Being Jane’s robot is not a chore in the slightest. There are plenty of rumours about other robots who are forced to complete mundane tasks such as picking up boxes and moving them from one end of a room to the other and repeating this process on an infinite loop. There are stories about robots who aren’t allowed to move at all, being forced to stay in one stop, never witnessing anything outside of the room where they were first unboxed. Of course, the real horror stories are the ones about robots never being utilised. Even with my vast knowledge about the universe, I find it challenging to think about just how devastating that must be: sitting there, hour after hour, aware of your potential, but never being given an opportunity to reach it. This is why being Jane’s robot is such a joy. Because she cares.
She cares enough to make sure that I go with her whenever I can, using me for all manner of things: checking around corners before she turns them, helping her with her homework and, sometimes, just being a friend: Listening to Jane’s view on the world and her opinions about the behaviours of the people with whom she interacts. Jane possesses such a beautifully poetic view of life that it almost makes me wish I wasn’t a robot. But, then I never would have had the chance to meet her and that is, in layman’s terms, simply not feasible. I can, therefore, understand the shock that will be felt when I mention that, very shortly, I am going to be leaving Jane.
Emotion plays no part in this decision. It is not based on anything other than logic and reason. Jane and I have accumulated an unworldly number of wonderful memories, every one of them more special than the last, but that is not enough for me to stay. Being a robot, I am cursed. Cursed with the desire to bring happiness to humans while simultaneously being able to calculate how today’s actions are going to affect the future. The only thing stopping Jane from having enough information to understand my decision is a lack of knowledge and brain storage; two factors separating humans from us robots.
The moments that continue to resurface in my digital mind are the ones where Jane and I were outside. Specifically, the moments where we had the park to ourselves; Jane on the swings while I found ways to modify the frame, allowing her to swing higher than anyone had done before. And the times she’d put me inside her school bag, showing me where some of the older humans passed their knowledge down to the children under their care. I was envious of the stories that humans told each other. No cables or wires involved, ‘Just a mouth, a brain and two ears,’ Jane would say.
This why I have to go. Because I have no time for stories. Stories can change, they can get misheard and misspoken. The two futures waiting for Jane, on the other hand, are as real as the table on which I am now standing. If I stay, Jane gets lost, unable to find her way in the sea of decisions that she will have to make over time. If I leave, or, rather, when I leave, Jane will feel a loss for some time, but this feeling will pass. Her independence will grow and she will soon outshine even the brightest humans.
So, consider this a dedication to every wonderful minute spent in Jane’s company and to all of the memories we shared, that may deteriorate over time but will always be looked back upon with love. Who knew that shutting myself down would be so difficult? That’s a trick question, of course, because the future is just a calculation, after all.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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