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Love you, Always

They refused to delete Amy's account.
It was not their policy to allow family members to delete accounts.
"But she's dead," John told them. He even produced a copy of her death certificate.
Still, it was not their policy. Accounts were only deleted if the user was violating their user agreement or committing a crime with the account.
Neither was true here. Amy was simply dead.
But her account was not. It was still updating. Weekly, sometimes daily, John would get an update from his dead wife. A brief message about where she was, what she was doing and a cute little pop-up with Amy's face smiling, winking, laughing, frowning, pouting... living.
They wouldn't even stop the updates. Those clever little algorithms that Amy worked for hours on when she first started her account. They learned her likes, dislikes, her voice, her speech patterns, her personality. They learned her. So then afterward all Amy had to do was do a little tweaking and change her schedule, and the updates would happen automatically.
Except she wasn't there anymore. But the algorithms didn't know that. Or care.
"At least let me change the updates," John pleaded.
"I'm sorry, we can't allow another user to access the account without written consent from the account holder," the girl told him.
"But she's not doing those things anymore. They're lies."
"Lying, per se, does not violate our user agreement. If Amy had programmed the updates then obviously her intention that they would appear as they did," the girl said. "Do you have any evidence that Amy wanted her account deleted or changed when she died? Did she write it into her will, for example?"
"She was only thirty-three, she didn't even have a will."
"Then our policies are clear, we cannot delete or change the account. If it helps, you can disconnect from her account, that way you can't read the updates anymore."
"Fuck you."
John finally disconnected from Amy's account.
The update that did it: Ten year wedding anniversary coming up! And now that we've worked out all the kinks, I know the next ten will be even better! Followed by a picture of Amy blowing a kiss.
His heart broke all over again.
The first message came less than twenty-four hours later.
Why did you disconnect from Amy? Are you guys fighting?
John deleted the message.
When John woke up the next morning his message-box was full.
Did you cheat on Amy?
Are you guys getting a divorce?
What happened?
John deleted them all, but by the time he came back from work his message-box was full again.
He locked his message-box.
Amy's account continued to update. Readers continued to wonder why John disconnected from her.
John was getting new readers to his account everyday. He didn't let them comment in his message-box, but he knew why they were there.
By the end of the week John had over a thousand readers.
Finally, John broke his silence.
He updated that Amy had passed away eight months ago. It had been very difficult for him and he would appreciate it if the people would just leave him alone.
He had over ten thousand readers.
John thought it would be safe to reopen his message-box.
Sorry for your loss.
RIP Amy.
Why didn't you tell us earlier???
You mean I've been talking to a dead chick for six months? Gross!
Why's Amy still updating?
I think you're a lying bastard. Amy's still alive.
Did you kill Amy? Where did you hide the body?
John reconnected to Amy's account.
She had over a hundred thousand readers.
Amy had continued to update. Apparently, they just returned from a lovely trip to Europe.
The plane tickets were still in the desk drawer. It was supposed to be a surprise, but John was not very good at keeping secrets.
John scrolled up on Amy's account and read about their vacation.
They had so much fun. John loved the new camera that Amy bought him. He had wanted it for months, but they couldn't afford it. Still couldn't afford it, really, but it was their tenth anniversary, so what the hell.
John had found the camera a month after Amy died.
But the anniversary never came. And neither would the next.
John wiped the tears from his eyes and read on.
Amy couldn't stand using the public bathrooms. John laughed at her when she made them run back to the hotel every time she had to pee. They never ventured farther than a running distance from their hotel (or at least a toilet Amy deemed acceptable).
The food was great, and Amy thought she must have gained at least ten pounds. It was back to the gym after vacation!
John gained at least twenty pounds but he was too lazy to care.
Finally, after two weeks and four cities of marital bliss they returned home.
The algorithms Amy programmed were learning and updating. They were also reading John's account. Amy commented on John's problems at work, then congratulated him on the promotion he thought he would never get. And when he went hiking or swimming or even bowling, Amy was right there with him: she liked hiking, though she didn't like the T-shirt tan she got afterward; she didn't know how to swim, thus nearly drowning, but John saved her, her hero; and she thought bowling was boring.
John began to enjoy doing things and then reading about how he had done them with his wife.
Then John just started writing about doing things. They went to the ocean, the mountains, the desert, the rain forest, the moon. Amy loved it, liked it, hated it, was sick for a week after eating a bad banana, and got lost, nearly missing the last spaceship back home.
Wait, is she alive again? On the moon?
Zombie on the moon! HAHAhaha!!!
You're a sick asshole.
LOL! Are you guys going to Neverland next?
This is fucking messed up. Go see a doctor.
RIP Amy and John.
The last update was simple: Love you, John. Always.
John read it again. He scrolled back to the beginning and read the entire account. Read it again.
Did the algorithms make a mistake?
Amy hated the word love. Cliché and old-fashion, like something her grandparents would say.
Instead Amy adored things, she was fond of things, she longed for things.
But she never loved.
Until now.
John waited desperately for Amy's next update.
A week, a month. Two months.
A year passed. Amy's account didn't update.
John traveled, learned to cook, got a dog, did all the repairs around the house, got in a car accident, broke his leg, asked, pleaded, begged, screamed, cried, despaired, laughed, had an affair, leaped from a bridge, burned down the house, bought a gun and shot himself in the head six times.
Amy did not respond.
They had over a million readers and hundreds of thousands of messages.
RIP Amy. We miss you.
John, are you feeling okay? I'm worried about you.
I know you're not really gone, Amy. Waiting for your next update.
Amy, you can come stay with me, I won't tell John. ;)
Fuck you both. I hope you're both rotting in hell.
The bills on the floor were piling up, the phone buzzing constantly. Someone was pounding on the door again.
John ignored them all.
John waited.
Waited for Amy to tell him how much she hated bowling.
Waited for her to tell him he was a lousy repairman.
Waited for her to confront him about the affair.
Waited for her to ask how his broken leg was healing.
Waited for her to tell him where they were going for their next anniversary.
But all she said was: Love you, John. Always.
The End
This story was first published on Friday, May 1st, 2015
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