Author: Arkapravo Bhaumik

It was on the insistence of Tom that I agreed to that silly piece of imitation. James died a frightful death, his cancer gnawed through him in less than ten months, and ever since I have not been able to clear out the lump in my heart. He is not coming back however well the imitation tried. Tom said it was augmented hologram with textured plastic for skin and it had an emotional quotient akin to that of James. It looked a lot like James and Tom even claimed that it had a similar memory. While it could not process 5567889 x 3344216 with elan but it responded with a smile when it got a whiff of James’ favourite brand of cappuccino and sometimes even looked at me and added, “Thank you, love.” I really could not care less.

*** ***

Sunday. I stood before his tombstone – ‘James McDougall (16 April 2004 – 21 July 2047), Wonderful Person and a Loving Husband’. I touched the cross and then the shiny marble covering. The best I could to get closer to him. Then reality took over. I rubbed my eyes and walked away hoping my soul would quickly repair itself and I would be back in the world with a smile, as though it had never been ripped apart.

*** ***

At the riverfront. The trees had the lush of spring. The water played along both the banks. Kids were making paper boats and sailing them and a few others walking their dogs. One of these days we should take the boat trip downstream. $12 for two tickets and half an hour of a fun ride. We can get down to the old market. Oh! yes… I just forgot he is no more. Oh! my.

*** ***

Couldn’t sleep. Tried reading a book and then watching TV. If only he was here, but then there were times when I prayed for his peaceful death as the pain was unbearable. I rubbed my eyes and then my forehead as I contemplated sleeping pills.

“Are you all right?” it was Tom’s gadget, the imitation.

“No, I am not” I turned and replied. Inadvertently I felt it’s left palm. It was probably a reflex or maybe just my weakness that I quickly took it in a tight embrace and burst out in tears.

“Hey, what happened love?” it said.

“James, take me in your arms and let me cry” I replied in spurts and gasps.

“It is okay, you should be sleeping at this time,” it said as it put its hands on my shoulders.

Cries had taken over my voice and venting it all out mattered more than making civil conversations with a robot.