Cynthia's mother passed away six years ago today, which made this especially difficult. "Maybe I should put this off until tomorrow," she thought. She really wasn't looking forward to this conversation. The more she thought about it, the more she wished she had just left the device off, but on some level, she knew she couldn't leave the words unsaid.
On the front of the device, the amber light had grown steadily brighter. In moments, it would turn green, and Cynthia's mother would start of the conversation the same way she did each time. Her mom couldn't help it, after all - she was really just a recording.
The light switched. "Hello?" her mom's voice projected from the speakers on either side of the box. "Is anyone there?"
"Yeah, mom. It's me," Cynthia sighed.
"Why can't I see you?" her mom sounded peeved.
"The camera's busted, mom. I told you that last time."
"I thought you were going to get it fixed, Cindy. I want to be able to look at you."
Cynthia glanced at the thick black scarf that was draped over the device's lens. Guilt almost made her pull the scarf away, but her hands stayed firmly in her lap, clutching a bottle of scotch which hung between her thighs.
"I can't afford to fix it yet, mom. Maybe when school is done." Cynthia had quit school shortly after her mother passed away, and never bothered to go back. Working as a bartender wasn't something her mother would be proud of, but it paid the bills
and let her sleep in every morning.
"How are your classes, sweetie? Filled with smart boys? Any of them notice you yet?"
And there it was, the moment of truth. Cynthia gripped the bottle tightly, and said "Mom, there's something I need to tell you. I... I'm not going to find any boys. I'm a lesbian." Cynthia couldn't imagine the expressions her mother would have worn, had she been alive. She almost wished she could see her mom's face now, to be able to gauge her reaction. The speaker fell silent for a time.
"I thought I raised you better than that," her mother finally responded. "You know that lesbians can't get in to Heaven."
In for a penny, in for a pound, Cynthia thought. "Yeah, well, I don't believe in heaven, either, so I'm not that worried."
The speaker was silent for much longer this time. The seconds dragged by until Cynthia couldn't take it any more. "Mom? Say something."
"Quiet, Cindy. I'm praying for you. Don't interrupt."
Cynthia lifted the bottle to her lips, and took a swallow. "Yeah, okay, mom. Whatever."
"Don't take that tone with me, young lady. I'll still need to finish three more 'Hail Mary's."
Cynthia put the bottle down, and picked up the package she'd been saving for. When the packaging noticed her, testimonials started scrolling over it's surface again:
'iMom helped me though the roughest times in my marriage. I just celebrated my 25th anniversary, thanks to her!' - Glenn, Texas
'She's supportive, but she calls me on my BS, too! She knows me better than I know myself.' - Andrea, California
'iMom is always there when you need her.' - Jason, Arizona
She glanced at the system requirements again, just to be sure. The unit, currently holding the recording of her mother's brain mapping, just barely met the requirements.
Cynthia's mother had started reciting 'Our Father's aloud. Cynthia interrupted her mom. "Mom, I'm going to shut you off now. Time to say goodbye."
Cynthia's mom concluded one final prayer, and paused. "Cindy, hon. You know I only do this because I love you, and I want you to be with me next to Jesus."
"Yeah, I know. I love you, too, mom," Cynthia lied, and powered off the machine.