I hate being an experiment. They could have at least equipped me with the capacity for the classes I have to take. American History is ridiculous and repetitive. It puts me to sleep and I don’t even need to. At least I have more of a life than Jane Eyre – her story makes me want to bang my head against a cement wall, or do I mean cry? But my so-called “parents” said I needed to be able to learn like the rest of the adolescents.
I can’t believe no one knows I’m an android. My parents acted so nervous around the principle when they brought me in. Mrs. Calloughy should have seen right through their shallow explanation. “We’re from Ohio.” Pah-lease!
The boys were nice to me at first. But my “mom” said it’s because of my shape. She also said that might be the reason girls aren’t nice to me. So my mom gave me some glasses to wear, not that my perfect orbs need help. Now everyone avoids me.
Today my objective is to make a friend. My parents want me to implement my conversation programming. They sit at home and observe through my eyes and take notes. I have no privacy. They could have left out the need for it when they gave me all the other teen insecurities and emotions. How can I act like a normal teenager when I know I’m being watched?
The subject I have chosen is a lonely girl named Shayna. She is in my math class. She has glasses, like me, and is very intelligent. My parents said I should ask her to help me. They may not have given me the knowledge, but my ability to learn and predict let me surpass Algebra 2 a week ago. Now sitting through the class is tortuous.
Shayna is dark-complected, petite and keeps to herself. I am pale with black hair and green eyes. I must approach with caution so I don’t scare her away. My backup options would be to join a sport, which I would dominate and possibly expose my origin, or try to join a popular click. For some reason, that image is unattractive to me.
School is over. I see Shayna walking home. I get closer and call to her with a slight wave. I must be shy.
She turns to me with a puzzled expression. “Yes?”
“Hi, Shayna. I’m Teena. I’m in your math class.”
Now she looks more confused. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry to bother you. I’m having trouble with today’s lesson. And I was wondering if you had some time to help me.” What a lie. I didn’t know I was programmed to lie. Duly noted.
“Isn't your grade higher than mine?”
How did she know that? Does everyone know that? Well, now that I can lie, I can probably do bad on the tests.
I think of a way to solve this dilemma. I smile like I’m embarrassed. “I didn’t know that. My parents are so hard on me to be the best. And this new section is difficult.” I hope she can relate on some level.
She looks relieved. “My parents are the same way. They are all over me if I bring home a B.”
I am relieved too. We make plans to go study.
As we become friends, I learn about gossip and cheating and how boys only want one thing. She teaches me some slang and we tell each other secrets. I have become better at making things up. To avoid having males be a variable in my already over complicated experiment, I tell her I have a boyfriend back in Ohio named Steve. She tells me she has a crush on Michael.
Now that we are closer, I feel a need to help and protect Shayna. And she reciprocates. Some girls were teasing me in the locker room during gym class because I can’t shower, due to my “skin condition,” and Shayna rigged baby powder to fall on them. I have decided to make Michael my next objective for Shayna.
Michael is in my science class and Shayna is not. For the next lab, names are drawn at random to choose partners. I am picked third and opt for Michael, who is immediately disappointed. Good.
During our experiment, which I could do in my charging stasis, I mention Shayna.
“Do you know my friend, Shayna? She is so smart. I bet she will be valedictorian next year.”
This information is ignored. He pretends to concentrate on the lab sheet. So he doesn’t care for intelligence. I must get him to talk first. Boys like to talk about sports. I recall Shayna saying Michael is on the baseball team. I try again.
“How did you do at your last game?”
He looks up and considers me. “Good.”
Progress. “What was the score?”
“We lost. 8 to 6.” He looks down again.
I must boost his ego. “Oh, that’s too bad. What position do you play? I’m sure you did well.”
He looks up and smiles. “Yeah. I’m catcher. I hit my second homerun of the season. Three ribbies.”
I have no idea what “ribbies” are. “What are ribbies?”
He goes on to explain they are RBIs, or runs batted in. Apparently I need more information about sports. Our conversation continues as I work through the experiment in the background. He enjoys talking about himself and I have trouble bringing Shayna back into the conversation. I don’t get to say much at all.
Now I have a problem. Michael has asked me out. How did that happen? My mission has gone wrong. Shayna will be crushed if I tell her. I’m sure I could fix things if I went out with him and explained the situation. My parents are ecstatic that I have a date. They are curious about how my programming would handle physical contact.
I don’t know how much more my circuits can take. Being a teenager is horrible!