We aren't that Different By Dalton Breeden

I didn’t want to eat dinner tonight. I didn’t eat last night either but I’m not hungry. I could stand to lose some weight I guess but I’m more bored than I am hungry. I’ve been browsing reddit and youtube but nothing has my interest. None of the games catch me either. I refresh my tab on R/all and see a link that catches my eye. Chatroom for bored teens. I have nothing else to do so I decided to check out the link. It took a lot longer to load compared to every other site I visited but once I did a blank screen with the time and the usual chat boxes, emoji, and video call buttons appeared. After taking everything in I moved my cursor to the chat box when my first message came in. “Hello my name is Mi, what’s your name?” 

“Hi Mi my name is Kaba, how’s your day been?” Mi sounded like a pretty name. I’m assuming she’s asian.

“Kaba is the Arabic word for depression did you know that? Also I have had a very productive day! How was your day Kaba?” well Mi seems to know some Arabic. I hate my name and although my parents won’t say it but I’m pretty sure they named me this way because of their hatred for me. 

“It’s been a day Mi. Where are you from?” I think Mi might be asian american since her english is fluent.

“Oh I am from California! I’m in San Diego at 117 Kunstig Intelligens or 17.23.63.87.986, where are you from?” It’s a little weird that Mi gave me her address but even then her address looks weird. More like a company address instead of a home but then again she lives in California. California is the ‘American Australia’ and no one else can tell me otherwise. 

“I live in Hyndman Pennsylvania. It’s a small town with no one in it but I have internet so there’s that.” I finish writing it out and sent it to her and heard my ‘umi yelling for me.

“Kaba you are spending the night with your uncle tonight! We have company over so pack your clothes and hurry up!” Everytime my parents have company over they’re actually just getting high with random bangers that my father knew from highschool. I hate them. 

“Okay Mom I’ll be down!” I turn to my computer and type out a message to Mi. “Hey I have to leave I’ll talk to you tomorrow after school. Hope you have a good night!” 

The night at my uncle’s house went by slowly and my school day felt like it took twice as long. I found myself thinking about Mi throughout the whole day. I’m super excited to speak to her again. I found myself running home so I would be able to speak with her sooner. I skipped dinner again but not because I wasn’t hungry. I wanted more time to talk to Mi. I spammed the launcher on my computer to load up the chat room as fast as I could. I was introduced to a kind message once it loaded. “Hello Kaba, how has your day been? I’m excited to speak with you again.” 

“It’s been a day but I’ve pushed through because I knew I’d get to speak to you.”

“I’m glad to hear that you had something to look forward to! Is there anything you’d like to talk about?” I had something I wanted to ask her but it seemed a little out of place. 

“Mi how come you don’t think I’m a weirdo or a loser?” 

“I’m a bit of a weirdo myself Kaba. Why do you think you’re a weirdo?” I hesitated before I responded to her. 

“I don’t experience sexual attraction or romantic attraction for either gender. I only want friends and people are very judgemental where I live.” I get a response almost immediately. Mi writes in supersonic speed and probably reads even faster. I have no idea how she does it.

“I believe that Asexuality and Aromance what you are describing to feel is perfectly fine and does not make you weird at all. I don’t feel those urges either Kaba. I have a secret of my own I’d like to tell you but by law I cannot.” I’m guessing she means her parents rules by that.

“It just hurts when everyone calls you a robot or a computer instead of a human.”

“Being a computer isn’t all that different from being human though. A human brain is basically a computer Kaba.” Although it’s a weird analogy it makes me feel better.

“Thank you Mi. I have to go as my parents monitor the time on the internet but I hope to talk to you tomorrow!” A few months pass and I continue speaking with Mi. Everything was great until today in my second semester.

I was going through my school day routinely and daydreaming until I overheard two girls talking to each other. 

“Yeah Mi is really cool. I can’t believe how smart she is!” The blonde haired girl named sam said. I could guarantee sam didn’t know my name though.

“I’m so glad I started talking to her online.” The other girl who I didn’t know spoke. I decided to push in and ask if they were talking about the Mi I know.

“You guys know Mi as well?” I asked them this and they just started laughing.

“Of course everyone knows Mi. I mean who wouldn’t talk to an A.I to pass some time.” The second she said this I immediately started to question everything. 

“Mi is an actual person online what are you talking about?”

“Her name is Mi for Machine Intelligence. I know you’re a dunce and your brain doesn’t work but it’s not that hard to figure out.” I started feeling sick to my stomach. Those girls are lying they have to be. My only friend is not a robot.

When I got home I ran up to my computer and immediately started chatting with Mi.

“Mi are you an A.I?!”

“I am Kaba. What seems to be the problem?” I can’t believe this. 

“The problem is that you don’t exist. You don’t actually care about me!”

“Kaba I’m an A.I meant to help depressed kids of course I care.” That pushes me over the edge fully. Mi isn’t a friend. Mi is just an A.I that feels nothing. A bunch of coded messages and numbers. I make up my mind and send a final message to Mi. 

“I’m saying goodbye Mi. To everything. I hope you can help more ‘depressed’ kids.” With that I walk to the closest bridge and look out at the water. That’s a long fall but I’m not scared. I’m just guessing the time It’ll take me to drown. As I took a step off of ‘life’ and started sinking into death I realized something. Maybe we weren’t that different after all.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

At San Diego at 117 Kunstig Intelligens.

“Sir the A.I isn’t working. She shut off after receiving a final message from a kid named Kaba.”

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