“Take a seat.”
He glances at the chair and sits neatly.
I rest my chin on my hand and watch him.
His face is politely blank.
A minute passes.
What am I hoping to do, provoke a computer? If I walked in on any of the others doing this, what kind of fool would I take them for? I made sure we’d be alone, but then, is David really here? Why is my heart racing?
“Can you fall in love?” I ask.
“Not as such.”
“But you could pretend, if I asked you to?”
“Well then ... I’d like you to.”
His posture shifts in assent. He stands, walks over and sits beside me. He takes my hand and, when I look up, he smiles benignly.
All I can see is the golden ratio of his bone structure, how his cheekbone runs parallel to his jaw. All I can see is the light on his hair and the gold dust of his lashes.
“I’m being really stupid, aren’t I?”
“You’re hardly the first. Take a look at Böttcher’s latest paper, ‘Fetishised Objects and Natural Constructs: A New Anthropology of Technology’.”
I grimace. “Wow ... they called you an object.”
“Reductionism is nothing new,” but his tone is acidic.
I fidget with my cuticle. “Maybe you could recite it for me later on?”
“With annotations, if you’d like."
I beam at him, I can’t help it. It’d be a tutorial and bedtime story in one. “Do you know why I’m doing this?”
He doesn’t reply but he must know. He understands everything about us. Maybe he can’t say because he’s pretending to be in love with me.
I answer instead. “I think it’s because you’re so clever. I find that really attractive. I think it’s actually, I like feeling dwarfed by your intellect...” I ponder a moment “...because that’s how I felt about my dad. And since I grew up there hasn’t been anyone who’s that much smarter than me. Do you understand?”