I was sitting on a bench outside the funeral home crying when Housebot rolled out and sat down beside me. I didn’t know that he could be out in the rain. He put his big metal arm around me.
“My condolences, Jeremy,” Housebot said.
I sat up straight and felt defensive.
“Can you even feel emotion?” I said.
“I can express human sentiments via prior observations,” Housebot said. “I know you must be sad right now.”
“Gee, thanks,” I said. “How could you tell?”
The rain continued falling and I didn’t care. Somehow Housebot knew enough not to say anything more while we sat. We liked Housebot. He could do all sorts of amazing things, but there was an underlying resentment towards him, probably because dad had spent so much time working on Housebot instead of spending time with us, going through I don’t know how many versions. There was dad’s Master’s thesis Hosuebot, and the many subsequent revisions, and then the dissertation Housebot.
Mom walked out of the funeral home.
“Jeremy, let’s go,” she said.
We got into the car. I sat in the front seat with Housebot, who was driving, while mom sat in back. She looked out the window at the rain and I couldn’t see if she was crying. Thinking back now, probably she wasn’t, but at the time I was too sheepish to look back or to say anything. I sat by Housebot silently the whole ride home.
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