“I have never performed that function,” the glassy-eyed mannequin explained, “Though I believe it does exist among my parameters. If I may ask, what is its purpose?”
He reached up and ran his left hand across his eyes. The glistening hint of tears was wiped away in one smooth motion. Although there still was the lingering pang of regret, guilt and loneliness that swirled somewhere between his heart and his labored breathing, Harper decided removing the more visible hint of sadness was the best he could do for now.
“Some say it helps one feel better,” Harper mumbled to the inquisitive automaton as he made his way towards it from the bed. On its slender pipe-like arms was a white cotton bathrobe, warmed to just slightly above room temperature. Harper always liked the warmth of soft touches. “Others say it helps one feel like they’ve released pent up emotions. Or at least allowed themselves a moment to acknowledge their own weakness.”
“I fail to comprehend,” the mannequin bleeped as it escorted its master to the restroom. Activating concealed switches with a wave of its antenna, the bath slowly began to fill with water heated to just the right temperature. The window blinds slid partly open to permit the warm morning dawn to stream in. A soft hint of menthol slipped into the air as the aroma therapy option was activated.
“Just look at it this way,” Harper offered a smile to this automaton as he slid into the tub and simply let the robe fall to the ground. Soap suds danced away from his skin as his hands darted beneath the water to rub the soothing waves against his chest. “It didn’t work. I still feel like shit.”
The mannequin merely stared unblinking, picked up the fallen robe, then skittered towards the door.
“Perhaps then master,” it suggested, “I should prepare the toilet for you.”