[DAY 18 – fiction] Hello World

Since the disappearance of Mom and everyone else, J longed for someone to talk to and to share her day with. She strolled around the neighborhood mumbling to herself, while her eyes widened as a hummingbird crossing the sky or her heart leapt when a leaf landing on the ground. The sight of life going on around her, however dull it can be, brings the greatest excitement.

Days turned to weeks, and weeks to months. As the garden spurted from small seeds to plants taller than J herself, she retreated into the garage. At school, everyone called J “the girl with magic,” because she was the president of G-Bot club, in which she led girls to create robots that wiped the teaching boards or watered the plants. These small projects were the reason J loved school – she just couldn’t wait to get up and buried herself in the robot lab.

During these months, J at times woke up and wished that she were in the lab again. This time, she wanted to create something that would listen to her and respond to her like Mom and Dani always did.

“Oh and I wish it could go on walks with me, too.” She jumped out of her bed; her face lightened at the thought of what the robot would be like. “It can water my plants just like my robots at the school. Then I can tell it to read a book for me or clean the kitchen counter.”

She rushed towards the garage, which was then still a mess of Mom’s old equipments for her work. Under the biggest shelf on which loaded dusty and heavy boxes that her family didn’t want to throw away, J pulled out a brown container labeled “SCIENCE FAIR” on the side. It had been there since last year, and after all those months when she had vowed to herself to use it for little projects at home, she finally fulfilled that promise.

So now, J’s days and nights took on a different routine. With a schedule of running, gardening, cooking, and reading, she now added “Sis-bot” on a schedule that she pinned on the refrigerator. If one walked pass her garage at four in the morning, one would wonder if the owner of the house left light on on accident. Yet, there were no one on earth to neither see that light or remind her to cut the all-nighters. Yet, with no one to keep score, she was persistent with her project.

“Because the world would be slightly better.”

Two months later, with the dishes piled up on one side and dirty laundry on the other, J dropped her tools, trembling to put away trash on the floor to give way for her robot. While sweat poured on her temple and wetted her shirt, ‘click’ she switched the on-off button. Shutting her eyes, J caught on the humming and rattling sound of the engine, anticipating just five simple words.

“Hello J, this is Janine.”

And there they were. “Hello Janine,” J’s eyes teared up and she finally grasped for air. She flung her arms around Janine.

“Hello Janine.”

“Hello.”

Published by Thi Le

Human.

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