I started Queer as Folk and I’m not sure how that’s going to factor into that.
There is a lull after Christmas. The family says it is because no one does anything until the New Year celebration. I search for the holiday and I find video results of parties in large cities, fireworks, verbal countdowns, and kissing as the clock reads midnight. No one redecorates the house and more food is purchased for the night of the festivities. They tell me that there will be a party and I am going to meet friends and family of the Davises. I am nervous but I am told not be.
Oliver and Graham are still out of school, but they’re constantly doing schoolwork. Graham says that he has an analysis of class portrayed on television due the day that he returns to school and Oliver has a presentation about Frankenstein; Graham had already presented to their class. They do their work and leave me in the living room with Matthew and Annie. Things are silent until they start a conversation.
“Aaron, how are you liking it here?” Matthew asks. He closes his book and turns off the television.
“I’m quite thankful for this home that you’ve provided for me here.”
Annie asks me a question now. “And the boys, are they treating you well?”
“They are both fine. Oliver seems to still be excited around me.”
“And how is living with Graham?” Matthew asks.
“Graham is wonderful. He makes me feel very at home.”
Matthew and Annie trade look, but they smile warmly. They both stand and announce that they are going to go shopping, but they leave me as well.
Days later, the home feels like Christmas Day again but there are more people. Graham and Oliver pull me from person to person so everyone can meet and examine me. I meet Matthew’s mother, father, two brother, two sisters-in-law, and his six nieces and nephews. I meet Annie’s mother, her three sisters, her two brothers-in-law, and sister-in-law, and her four nieces and nephews. I remember all of their names. Surprisingly enough, I am the only android that any of them have met; the children, younger than and as old as Graham, find me to be fascinating.
Matthew projects a television broadcast on the wall where musicians perform and celebrities talk about what the year before had brought them. Everyone in the room socializes and I stand by the wall and I watch as people eat and laugh and talk. Graham watches me from the other side of the room with his cousins where they’re playing some form of game on a tablet computer. He stands and trudges through his familial crowd to stand by me.
“I used to be really uncomfortable at these things before I really felt like I was part of the family. Even with your circuits, you’ll get used to it. I’d offer you a cookie or some shit like that, but you don’t really eat.” He runs a hand through his hair and laughs casually.
“I’m glad you feel better about things, Graham.”
“You will, too. Everyone will come to love you. I can’t say that I have,” he laughs.
He laughs again. “It was a joke, dummy.”
“Is that also a joke? I am very smart, Graham.”
Graham sighs. “I’m gonna go get a drink, and when I come back, I want you to loosen up and just try to sound normal.”
He disappears into the crowd again and I wait for him. Oliver pulls free of his family and he asks me how my night is and he hugs me tight to his body. Like Graham before him, he disappears into the clump of his family. No one else comes to see me until Graham returns with a plastic cup filled with a red liquid.
“So, Aaron, did I miss anything?”
“We were in the same room, Graham. If you missed something, I would have too. Oliver was here a moment ago.”
He drinks the liquid at once and tries to laugh. “You really didn’t get that normal note, did you?” His eyes trail off toward the broadcast on the wall. “We’re getting close to midnight. I can’t believe they’ve been doing this ball drop thing for so many years.”
I search for it. “The first ball was used in December of 1907 but the first ceremony was in 1904.”
“You are such a nerd.”
“I am only a nerd because I have the internet as part of my capabilities.”
\He grabs the arm of my shirt and pulls me closer to him and the family and they begin to chant the seconds, just like I had seen earlier. They finally make it from sixty to zero and the married adults kiss each other on the mouths and parents kiss their children on their heads and their cheeks. Graham looks to me for what seems like approval before he lightly touches my cheek with his lips and he whispers, “Happy New Year, Aaron.” He steps away and he smiles at me with happy eyes. He says good night to his extended family members and climbs the stairs. I do not follow but I stay close to the wall until the house clears out. I enter our room and Graham is asleep, snoring even. I think about my days with the Davises and I am happy.