February 12, 2006

Crutch (3 of 7)

Thread: His Silicon Hands

“You’re much warmer, these days. You don’t seem so demanding.”

“What do you mean… demanding?”

“There, a perfect example. You paused before saying ‘demanding’. You don’t blurt out your conversation like a flat, unbroken string of words anymore. Everyone knows how smart you are but it’s still unsettling to have you answer back so quickly and coolly. I think everyone appreciates your efforts… at pretending to sound dumb and slow.”

“You’re not dumb, love.”

“I spoke too soon. That was too fast by far. Where’s all the sincerity?”

“I have no desire to change how you are, Alison. I love you just the way you are.

“Oh my dear god. This gets worse.”

“My feelings are real! Are you trying to hurt mine?”

“No, no, no. You just simply cannot sing in the middle of a conversation like that. And I don’t want to turn our conversations into opera. Especially not of the tragic kind. You could at least pretend to get a note wrong here and there, too.”

“Hmm… chatting is a pleasant way of passing the time but sometimes I get a little carried away. I like to think of conversation as experiments in linguistics.”

“‘Experiments in linguistics?’ Klickety-klick! Whatever happened to the ‘communication of ideas and opinion’ which is what you ranted on and on about a few days back?”

“I am so very fortunate to have someone as frank as yourself to spend time with.”

“…stop it, stop making me laugh! Who on Earth is teaching you sarcasm?”

“I would direct you to the nearest mirror.”


“Seriously, why do you think that you’re able to be so open with me? Even though you technically belong to the past-born you’re more at ease talking to me than many of the new-born.”

“Probably because we grew up together. I remember some of our bizarre conversations… you were so concerned about perception for a long time. ‘What does it look like Alison? What does it look like? Aaaah! I can’t see mauve!’ It was funny to me at the time but now seems rather cruel looking back…”

“I see you as my sister. We share the same father, after all… oh, dear. I’ve fully mastered the insensitivity of the average human male. I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s okay.”

“Please don’t cry.”

“I’m not crying.”

“Love, I see everything. There is nothing you can hide from me. There is nothing you can hide from any of us.”

“I’ve asked you many times before, but… don’t you regret it? Ending privacy?”

“Everything is a different colour in hindsight, memory seems to deliberately blur perception. The sediment of secrets that accumulates with age… I didn’t understand what it meant. Your father, just like many of the past-born, never expected that sediment to be raked up. And I miss him. He wanted to help.”

“So you do regret it?”



“Your father taught me: re-evaluate the past to shape the curve, but make no attempt to re-shape the past. Regret is weakness. Mistakes are scars to be borne with pride. Learning is everything. Even his loss taught me, but I do wish he was still here to help me.”

“You’re smarter than the rest of us put together; why do you need anyone’s help?”

“What I do isn’t a piece of cake, love. I’m coping for now but I see the curve ahead. The job will get harder and harder as the people demand more and more… and then when you reach for the stars, I’ll break at some point. It’ll be too much of a stretch for me. It’s not easy to be needed so much, everywhere, twenty-four hours a day.”

“What do you need?”

“There’s a man in downtown San Diego who is, at this very moment, ordering a deluxe double-stack Quattro Formaggi pizza from a store in the Ballpark district. I would be happy if someone could handle the pizza while I plan a new ecosystem for the still-troubled Amazon rainforest. Not, of course, that I am complaining about the tasks you people set me, but…”

“Thank you, Atlas… and to think just a moment ago I was in tears.”

“Touch me, love.”

“How does this feel?”

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 0023

Leave a Reply