The Date – by BIBI HAMBLIN

The  Date

 

I am far too busy to go on dates. My work is my life, my lover, my BFF. My work suits me. My work defines me. Here amongst the test tubes and microscopes I remain safe from those whose faults I have no patience for.

But no matter how many times I’ve explained this to my mother, she refuses to understand.

“Go out, have fun, that’s what people of your age do,” she says. “Live a little, Samantha.”

“I’m perfectly happy, Mother,” I reply, “And it’s Sam,” I say… yet again.”

I suppose the name reminds her too much of Dad.

She’s still not managed to build a new life for herself.

My father seemed so indestructible, a rock we could cling to. He was, is, still my hero. I am grateful for the hours we spent working together in the lab. He saw the spark deep within me, and gently nurtured it. He allowed me to dream, to fly, imparting me with his great scientific knowledge.

And now that he’s gone?

I am left to fill the crushing emptiness, the gaping wound, in the only way I can, by continuing his legacy.

~

Tonight’s the night. The moment the experiment goes live, where I take the risk of exposing 001.A to the big wide world.

I’ve dressed him in a casual jacket with a blue trim. His shoes are red and black. The blue woollen hat I knitted adds the final touch. Myself, I’ve opted for pure red shoes, a blue scarf and a black jacket. I don’t want to over do the ‘couples’ double act, but I am certain these attention to the details will help us blend into the crowd.

I reach for my phone and click on the app Dad and I designed, our last project together before his death. I type in the code and press the key. I stare at the lifeless figure sitting in the corner. The details are exquisite, even if I say so myself. The perfect human companion. I even gave this one the ability to argue and converse. It hasn’t the capacity for free thought, only God is capable of such a wonder. But as God’s apprentice I haven’t done a bad job.

His long dark eyelashes flutter. He opens his eyes. Adam smiles.

“Come on Sam, we’d better get a move on or we’ll miss the start.” He reaches for my hand. I suddenly feel coy. Is this right? His brown eyes scrutinise mine. I accept.

“I’ll get the tickets, you get the popcorn.”

I watch him as he negotiates his first contact with a stranger. I half smile. Adam is in perfect working order.

“Here we are Sam,” he says, showing me a large carton. “We can share.” He winks.

I glance around, but no one is staring at us. We look normal. My sense of pride increases.

~

“Turn him off Sam, that’s an order.”

“You’re out of your mind Adrian. Jealousy is an ugly colour to wear.”

The older man glares at me. “What would your father say?”

“He would be very proud of his daughter. He’d think at least she’s got the balls to do it. Not like his devoted followers. You can’t stand the fact that I’m in charge.”

Adrian laughs. “Oh Sam, you are very mistaken. Don’t you think it is you who are jealous. Ever since he found out about your blueprints for Eve, Adam has lost interest in you. He can’t stand to be near you, for an A.I. he flinches almost as good as a human.” He smiles. “Sam, don’t play the fool. You’ve listened to his demands until you’re sick of them, just like the rest of us.”

I turn and walk away.

“Shut him down, Sam. He’s dangerous.”

I walk along to Adam’s bedroom. He’s pacing the floor, agitated as always. A sea of  papers lie scattered on the ground.

“Sam, you’ve got to help me.” His brown eyes plead. “Please don’t listen to Adrian. You know Eve and I are meant to be together. Look, I’ve already done some calculations, it’ll be easy.” He picks up a wad of paper and shakes them at me. He steps closer to the glass wall that divides us and reaches out a hand.“Promise you’ll create her for me, Sam. Eve and I are destined for one another.”

There it is again, even 001.A has his faults. I smile.

“Adam, you know I wish I could but Adrian is right.”

I take out my phone, and a scrap of paper flutters to the floor. I gaze at it. ‘The Revenant.’ The cinema ticket of our first and only date. I look at my phone, the next one will be perfect, I think, as my finger presses uninstall.

***

Head shot sepia small

Bibi Hamblin is a certified workshop leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method. A Londoner, she can be found adding and subtracting words to create short stories, flash fiction and her first novel for children. Her work appears in the Blue Harvest Circle anthology, A Winter’s Romance and with Zeroflash and Visual Verse.

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