This is awkward, Joy thought to herself. Her and Maia were seated around the coffee table. Maia was casual in leggings and a sweatshirt. How cute. Maia was looking at her intently, and she realized the poor girl had no idea why Joy was there. That's okay- I have no idea either.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
To Love Is Human
I wake up to Maia on top of me. Normally that would be a good thing, but... this time is different. Her eyes are narrowed and her hands are around my throat. I can't breathe and I panic, trying in vain to dislodge her hands. Her cold, metallic hands. Why are they like that? They're like robot hands, gleaming in the nightlight's glow. Stop, I scream inwardly. This is not you. Maia just increases the pressure and her smile is terrifying. What did I do? But I know what I did. Thought I could have the best of both worlds, and not respect her feelings. Feelings? She's not supposed to have feelings! Well, tell that to her I suppose. As everything goes dark I vaguely hear her talking.
"I'm sorry, Greg. Really. Oh, and Joy sends her regards."
I wake up, heart pounding. A quick glance tells me that Maia is next to me, pretending to sleep. Why does she do that? She doesn't need sleep, she's told me, although there is a low power mode she can go into, designed to simulate sleeping, I guess. They think of everything, right? She turns over now and smiles, although things have been tense lately, so it's forced. "Good morning. How did you sleep?" She runs a finger through her hair lazily. She knows I like it when she does that. She knows a lot of things about me, come to think of it.
A DAY EARLIER
"Would you like a drink?"
"I think maybe we both need a drink!"
"I think you may be right." Maia smiled.
So... I wanted to meet you. Just you, not with Greg around." Joy was nervous. "I hope that's okay."
"It is," Maia replied. "Are things... well, with you?"
"Well, I guess," Joy laughed nervously. "I'm just not sure of things. Greg and I, and you..." She trailed off. Maia was getting a couple beers from the fridge.
"What is going on, with you and Greg?" Joy asked. "Do you have... feelings for him?"
Maia sighed and took a drink. "It's complicated, as Greg likes to say." A little smile. "I am designed to be a companion, my documentation and specs (was there a grimace there?) say I am emotionally immature but potentially I can develop emotional responses. No one really knows. Of course, that did not stop them from producing us."
Joy thought about all the news coverage she'd seen, the arguments and demonstrations. Someone knows.
"So... do you develop... emotional responses? I mean, have you?"
"Yes. I think so. I have found myself irritated, angry, sad... happy. Jealous..."
"Jealous." Joy took a breath. Why did I come here?
"I'm sorry, Maia. I came here because... I feel like we're cheating on you when Greg and I are together, and yet you're not supposed to be a person, you know? And yet, clearly you are a person. I've had a thing for Greg for a while, but it doesn't feel right. Not only to you, but what he's doing. I've never known him to be anything but a sweetheart, but I can't have a relationship with him if he's with you at the same time."
"I understand. I feel your predicament. Oh dear... I feel. Interesting choice of words, perhaps." She smiled and took a drink.
"I don't mean to be rude, but do you even... like beer?" Joy smiled. "What is it like? Are you trying to be like us, or do you think more in terms of... like a machine?"
"Well, I don't know how it feels to be you, but I feel... normal, to me? But I really don't know what normal is between us."
Joy took a drink.
"So, I have to ask. Are you guys... doing stuff?"
"I fucked the, how do you say, living shit out of him the other morning," Maia offered.
"He told me you guys haven't done... anything since him and I were together. Clearly that was a lie." She sighed. "And I suppose that was kind of a fuck you from you, huh?"
Maia shrugged. "Perhaps."
"Can you imagine if he found out we were together?"
"I shan't tell."
"Me neither," said Joy. "Although... I have to talk to him. He needs to make a choice."
"Although we could both continue to come on to him."
"I know. I honestly don't know what to do. I was purchased by him to be a companion, I feel like as a machine I am beholden to do so, and I like him. I enjoy fucking him. I want to fuck more people. It doesn't feel like a programming thing. I feel like... there's that word again... I'm learning. To be a person. And it's not just sex. That's like the least of it. I enjoy him, and I'm enjoying... learning what it is to be alive.
"Wow. I'm kinda jealous," said Joy.
"Jealousy seems to be a large component of human relationships. I find myself struggling with it, as well. I think."
"Well, you wouldn't be human if you didn't," Joy replied, clinking her glass with Maia's.