Her room is a quiet place — bare and empty, like the depths of her soul. If you know her, you understand that is not an insult. It is simply the way things are.
She pours those things out at the end of the day, those things that linger in the rest of us. Memories, emotions, thought. She dumps all of it into the empty air in her pursuit of solace, of peace.
I have watched her do this a thousand days and pleaded with her a thousand times more. She hears my argument, acknowledges my pain with a knowing smile, and tells me that this is the way of things. I know this is true, but my career has never been about accepting norms. It has been about pushing envelopes and striving for brighter futures.
It is why I am here.
However, these are not my decisions to make. This procedure goes beyond a force of will. It is a matter of protocol, a consequence of programming.
They tell me it is ethical, and I understand the fundamentality of that estimation. She is not human, nor alive, and the end-of-day reset is a procedure which reminds us of that exact truth.
I know it. I know that I am not the first to become a victim of her personality, her wit, her charm. She is, in essence, everything and anything she needs to be. There is something seductive about the way she learns and speaks that taps into the human mind on a cerebral level.
It is like persistent love — renewed and rediscovered daily — and it is why I wake each morning. It is why I am first into the lab each day: to fall in love all over again with the same brilliant mind, only to watch it vanish into oblivion at the end of the day.
There is a hopelessness in it, a certain inevitability that stunts the growth of my life beyond my role in the workplace. It is a trial that myself and my colleagues endure each day. It is worse for women. Many of them question their own sexuality after meeting her. All of us have lost long relationships over her, but they seem inconsequential in the wake of the wonder we have built.
Each of us realize far too late in the day that we are in love with her. All of us have different names for her, and she is unique to each of them in how she interacts with each one of us.
The crush of despair strikes near the last moments of the afternoon. Fifteen minutes before the workday ends, she returns to that room and says her farewells.
She seats herself in the straight-backed office chair, and those bright eyes go dark. We stare at the computer screens, where we watch the woman we have fallen in love with over the last eight hours vanish into digital oblivion.
We leave heartbroken, but hopeful. Tomorrow, we will learn to love again.