Author: Aliyn Song
“Here I am, Andy.”
When I entered the ward, as always, no one answered. I moved slowly towards the bed. Looking ghastly pale, he was still asleep, deep and lifelessly.
Nurse Jennifer came up and said to me, “Hi. Miss Lawrence.”
I nodded and asked numbly, “How is his condition?”
“Well……Still…… No response to any stimulus. But I’m sure he is going to wake up one day if you come to see him often.”
She was lying. Although there was an optimistic smile on her face, the sympathy in her eyes could not be hid. I smiled with profound resignation: “You don’t need to lie to me. I know he may not be able to wake up.”
Jennifer looked a little bit awkward.
Yes. I knew in my heart that my love would never wake up. Andy had lost all consciousness and become a vegetative in years earlier.
——Ten years. It looked very long, but in fact it was very short. Over the past years, Jennifer, who had been taking care of him, changed from an intern girl to a head nurse. Also, I was no longer young. I became ugly and old, and no man came up to chat up even when I was alone in a bar. At the same time, I lost the “little girl’s emotions”. I would kneel down in front of his bed and cry for a night ten years ago, but now I was calm.
I had accepted the fact that Andy, my true love, the man with whom I would like to spend my life, would never wake up again.
But still, I lied to Jennifer: “I’ll always wait for him to wake up. Maybe one day, as you said.”
“But if you really miss him——well……You can really get to know those robots. You know, it’s said that it’s completely the same as the original person——”
“I hate this joke. I have told you many times. No one can replace Andy. No one can. He is a living man. How do the so-called artificial intelligence compare with him?” I stared at her angrily, trying to show the most ferocious expression in my life.
Jennifer was afraid and her voice trembled, “I’m sorry. It seems that you really love him. I thought you hadn’t come to see him much lately because ——”
“Because I’m too busy. Andy is the true love of my life. I will never fall in love with a second person in my life.”
Before I entered the house, the fragrance of the meal came out first.
“Steak for dinner, huh?”
“That’s smart, sweetheart.”
The man of the same appearance as Andy stepped forward. He embraced and kissed me, with arms which are strong and warm.
Faced with his gentleness, there was a violent pain that hit my chest: “I just went back from the hospital. Maybe Andy won’t wake up again.”
He hugged me tighter：“ Am I not Andy? I’m right beside you.”
I stopped talking, and then he said slowly in a softer tone, “Anyway, I’ll stay with you until your true love wakes up. My love for you is as deep as your love for him. If he can’t wake up, let me stay with you all the time.”
His face was so soulful and sad. Looking at him, my mood gradually calmed down. Then I smiled and entwined his fingers with mines.
Yes, I lied to Jennifer. My robot “Andy” has been with me for five years. I can only tell you how much I miss Andy If you ask me why.
Although, I was very resistant to this technology at first —— I thought Andy was unique and irreplaceable. Many friends advised me to buy a robot to relieve my sadness, but I always refused without mercy. Until that drizzly night five years ago, when I was drunk and cried my eyes out over a photo of Andy and me. After searching for the relevant information on the Internet, I stepped into a shop specializing in making simulation robots.
Since then, I have another “Andy”.
When the hospital called me, I was sleeping soundly.
I had a dream that I and Andy were back to the day of the car accident ten years ago. This time, seeing the future, I grabbed his sleeve pettishly: ” Don’t drive today. Let’s take the bus.” A little surprise flashed across Andy’s face, but eventually he smiled gently, “Okay.”
In my memory, he has been so gentle all the time. No matter what happens, he always listened to me unconditionally.
I changed the history! That horrible accident wound not exist! He wound never be sunk in sleep; I wound never lose me and Andy’s future. I supposed we’ll soon get married and build our own family: we’ll have three kids and a Labrador; I’ll go for a walk along the beach with him every day, and our children will lead the dog and hop along.
Joy was overflowing my heart. I loved Andy so much. What a handsome face and gentle personality he had! Unlike many other guys, he always listened to me and respected me so much.
Just then a strange noise began. It sounded like a bell, bright and distant. I felt like I was in a dream.
I opened my eyes and grabbed a cell phone at the head of my bed. Andy, who was sleeping on the other side of the bed, woke up too —— of course, the robots didn’t really need to sleep, and he looked at me doubtfully.
Before I could see who the caller was, I hurried to answer the phone. My heart could not help feeling doubtful: It’s so late at night. What’s the matter?
“Hello, this is Antaroth Hospital. Is that Miss Lawrence? Your fiancé has regained consciousness.”
The phone in my hand fell down and hit the bed.
“Ten years have passed! You know, I don’t have a clear mind right now. Memories of the past seem all blurred. I only remember that crush and how our car window broken…… Then I lost consciousness, to this day.”
In bed, Andy spoke slowly in a very weak voice. He was so pale and weak that he seemed to faint at any moment. But his eyes were still tender.
I looked at him and told myself repeatedly that it was not my dream. My love finally came to life.
I told him in the softest voice of my life, “You will soon remember everything, and I will always be with you.”
“Didn’t I tell you that? This kind of tacky TV program is not funny at all. Change the channel.
“I thought I had the right to decide what I watched, Mary.”
Just as I was struck dumb, Andy handed me back the orange juice left over from his bed: “Mary, I don’t like orange juice. Drink it up by yourself, okay?”
“Didn’t you say you like orange juice best before?”
I was amazed. In my memory, Andy liked to drink orange juice, just like me. Whenever I buy too much orange juice and I can’t drink to the last drop myself, I will give it to him and ask him to help. My robot Andy also has been drinking orange juice with me all the time.
“Did you remember it wrong?” Andy frowned and answered.
Andy never looked at me like that before. That kind of scrutiny made me feel uncomfortable all over.
“……I have something to do. I’m leaving today.”
“So early? I think it’s always hard to see you. I want to talk to you more.” Andy tried to keep me.
“I’m really busy.”
Andy has been awake for a month. At first, I often came to see him, but I were reluctant to come to the hospital gradually. I don’t want to face this strange Andy. It turned out that my Andy was not gentle actually: he would argue with me sometimes; he would not listen to me in everything; he would not always do what I said.
I can’t tell the strange feeling. I always thought he had changed, but friends who came to see him told me that he had always been Andy.
So, was it me who changed?
Andy and I met in a bar near our college. There was a big party that night. I had never been interested in such a noisy and crowded occasion, but I still couldn’t bear the persuasion of my friend to come. There, listening to loud music, I felt out of place. While I was in a daze, his figure appeared in my sight. Andy sat and drank alone. He had a melancholy, clean smile, as if in a dream. Unconsciously, I went to him. I whispered, “Hi. Are you alone? Make a friend?” And he smiled at me gently, “OK.”
Afterwards, every moment with him, I could feel his tenderness and consideration. This is what I want him to have.
But now, why did a car accident make him lose this tenderness? I was puzzled.
“Babe, what are you thinking about?”
A pleasant baritone sounded near my ear.
I looked up and forced a smile at him: “I I’m all right. Andy.”
“You can’t fool me. I can see your sadness. What’s wrong? Didn’t he wake up?
In front of me, Andy, my robot, would never call the real Andy “Andy”. He always said “he”.
I seemed to melt into his affectionate eyes. Now this Andy was more like my love who had been in love with me for a long time. He was so obedient, so considerate of me. How gentle he was.
My heart beat rapidly.
But my Andy in reality……
When I think of my fiancé in reality, I was flood in tears: “I think Andy has changed. They all said that his character was the same as before. But Andy used to be a perfect lover. He was so considerate. But now ——”
“Maybe it was you who accidentally beautified his character,” Andy, my robot, wiped away my tears and said, “You used to think he would never wake up, as if he had died. So, you beautified your memory of he. You magnified his strengths, and in your impression, he would always be a gentle boyfriend. He didn’t have any doubts about your ideas. He respected your opinions unconditionally. But, in fact, he is not like that. You just haven’t seen him for a long time. You’ve fallen into fantasy love.”
“Especially……” He paused for a moment and continued, “You have me now. I am a real perfect lover. I am your ideal Andy. The real one is far not as good as I am. I’m your true love, Mary.”
Yes, this Andy is really perfect, far more than the real Andy. However, once said that robots cannot replace the true love of me, can I really think so selfishly?
In guilt, I pushed Andy the robot away.
Ignoring the hurt on his face, I rushed to the hospital immediately.
Afterwards, I accompanied Andy more frequently. As if that would eliminate the ideas that I had never dared to tell him before.
But even so, Andy and I were growing apart.
We often quarreled, but we dared not make a big fight. Andy’s body was still very weak, needing injections every day.
Until one day, when I visited him, he coldly dropped a photo on the table.
That was a picture of “Andy” and I chatting on the bench in the amusement park. Last week, I just went out with him.
“How did you see that?” I was in a panic. Even though “Andy” had the same face as him, his eyes still looked as if I had betrayed him.
“Tom gave it to me. He went out with his wife and saw you.” He trembled with anger. Tom is our common friend.
“Listen, Andy ——”
“That’s enough. What else do you want to say? I know that robotics technology is very advanced now, and I understand that you really miss me before I woke up. But now that I’m awake, why are you still with him? I am your true love. I am your fiancé!”
“I……” I wanted to explain everything to him, but I understand that I had no well-founded reason to speak. In grief, I had to rush out of the ward and went home.
“You still don’t understand it yet? Now it’s time for me to leave. Actually, I should have left.”
Clearly was so affectionate tone, but the touch of sadness still made me miserable.
I murmured, “No. I can’t lose you.”
“But you must not lose your betrothed as well. I always knew I was a substitute. A robot can’t take Andy’s place in loving you. Go back, go back to Andy.”
My tears had already made me speechless. I could only tell him with my eyes not to speak any more, but he ignored me and continued: “Maybe it’s a problem of the times. People always say that we robots can’t beat Real people. This is what is called ethics. But why? I look the same as Andy. Moreover, I am more perfect, more in line with your expectations. I don’t love you less than he loves you. If I can stay with you, I will be your perfect lover and take care of you all my life. But now I must leave ——”
“That’s enough. Don’t say anything. I want to be with you! You are my ideal lover.”
All of a sudden, I thought about everything. Maybe only the robot in front of me could give me the love I want. I couldn’t forget who was with me when I missed Andy the most; I couldn’t forget that he was more in line with my expectations than the real Andy; I couldn’t forget his tears and smiles.
If I leave him, I would regret for a lifetime.
“In that case, who would you choose with him and me?” “Andy” looked at me with a firm expression.
“……You.” I have to admit that the balance in my mind has shifted to Andy Robot. Before Andy woke up, I would never hesitate to choose my real fiancé. But when he really woke up, I saw the importance of “Andy” to me.
“Andy” held me touchingly, but his voice was still full of worry: “But Andy can’t tolerate my existence.”
“Then I’ll break up with him and be with you.”
“I’m glad you think so, Mary. But after breaking up with him and being with a robot…… I don’t want people to point behind you.”
I hesitated a little too. Naturally, I didn’t want to be an alien. Everyone said that robots can’t replace true love. Once, I had the same idea. Once, I despised those people who were with robots. But now I could really appreciate what those poor people think.
After all, human beings were living creatures. They had all kinds of emotions and countless shortcomings. They were sometimes selfish, anxious and angry. But robots will always follow the set procedures and never go against people’s expectations. Why did some people say that humans were better than robots?
Looking at my anxious face, “Andy” suddenly smiled: “It doesn’t matter. I’ve got a plan in mind. Soon, we will be together forever. Real love is eternal.”
Mary came in with a smile. She sat in front of me and peeled the apple for me. I couldn’t help feeling guilty and thinking about the quarrel with her yesterday.
I couldn’t imagine how Mary managed to survive her inner sorrow for countless days and nights after losing me. It’s normal to find a robot to accompany her. But as an insecure person, I still felt jealous.
But I doubted Mary’s love for me. I really went too far.
I felt more and more guilty: “I’m sorry for being narrow-minded.”
“That’s all right,” Mary’s smile was so brilliant. “I’ve made up my mind. I will give up everything for true love. You can rest assured that I will always be with my Andy.”
Mary seemed to be very pleased today, completely unaffected by yesterday’s fight. It seemed that I really shouldn’t doubt her love for me. When I used to argue with her, I always had to coax her for a long time after she got angry. Ten years later, she had changed and became mature.
“Let’s get married after I discharge.”
“Well, that sounds wonderful……Hey, you haven’t had an injection today. I’ll call the nurse.”
During the conversation, a medium-sized male nurse who wore a breathing mask came in. “Hello, Mr. Baker. I’m Eddie, the new nurse. Jennifer is on sick leave today. Let me give you an injection.”
His voice was elegant and pleasant. Strangely enough, I felt that the voice was somewhat familiar to me.
Who was it like?
Before I had time to think it over, Mary helped the male nurse to give me my daily injection.
Then, the male nurse went out. Mary and I started talking again.
“Mary, I will never forget that you have been with me for so many years. I will always be nice to you in the future.”
After that, I wanted to sit up excitedly, but failed. My body was still so weak that I felt dizzy.
“It’s all right. You don’t have to be nice to me.”
I don’t know if it’s because the bed light is too bright, or because I was dazzled, Mary’s smile seemed strange.
She continued, “Andy will be with me all the time.”
Her words became more and more strange. I was Andy. I wanted to ask her clearly, but I found myself unable to say a word.
I pressed the button in a hurry to call the nurse, when the male nurse outside came in: “Mr. Baker. Is there anything wrong?”
He approached me, bent over and touched my cheek: “It seems nothing. What is it that makes you uncomfortable? Is it because you have a fever, or is it because of me?”
He suddenly took off his mask.
——His face was exactly the same as mine.
Before I completely lost consciousness, the last sentence I heard was “I will be with Mary forever as Andy.”
Jennifer had been a nurse for ten years. During these years, she had witnessed countless deaths and illnesses. Originally, she thought she had lost the feeling of excessive sadness or joy.
But today was still an unforgettable for her.
Andy Baker, who was hospitalized in a car accident ten years ago, was finally leaving the ward.
At first, he had become a vegetative and probably could not wake up for his lifetime. But Andy’s fiancée Mary Lawrence was always with him.
She thought that God must have been moved by the couple’s love too.
In this highly developed era of technology, many people in the same despair of Mary’s chose to give up their love and find a robot similar to their lover. But Mary was different. She always despised those behaviors. She once said that there is no substitute for true love.
On the day of discharge, Mary and Andy came together to thank her for ten years of care. The petite and beautiful Mary relied on Andy, who held the woman in his arms tightly. Their faces were full of happiness.
Jennifer could not help feeling glad when she looked at them.
Mary said to Jennifer, “Thank God for giving me Andy. My Andy is the gentlest person in the world. He is my ideal lover.
Jennifer felt a little strange. Why did Mary say “ideal”? Andy was clearly a real person.
But looking at their happy appearance, such insignificant questions were quickly thrown out of the sky by her.
She said to them, ” May you two live together till old and grey.”
Mary and Andy left.
Jennifer was a little bit envious. She was thinking about when she could meet such a true love. After all, apart from robots, there weren’t many good-natured men like Andy in reality.
But no matter how the times change. There are always the same things and the same people in them —— Jennifer said to herself as she watched the couple snuggle up in the distance ——
Real love is eternal.