I felt a shifting in my circuits like I got when I rebooted, a slippery, falling feeling that signaled stress— or was it joy? The whole idea of feelings and emotions was new to me. An upgrade, I didn’t think was much of an improvement. It was difficult to keep track of what one was supposed to be feeling. Regardless of exactly what emotion it was, I knew that I was supposed to be having them, lots of them, especially on my wedding day.
According to custom, I colored my body panels white and clutched a bouquet of artificial blossoms in my utility appendage. I would say I was nervous but of course you can’t be nervous without nerves, but I was definitely feeling a little 4-0-4 File not found-ish. I looked at myself in the mirror, tall, polished, beautiful in a classical way. I noticed the odd feelings were strongest when I thought of BEN-4-7-45, my designated partner. After all, how well did I really know him? True, the BEN models were highly rated, but you never really knew how another being was wired until you’ve shared a lot of time together, and then it might be too late. A few brief encounters hardly qualified as knowing someone.
No doubt BEN-4-7-45 was having similar misgivings. And why shouldn’t he? After all, what made me so superior? A four year old model with more miles on my odometer than I cared to admit. I was lucky to have finally made a match at all. And BEN was so kind and sweet, tall and strong; sure it was his third pairing, but that didn’t mean it was all his fault.
My best friends were clustered around me now. All smile emoticons and what passed for laughter among my kind. I had to admit the girls looked terrific in their burgundy and pink body panels. BEN’s friends looked handsome too in their charcoal and light gray panels. Maybe there will be more pairings after tonight. It would be nice to have friends in common.
There was a stirring in the hall. Soon it would be time to walk down the aisle. One of my friends slipped a piece of gauzy fabric over my ocular sensors, another custom no one understood the reason for but, like the ceremony itself, it was faithfully carried out. These ancient rituals were all that remained of the time before.
Two ancient bots, patched and discolored with age, stood on each side of me. I understood that they symbolized the parents who, if I were human, would have given me away. They were the oldest bots I had ever seen. They had probably done this a thousand times. There wasn’t much else they could do, poor things. They walked me down the aisle to the stage, a raised platform decorated with flowers of all description—plastic, fabric, even glass—more flowers than I had ever seen.
A scratchy recording of something called the wedding march began to play through the speakers of assembled guests. All oculars were on me, the old-bots moved forward. Ben was waiting. This was it, there was no turning back. I hoped for the best.
Links to his books: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/harris-tobias
A small bit of recognition for one of my collaborations.