I was forty years old when I experienced my first kiss.
I’d been a part of Sasha’s family since the beginning, since before she was even born. I don’t remember being assembled, or boxed up, or delivered to her parents’ door, but I do remember being activated for the first time and my vision receptors beginning to operate.
First I saw an oval suspended in the air. No, not suspended – attached to something, but I couldn’t quite work out what. And then my cognitive functions whirred to life and I realised that I was looking at the face of my new owner.
My duties were simple; cook, clean, feed the dog, cook, clean, feed the dog. Like clockwork, or the way that I stood on my charging station each night; cook, clean, feed the dog.
In 2052, Sasha was born, and a new duty was added to the repertoire. Cook, clean, feed the dog, babysit. And so the life of a servant-bot was laid out before me. I knew just enough to do my job, and nothing more, and I was fine with my fate. At least, until Sasha grew up.
Sasha was different than her parents. She saw me. I’m not sure if that even makes sense, but she was the first person to see beyond the scuffed outer shell with ‘Servant-Bot 1300’ plastered on the front. When she was young, I read to her each night and played imaginary games that opened up new sections of my circuitry that my inventors probably didn’t even know about.
If I was human I suppose it would have been called love.
And then one day she leant forward and kissed me, just like that. For the first time, I wished that I had been designed with feeling receptors in my lips so that I could feel the tender caress. But of course, what use do servant-bots have for such functions?
When she pulled back, I analysed the expression on her face and saw that she was upset. Kissing metal couldn’t have been as enjoyable as kissing the men she brought home.
‘You’ve been recalled,’ she said at last, but I must have needed a service because although my audio receptors heard her words, I couldn’t seem to process them. ‘Something to do with a flaw in the circuitry. They are collecting you tomorrow.’
And then I understood that it hadn’t been any old first kiss, it had been a goodbye kiss.
My motors ticked and whirred.
‘Once more?’ I asked, and she smiled, leaning forward.
This time, when her lips touched mine, I closed my eyes. I placed one of my hands gently on her neck. My fingers were one part of me that did have feeling, and I noticed how thin and soft her neck was.
It snapped so easily, with just a little pressure.
And so, when I was forty years old I experienced my first kiss. It tasted like freedom.
*This story was written for a duel on the Fiction Writing facebook group. I had to write a story of 500 words based on the topic: My First Kiss. This story received the most votes and I have moved into the top 32.*
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Alanah Andrews grew up with a boiling mud-pool in her backyard, so it is no wonder that she loves reading and writing speculative fiction. She is the author of Beyond: A Short Story Collection of twisted tales, ghosts, murder and ‘beyond.’ She also has a YA dysopian novel coming out in August 2018.