By Relme Divingu
Somewhere in Africa, in 2115.
Twenty-five-year-old Ngentsa looked at her parents straight in eyes and said:
― I am in love with Nidji!
― Nidjiiiiiii? Are you sure? Her mother, Oula, asked.
― But… He is a robot! Exclaimed her father, Amasingue. Ngentsa, have you gone crazy? Oula, you see? You see? I told you to watch your daughter. Now, note for yourself; she’s in love with a robot!
Her mother began screaming and clapping her hands. Soon, she added frantic bouncing and shaking.
― Have we not been able to teach her the right way? God, please, come and help us! Oula shouted.
― I love him, papa. Ngentsa whispered. I love him, this is all I know.
― Ngentsa, Amasingue said. What people call love is a question of life and death, not a game. There are so many handsome, smart and kind human men in this country and you did not find one to become your husband, only this Nidji? You cannot even have kids. Think of what the entire family will say about your mother and me when they will hear about that…
― Is Nidji different from all these other men, papa?
― He is… He is–You know what I mean!
Her father lowered his face and stared guiltily at the handmade Tunisian carpet.
― A machine! This is what you think, isn’t it? Oh God, my father is a machinist! Is that how you see me also?
When she was a young girl Ngentsa lost control of her flying bicycle, hit a tree and fell headfirst to the ground from a height of six feet. Her parents were wealthy; they could afford to pay for cybernetic organ replacements, and Ngentsa survived. She now had an artificial eye, liver and right leg.
Her father looked at her with loving eyes.
― You know that it’s not the same thing. He is totally artificial, he has no soul…
― Dad! Please, stop! I don’t want to listen to any more.
Ngentsa left the house angrily. She needed some fresh air. She thought that her parents would understand. Her father was an intellectual, the scientist who had found the vaccine for the Hepatitis L Virus (HLV) which had affected a large part of the worldwide population, while her mother was a university professor of literature. But they reacted in totally the opposite way.
What was wrong with her choice? Ngentsa wondered. Suddenly her inner phone device tickled her ear. It was a call from Nidji.
― Hullo! She said faking a happy voice.
― Hi, my sweet! How are you? Nidji asked.
― I am fine, thanks. She feigned a little laugh, but actually tears were flowing silently down her cheeks.
― Have you told your parents about us?
― Not yet.
― I am so excited. Your parents are so understanding.
― Nidji, don’t be so enthusiastic, my parents are not perfect.
Her tears stained her blue shirt.
― Ok, I don’t have much phone credit. I will call you back. I love you.
― I love you too.
Ngentsa looked at the moon. It was shining brilliantly, full of peace like an angel. Only its soft light could soothe her pain now.