A few years back, I conceived my very first cyborg son.
This is our first big fight, I think, as he picks at his bread with his claw. There are some kinks in my cyborg son’s personality—maybe it’s my fault, maybe these things are hardwired.
“You have to listen to me because I am the Father of Cyborgs.” I say this in a way that makes me sound noble.
“Well,” he bleep-bloops, “sometimes, I wish you weren’t.”
Then I say, “Maybe I wish I wasn’t either.” And my cyborg son rocket packs away.
“No,” I mutter. But he is already twenty feet high, at least.
My cyborg son has gone, disappeared, practically vanished. And while I have saved on my electricity bill during his absence, our house feels vacant.
When we aren’t fighting I like to ruffle my hands through the steel wool screwed to his head. But nowadays he yanks his square head away and says that he’s not a boy anymore. I don’t have the heart to tell him he never was.
When he finally comes back a few days later, we are cordial to one another and try not to get in each other’s way at all.
And at dinner when he says, “pass the salt, dad,” I know that the sodium will rust his steel joints, but I pass the salt anyway and say, “I love you son.”
After things get back to normal I ask him to fly me to work but he says, “No.” Instead he goes back to rounding out the steel wool whiskers on his chin with my shearing saw. I never even taught him how to do that.
He used to fly me places all the time. Except, before, whenever he’d say, “No,” I’d stand just outside his bedroom window, raise my arms up and clench my fists till my face turned red. He would eventually laugh and come out and fly me to work and we’d sing “Mr. Roboto” all the way.
This time though, he ignores me. I’m out there for over an hour turning bright red waiting for him to notice. I bang on his window and begin to shout, but he just turns the shearing saw up to level three so I slam the car door and leave. I’ve lost—but maybe this was never about winners and losers. And I as I sit in my van I start to remember that I might not be a real Father of Cyborgs, but I am a real dad.