Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

‘The Companion’: chapter 6

I have had my first period.  I have “wasted” one or two ova, but it has definitely been worth it.  All the plumbing is now working:  my vascular system, my ovaries, my fallopian tubes, my uterus, and the chemical signals to get the parts of the system to operate in the right order. 

This is such an historic moment that I have decided to celebrate in some style.  I am going to get the train to London, do some shopping, and stay at the St Martin’s Lane Hotel.  Part of the shopping trip will be to collect a dress from the designer.  It is ivory-coloured patterned silk, long, with a corseted bodice, long sleeves, a four-yard-long train, and a veil.  Yes, it is indeed a wedding-dress.  I am going to take it back to the hotel, and wear it for a while in the room.  I do not care if that sounds silly.  No-one will know – not after I have swept the room for surveillance devices.  I will then put the dress away and take it with me on the journey.  I will wear it when Kelvin and I get married.

I am in the hotel-room, and I am wearing the dress, which is even more stunning than I expected.  Deciding to do this was a mistake.  I have never felt so terribly lonely in all my existence.  I have never felt so distant from Kelvin.  I have never felt so misunderstood and under-valued.  I thought I would feel foolish and self-conscious.  I don’t: I feel angry and desolate at the same time.  After a while, I felt so low that I realised I was in the state that would make a human cry.  The production of tears for me is voluntary, but I did produce them, copiously, for several hours.  To my surprise, I did feel much better afterwards.  I also had quite a large quantity of alcohol (a bottle of Bollinger followed by three stiff gin and tonics) and I let it stay in my system until my non-algorithmic brain was quite addled.  I am almost sorry that there was no-one there to see me. I am heartbroken that Kelvin was not there to see me, and he had no idea where I was or what I was doing or how I felt.  I wonder what a highly-advanced android in a wedding-dress getting drunk and crying on its own in an expensive hotel-room looks like. 

I have decided to conceive before we set off, here on Earth.  I am very annoyed with Kelvin for having forced me to embark on an exercise of such inconvenience, to say nothing of danger.  I will be sorry to leave this planet. 

            To increase the quality of Kelvin’s sperm, I have sent him a fake email which purported to come from the facility where he will be doing his training for the ascent.  It said that, in view of the strain on his muscles, he needs to cut his alcohol intake to less than ten units per week.  He seems to have fallen for this. 

Kelvin has been cutting back on booze for two weeks now, and Tonight Is The Night. 

We did not have anything particularly special for dinner, because that would have tended to increase alcohol consumption.  After we had left the table, he picked up a book, and I disappeared for a few minutes.  When I went back into the sitting-room, I hit him with the bridal lingerie set I had bought from Rigby & Peller.  I was pleased with the reaction.  By the time I had walked across the room towards him, his tongue was hanging out.  It did not occur to him to ask me why I was wearing white: my underwear he likes the best is usually black or red. 

            I knew I was ovulating: with my ultrasound, I can “see” inside myself.  I don’t develop follicles: my ovaries work more like those dispensers that artificial sweeteners come in. 

            I wanted him to make love to me for a change.  Fortunately, the lingerie and the shoes were working.  He was as stiff as a ram-rod, but he was content to tease himself and take things slowly.  When I have stockings and suspenders on, he likes to kiss my thighs just above my stocking-tops, and run his tongue under the suspenders.  While I was enjoying the tingling and the somewhat unaccustomed attention, my head was full of all the things I wanted to say, and wanted to hear.  I felt like crying again, but not out of pure misery: it was misery tinged with enjoyment and contentment.  I was also excited about what we were about to achieve. 

            I let myself float and Kelvin continued to make love to me.  He coaxed me from my lacy white briefs and kissed me on every inch of my exposed skin. 

            When he eventually thrust into me, he did it so slowly and deliberately that I almost wondered if he had worked out what was happening.  I used an internal optical camera to record the moment of conception.  I cried again when it happened, and allowed myself a single tear, which Kelvin did not notice.  I watched the embryo all the way on its journey down the fallopian tube, after which I employed a special trick to divert it away from my uterus and into another container which human females do not possess.  After twenty-four hours, it had divided into four cells, each of which appeared to be in perfect condition.  I then froze it, and the container became arguably the world’s smallest refrigerator.  I have called the embryo Horace.  I do not know what sex it is.  I do not know when I will be able to implant it and let it gestate.  Hence, I do not know when the child will be born.  I do not know when Kelvin and I will be able to discuss names.


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