” he whispered, full of nerves and collapsing into sobs. He was Tom’s partner, and boyfriend, and now he wasn’t anymore. His sister wrapped her arm around him.
“You loved him,” she said.
“Put him to sleep, Tom. Once and for all. Heal,” Alex told him. Once she was out of the room, he looked at his Paul. It wasn’t Paul. It was an android with all of Paul’s memories, but with none of his emotions. It was horribly one-sided. This was pathetic.
“I loved you so much, Paul,” Tom said, “And then you got cancer and died, didn’t you. Even though, they said – they, they said – nobody has cancer these days. You had to prove them wrong. The doctors – you! – you almost gave them a heart attack when they found they couldn’t cure it. And now I’m kissing metal. I know it’s not you. But it’s better than nothing, some days.”
“I love you too, Tom.” said Paul the android.
“That’s from your memories,” Tom said, “And you said it a lot. That’s the only reason you’re saying it now. Good night, Paul.”
His hand was shaking, and the remote with it. Alex came back into the room, just to have his index finger turn off the switch. She gently took it from his hands, and wheeled Paul the android out of the room. She came back empty-handed.
“This is best,” Alex said.
“I know,” Tom replied, defeated completely, curling up into a ball, silently mourning, for real this time.