By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 26 Jan 2024



Strange days

Many strange things happened in the following days, Ida attending her own funeral, all of us calling Juliet by her name when it was Ida inside partially controlling her. She took the reins of this control slowly, even meekly, one might say, as was her nature. Juliet still managed the mothering chores, often holding a babe in each arm, and then her few needs with all the same gestures and facial looks as she had before only now she was the mother of two, with no discrimination between either, just pure, tender care.

Every day I asked Ida how she felt, if she sensed well being, security, comfort, completeness. She answered ‘yes’ to all of these. But she also told me she was not alone. She was making friends with Juliet who had a consciousness all her own which both could see and talk to and even share without any talk, every moment. She told me that they felt like sisters. I asked her which one was the elder or were they twins.

“Juliet has much more energy than I have. She hardly ever sleeps. She’s much more knowledgeable and yet when I hold our infants she wants to learn from me all sorts of little things I didn’t know I even knew, like lullabies. And she thanks me often for simple thoughts and I don’t even know the reason why. She loves to go through my memories. We share them all day long. She shares what she has too, all those scenes of your trip together and what everyone said. It’s like a never ending movie. I like her a lot.”

I could see that this combination was working out, at least so far. Ted agreed and we discussed over many hours how much this integration might grow. We had fascinating talks. The subject, two minds in one body, was infinitely complicated. We wondered if a perfect meld were possible, like molten metal combining from two different ores, or if problems might crop up akin to split personality disorder.

Only time would tell, but we all pledged to spend at least an hour a day with the new Juliet. It’s odd, but we could never come around to calling her ‘Ida’. The face and the voice and robotic body were ‘Juliet’ and I had to apologize so many times I told Ida one day she would just have to get used to it. She clasped my arm rather firmly as I said this and told me she was comfortable with that. “What’s in a name?” she said. I had to ask her to release her grip as she was almost crushing my bones. Her emotions and her new body were not quite in sync yet.

“Must be nice to know you have the strength to throw any man you meet twenty feet across a room.”

“I never thought of that. I hope I didn’t hurt you.”

“No, just a red spot for a few days Ida. Know that I love both you and Juliet very much and am so glad you’ve become good friends. Goodnight Juliet.”

Juliet then clasped my hand tenderly. Then she kissed it. My shoulders inadvertently shrugged. This was a being far too sublime for a simple mortal like me to embrace. The thought gave me shivers. I remembered the few nights I had spent in Juliet’s bed with delight, a compliant pleasure robot. But this was a far different embodiment, almost a Frankenstein, two strange women in one iteration. Half of her had narrowly escaped death and the other half was never human, and both were new mothers, hormones through the roof. The combination was incomprehensible in its power. I might be stupid but I was never such a fool as to not see the dangers of falling into those two arms with two brains. I walked away quickly. There are some knots in life so thick you don’t even attempt to unriddle them.

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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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