I could sense he wanted to say something by the way he was looking at me, eyes wide open. But I waited patiently, brushing his hair with my fingers, until he gathered his strength. "Why... Lift?" I smiled with melancholy when memories started flowing through. There were so many of them, still fresh like it had happened yesterday... "Well, where should I start? You know most of the story, I could just jump to the conclusion-" "No. I know all of it, but I want to hear everything from you... Please." He smiled, the same smile with perfect white teeth that intimidated me at the beginning, when I had no idea what role he was about to play in my story. I sighed.
"A couple of months ago, one of the most powerful companies in the city was going through a pilot study. Some employees were about to receive a personal assistant, shaped for their personality, which was supposed to help them increase productivity at the workplace. Of course I was sceptical. I didn't want any help, I thought I could do everything by myself, even if that meant working more hours. But oh, how wrong I was! After endless questionnaires, I was about to meet him, or her, or... it. The day came when I had to spend some time with my new assistant, to check if any changes were to be made, if I'm fully satisfied... Someone knocked at my desk. 'Come in!' I said, unsure what to expect. I was afraid I would feel uncomfortable, I thought I would be able to tell the difference... That's when I met you. When that tall, dark-haired man entered my office, smiling shyly at me, remember what I asked you?... Of course you remember, you don't forget anything, I know."
A white smile flashed on his face.
"Yes, that's the smile you were wearing! Although it became more amused when I asked if the robot wasn't ready yet..."
I was feeling emotional again, but I knew he wanted me to continue, to live everything once again, together. So I told him about how exhausted I was feeling because of working extra hours, even with his help, since I still preferred to do most of the job myself. About how he approached me, joking that I was the machine, not him, and about how close we soon became.
"I knew I wasn't supposed to call you by a human name, to avoid becoming too attached. But we were getting along really well together and I started to get bored with just using your unique ID number. So one day after you made me blush with your compliments - and it wasn't about my pretty blue dress, but about how smart I was for solving that annoying system error - I was standing alone in the office after you had left, with a stupid smile on my face and a familiar feeling. You know I usually take the elevator in the office from the 10th floor, and halfway through I have that sensation when my stomach is dropping, falling... but then, standing there, I knew that time it was my heart that was actually falling - falling in love with the wrong species."
I sighed again. It's always easy to get lost in the past, especially if the past is full of warm, happy moments. What's more difficult is to come back, to face the cold, blue reality... He smiled at me. "And?"
"Well, that's when I found your nickname: Lift. Because I realised that when I was with you, I felt either the happiest or the saddest I'd ever been. My moods and feelings were going up and down, I knew we weren't supposed to be together, but I just couldn't help it..." I could feel tears forming at the corners of my eyes, then my sight got blurry. I didn't want to cry. So while Lift's hand was carefully brushing my tears away, I tried to focus on happier memories.
"The day we kissed for the first time was almost a dream. I knew it was forbidden, you knew that too, didn't you? It's imprinted in your mind... But that didn't stop us from sharing another kiss the next day, then another. I remember how much more confident I was feeling, I thought everything was possible with you by my side... Work became almost a pleasure, we were so much more productive than anyone had anticipated. But it was still just like a dream... I woke up when we got caught, I could see the terror in their eyes, it suddenly struck me that no one would understand that love doesn't care about such differences. We were split apart, I got fired, they took you away. I never heard back from you, I begged them to let me speak to you one more time, but they looked at me as though I was the lowest person in the universe.
And now you've come to my door after so long, and without any word you just collapse in my arms - you scared me, Lift! And telling me that they've started the shutting down procedure - that you've been labelled as faulty because you kept saying my name... Oh, Lift! How on earth did you manage to run away and come here?! I mean with just only hours, maybe minutes left until-"
My voice broke. I couldn't say it. Tears were now running down my face, but this time no one was making any effort to wipe them; my hands were still holding his head. I could see the lights in his eyes dimming slowly, and I knew I had to be brave. Like he taught me to be. I leaned down closer to him, hoping he could still hear my whispers. "I love you, Lift. And I swear I will bring you back to life." Between tears filling my eyes I saw him, smiling shyly for a split second, before becoming just another soulless machine.
Written on: 27 May 2016
Note: This story was submitted for a "1000 word challenge" competition on the theme: "Lift".