I literally just wrote this thing today, 3 September, 2010, after discovering an ADORABLE photo taken of Jude Law by Annie Leibovitz. You should Google it. He's sitting on a dock with a little boat and a cute black lab doggie. :D I found that pic and was just INSPIRED. LOL So I really hope you enjoy this last little glimpse into the lives of our favorite pleasure-bot (turned human! :P).
In the weeks that followed, Joe evolved. His features continued to soften, he looked more and more human. Even his hair lightened a bit. His ability to learn and retain humanistic tendencies and ideas was so fast, I was amazed at how easy it all seemed. Joe still wasn't used to eating; he'd eat maybe a meal a day for that first week or so. Doctor visits were three times a week, in which the doctor told him he needed to eat a little more a day. We bought him all new clothes - clothes that no longer reflected the job he was initially created to do. He and Lydia became close and one morning, over the breakfast table, she asked him if she could call him Dad. He was so touched and caught off guard; he told her she could, if she truly wanted.
Joe had never really been afraid of the water, per se, but had definitely avoided it as a Mecha. Once he became human, he started working on killing that initial, knee-jerk reaction of, "Stay back!" It took him about three days before he was used to taking a shower. Some days were better than others.
There was a river out behind our apartment complex; the complex was very small, and the river was a great place for the residents to go relax. It had little boats and a couple docks, and we could take the boats out up and down the river. I thought the boats would be a perfect way to help Joe with his water issues, and even though I'd tried talking to him about it, he was still uneasy. So I gave him his space, knowing, in time, he'd be ready.
Summer left, and the leaves started to turn and fall. When October came, the air was still a little warm, but things had started to cool down a bit. I sat at the dinner table with Lydia one afternoon, helping her with her addition problems as Joe and Sallie fixed the hinges on the front door.
"Mommy, how much longer is Eddie going to be away?"
I looked down at my baby. "Forever, sweetie, you know that. He'll never be able to hurt us again." I hugged my girl to me.
"Yeah, I know," Lydia smiled. "I just like hearing it."
"Ha!" I laughed. "Me, too, baby. Me, too."
"Hey, girls!" Sallie burst into the kitchen. "You all educated now, Lydds? Your show on Animal Planet's about to start."
My daughter glanced up at me with a "Can I?" look in her eye.
"Go on," I smiled as I jerked my head towards my sister. "You're done for the night."
Lydia hugged me. "I love you, Mom."
"I love you, too, darling."
With that, she cleaned up her homework and bounded off excitedly to the living room with her aunt. "Hey," Sallie got my attention. "Joe needs ya."
"Oh? Where is he?"
"Eh," Sallie shrugged. "Around."
I did a double take and glanced up at my sister. "What do you mean, 'around?'" There was a huge grin on her face, and it made me laugh.
"You know. Around!" And she was out the door, still grinning, to go back to the living room.
"Ugh," I sighed, chuckling. "Okay, play hard to get, then." I got up, downing the rest of my glass of water.
"Outside," Sallie's voice floated out from the living room towards me.
"Thanks for the tip," I called back, grabbing my sweatshirt and taking the stairs down to the ground level. Once cleared, I left the staircase and headed out back, where I could hear the voices floating up from the river. My heart instinctively clenched in my chest, instantly dwelling on the possibility of Joe being down there, flipping out and falling in. I heard Daisy barking and knew that's where they were. Jesus, sometimes I really kicked myself for being so protective of everyone all the time.
There weren't many people down by the water when I got there; a small family of about five had the picnic space downstream. A bark from upstream got my attention as I was nearly knocked off my feet by Daisy. She panted and licked at my face as I laughed. "C'mon, girl, where's Joe?" I asked her and she raced upstream to the little dock in the marshes. The sun was beginning to set, and the colors made the grasslands almost ignite in the cool fall air. Daisy leapt into the little boat and Joe, sitting on the dock with his feet dangling over into the boat, smiled up at me. The fedora-esque hat I'd gotten him sat on the dock next to him, and I picked it up, sitting down with him and holding the hat in my lap. I linked my arm through his, and within moments, Joe's head was on my shoulder. We sat there for awhile as we watched the sun set everything on fire.
"So this means you're ready, then, huh?" I smiled eventually.
Joe leaned in and kissed my cheek. He slid into the boat and I handed him his hat. "Wendy," he smiled up at me, taking up the oars. "I've been ready since the day I met you."