It didn’t look like much of a robot. It was soft and lumpy and didn’t have any flashing lights or make any noises beyond a low hum. But it could hold a drink tray steady enough to entertain at parties, so she was satisfied.

Its warm battery was also a comfort on lonely, chilly evenings. She would wrap her arms and legs around it, the low hum lulling her into a contented sleep.

How was she to know what such a gentle act would lead to? She could never have known that the radiation would cause her limbs to wither, to grow brittle and useless, or that they would have to be removed. How could she have?

I went and saw her the other day. I watched her and her robot rolling around on the carpet, gaining joy from each other’s movements. As true a love as anything I’ve seen.