When We Put Away Childish Things
Dearest Winter

I miss you. What you were, anyway. I'm not sure that I can miss you as you are now, considering I hear how changed you are. Can any man miss his lover, in any real sense, when he or she has moved on to greater things as a transapient? Do you still consider yourself the vibrant, glorious creature I loved for seven years, Winter Ishq Rashad? Or are you someone else now?

There is an age-old question, older even, than the ancient, interstellar empires of mankind, of whether one should modify oneself in order to become a better person- to cast away those little weaknesses and daily stupidities that make us human beings and think forever in the computational substrate, uploaded forever after. My question, the one we had debated, then argued, and then fought about, in previous months had always been, "how much modification?" You have answered that question for yourself- that there is no limit. And I have answered in my own way- that there is.

As you know, the problems began when you had the first implants and I mine, and our eyes were opened further. You embraced this, and continued with a second implant, and a third. I did not. That hunger for novelty, for betterment, and to see the greater wholes of the world had been what first drew me to you, when we debated for hours in the gardens about the philosophical policies of the Corinthian machines. You could tear my arguments to shreds, then reconstruct them for me, tenderly. Teaching me. Always, you made me a better man. Even now sometimes, I wish I could believe in their ideas.

Your intelligence was intimidating-something I have never admitted to you- but only at first. For then it became intoxicating. Challenging. You know that well. But the weeks when you became withdrawn- the weeks when you began focusing on greater things far more than usual, when you became obsessed- that's when we waned, and fall began.

It begins when your partner pulls away- and our conversations, like dead leaves, fall to the ground. When you re-organized your priorities, finally understanding grim truths and greater goods too subtle and nuanced for the rest of us to know; that is when we failed, and the cold came. Was it too selfish for me to continue loving you, when you had told me so often to see the world with more generosity? For a while, when I waited for you to come back from the uploading facility, I wondered whether you were selfish for ignoring your friends, and for ignoring me. Then I remember what you told me about humility, and learning to accept loving the entire world. I still disagree. I'm sure that within another week, you will be capable of understanding me utterly, down to my very atoms. My question is- will you care? For once we saw each other as reflections as in a mirror; then we saw face to face. Now I know only in part, even as I am completely known.

They say some transapients, the agape, can feel even deeper, more powerfully when they ascend- for their empathy is now comprehensible to them on the scale of entire habitats, and they can see into the hearts of all creatures, and know them. I had hoped that you might be one of these. It seems you are not. Or crueler still, you have learned to love everybody equally, leaving me without a rock to hold. When you left me at the door of the fifth procedure, seven weeks ago, and received my kiss with waning fondness- I stood there and watched the opening close behind you. Did you leave your old self behind? Edit it away? Or, like a young girl outgrowing her building toys, did you discard the people who loved you, and put away childish things?

The man who loved you,

Amatis Bhakta


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