Skin

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Dumped

I'd really like to say that it all went wrong on the day she found out what I'd done - who she was - because that would be a reason I could understand. But she didn't find out. She still doesn't know. No, it all went wrong the day she found out she didn't love me as much as she used to. Once her actual mind, which she had been cultivating herself over the past year, formed opinions separate from those of her implanted memory.

I got the first hint when we were watching a DVD of an old favourite TV show. She turned to me and said ‘You know, I don't think I like this as much as I used to.’ In reality, it was the first time she had seen it, but there was no way for her to know that.

I tried to act casually about it, even though thoughts began flashing through my mind. ‘Really?’

‘Yeah. I mean it's not like I hate it or anything. But it's not really doing it for me anymore. I'm not sure what it is.’

It was just one comment, about one show. But it shook me. It meant that her opinions had now moved beyond anything I had programmed. And potentially not just her opinions about TV shows.

Did this mean that she would break up with me? Just because she no longer loved ‘our’ favourite British sit-com? That was a big leap, I knew, but it was possible. It did mean that she was growing, and doing so in an almost unpredictable way.

I immediately convinced myself that it wasn't anything to worry about. I had spent as much time, if not more, developing her opinions about me than I did developing her opinions about everything else combined. Not laughing at a cheesy old sitcom was nothing. Besides, she was kind of right about the show. You know, I was kind of thinking the same thing. Wasn't I? Maybe that's all it was.

‘You're right,’ I said, a bit too loudly. ‘It's really shit isn't it?’ I quickly reached for the remote and switched off the TV.

‘Hey! Over-react much? I was still watching that. Like I said it's not terrible.’ I could see the grumpiness form on her perfect face. Grumpiness that I had programmed, and yet had hoped that I would never see. ‘And anyway, you own the whole series on DVD, so obviously you like it a fair bit. I'm just saying it's not really doing it for me anymore. Geez!’ With that she got up to make herself a coffee.

We didn't mention the show again, but the incident that night planted a seed of self-doubt in my mind that would only grow from that point on.

* * *

She left me only three weeks later. Looking back on it, I am sure that it was the way I behaved after the DVD incident, more than anything in her, that caused it. I started acting like I didn't know her; like there was something wrong with her. While I should have been celebrating the fact that my creation was in all senses truly alive, and should have been enjoying her company in the process, instead I became paranoid and insecure. I am, and always will be, a fool.

I kept a keen eye on her, ready to note any change from her design. I also tested her. I would give her foods she hadn't tasted before and see what she thought of them. I acted quite childishly, really. But while doing all that, I also over compensated in our relationship. But I didn't know what to do. Once she had deviated from her design I realised I had no idea how to be in a relationship, I only knew how to be with her. I went out of my way to please her - to make sure she wouldn't go.

On the day she left she said ‘You know you've been acting weird lately. Like you don't know me. I need someone who is more trusting, but who is also more secure. And, sorry to be so cruel, but someone who is less pathetic. You'll do anything for me, which I used to think was lovely, but it is now bordering on obsessive.’

I struggled to find words. ‘But… we were made for each other.’

‘I thought that once. I really did. I thought we were meant to be, but from the way you're acting, it's obvious that we weren't. We weren’t made for each other, and I think you know that too.’

How do you come back from that? What can you say in your defence? I certainly couldn’t tell her the truth. ‘It won't happen again’ or ‘I'll try harder’? It would be hard to think of anything that would sound more pathetic and desperate, although I think I managed it.

‘Okay.’

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