Title: Replaceables: a short story
Genre: Science fiction
The world takes replaceables for granted.
But one person vows to never become part of that world.
How to prove that she’s succeeding?
By saying farewell in a special way.
A science fiction short story about being human.
I knew this would happen. Theoretically, I’ve always known.
Realistically and practically, too, I’ve known, though when we first met and I decided to bring you home, I wasn’t thinking about this moment. I wasn’t even trying not to think about it, I simply didn’t think. The absence of consideration had come naturally to me.
Some would say that I didn’t bother to anticipate the inevitable in the way people don’t think about the time of parting when they purchase a sofa or a bed. Some would even compare you to disposables, such as plastic plates and cups, and tell me, What’s the big deal? That one’s gone, you get a new one.
I wouldn’t know how to respond to such statements of indelicacy. Cruel, indifferent people, such reasoners are. Knowing myself, knowing that I’d break into tears of righteous indignation, I wouldn’t dare argue against them.
I am cowardly like that. Age has made me more so. Nothing’s worse than being called senile when you know you’re right—and on top of that, if you show tears and they interpret that as weakness. So, I would merely secretly think to myself, They don’t know what they’re talking about. They know nothing about us. The only suitable analogy to my obliviousness back then would be the behavior of people in a decent, proper, perfectly valuable relationship of…
A parent and a child—in which case, I wouldn’t know if you are the parent or I am one.
A boss and an employee—in which case, surely you’d be the boss, because every time you tell me to do something for my health, I do it, fearing for my life. But then, legally, I own you; to all outsiders, I am officially the boss.
Perhaps we are friends, then. Yes, friends. That sounds about right. It’s an oddly one-sided friendship, in every aspect. Me giving you shelter, electricity, and a purpose. You keeping me alive so that I can give you those things. But who can say that odd friendships aren’t as valid as what others deem normal?
So, my not considering our eternal parting was like two people shaking hands for the first time and not imagining the other person’s funeral right then and there. All I thought about back then, at that shop full of your counterparts—all smooth, glistening below the strategically-placed, gentle lighting—was:
Must I get an aidbot?