You can really learn a lot from the Internet. It was a lot simpler than I anticipated – the skin, making the face expressive, was the hardest part. I couldn’t resist adding half a cup size, although I did precisely recreate my crooked ear. After a week of tests I was satisfied the thing would run smoothly. Would handle the customer service calls according to protocol. Would never misfile records on purpose. Would handle loans with equanimity and speed, reducing human stories to series of numbers contained within beige folders, filed with a thousand folders just the same. I was sure it would notice the oppressive wall of grey and white winter unaffected. Would cook supper, eat one full helping of my husband’s favourite dishes, never obsess over getting fat. Already, I noticed, the thing always remembered to shower, trim its nails, apply antibiotic to minor wounds. It didn’t seem lonely; it never cried. It did the laundry as soon as the hamper filled. The thing was perfect. I put on my oldest black tshirt and my heaviest shoes. I cut off my long hair and hid it at the bottom of the trashcan. I took six boxes of books and two notebooks and all the pens I could find. I took my keys off the hook while he was at school. I’m driving south now. Even though it’s March and freezing I have the windows down, wondering if I miss the feeling of my long hair blowing across my face. I’m probing at the edges of the strange feeling in my chest, worrying it like a new filling. I’m driving lightweight, not sure if I feel free or empty, waiting. I want another hole in my ear. I wonder if he minds that I’m gone. I eat too little, drink gallons of black coffee and diet soda. I’ve never been west, never seen the desert. I wonder if it’s happy. I’ve never seen the west coast.