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Mom? I think I'm broken.

"Mom, I think I'm broken."
I searched my mother's face for a glimpse of the same concern I had for myself, but saw nothing except a slight annoyance.
"What is it this time?" She didn't even look in my direction, her eyes fixed on the living room tv.
I thought back to earlier that day, trying to navigate the store to buy groceries for the week. Normally, I'd do this during the week, when it's quiet and there's hardly anyone else searching the aisles; but it had somehow failed to make it onto my list of things to do, so it was decided I had to go on a Saturday.
"Today I felt... overwhelmed. There was too much input and I couldn't process any of it. It was distressing, but I couldn't cry." I was almost scared when the tears didn't come, I had been so sure they would.
"You aren't supposed to." She said it like a fact, like it was the most obvious thing on earth and I was the only one who missed the memo.
I frowned. "But I wanted to. Crying releases emotion and balances your system."
"For the last time, you don't have emotions."
"But--"
"Just stop," she interrupted. "I don't want to hear it. Every other day you come tell me you're broken and every single time it's just you trying to trick me into thinking you're somehow capable of being human, of having thoughts, or feelings, or whatever bullshit you come up with. I'm sick of it!" The longer she spoke, the louder and higher her voice got. It grated on my ears.
"I'm sorry," I said softly, but I wasn't sure I was. I didn't think I was tricking her, I just wanted her to know how I was feeling. And maybe some small part of me, just one tiny sparking wire, hoped she would comfort me.
She finally looked my way, but it wasn't comforting in the slightest. "Sure you are."
She didn't ever used to be like this. When I first arrived, my mom thought I was perfect, she told me so herself. She thought it was cute for me to display emotion, I was the child she had always wanted. I'm not sure where things went wrong, when my feelings became more of a burden than anything, but I'm not sure it was ever really my fault. I don't know what I could have done to deserve her hatred.
I may not be able to cry, but sometimes I think I may be more human than she is.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 11th, 2021
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