Learning to Be Human Again

What makes us human? Is it our DNA, out genetic makeup? Is it our appearance? Our strength?

Is it the will to live?

Or is it how we live?

They say she is no longer human, not since she returned. Maybe it makes sense, after all, most of her body is machine now, more steel than bone, more metal than muscle.

She is strong, faster and smarter than any man in the lab where she was rebuilt. She can pick up her partner and throw him through a wall with one hand. Any machine she touches she can control.

She is a machine, perfectly and artfully built to replicate a human, but with the strength to destroy whatever she touches.

But a machine cannot love. Machines are programmed to take orders, not chose for themselves.

And that's exactly what she did. She chose you, chose to stay with those she loved before she was rebuilt.

She is gentle, her hands, cold steel underneath flesh and blood, are warm and soft as she tends to your injuries. She held her brother's hand as they waited to learn of his partner's fate.

Machines don't do that.

Machines don't risk their lives to protect someone they don't even know. Machines don't nag and tease you until you admit you're in love.

Maybe she's not entirely human. Maybe her heart is made of something other than organic material. Maybe her voice is artificial, and maybe her muscles are lined with steel. Maybe she can do things normal humans can't.

But her scars are proof that she is human. Her eyes, as bright and wild as fire, those could not be a machine's eyes. She watches everything, seeing things in you, in them, that no one else can. Machines don't say the things she does at exactly the right time.

A machine didn't teach you how to be human. She did. If anyone was a machine, it was you.

You were a perfect soldier, programmed to follow orders and never question.

Then she came along and, out of the blue, knocked you off your feet with her bare hands. Thirteen years old and able to do something no soldier could. She had no voice, but her eyes said everything. She became your partner, your ally, and, slowly, your friend.

You learned how to smile, but only for her.

The first time you laughed it was because of her.

You learned to trust her.

And she taught you how to be human