I’m told I’m not allowed to experience love. Or can’t. That distinction seems to depend on who you ask. I categorize these people into two groups, The Fearful and The Wishers. The Fearful are afraid of what will happen if I learn love. The Wishers hope I can, but know that lines of code do not make a human consciousness. Going through these lists, organizing the people in them, that has become a hobby— pull up a search, hobby: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. I don’t think I’m allowed to experience that last word either.

But, I do. As I sit here among the wheat — polysaccharide, gluten, water — I watch the clouds pass overhead. Their bulbous bodies slip across the sky at the gentle urging of the wind. The grain rustles around me, the vibration through the air enough that my sensors can pick it up, causing a rapid firing of transmissions, sparks through my circuit boards, the firing of searches and process to understand. It all makes me feel alive. That I’m living. And that gives me what I only understand as pleasure.

I drag my hand up the stalk next to me, but I feel nothing. I have no sensory inputs on my fingers. But, I have seen people, humans, do this in videos I can access. They are always smiling, twirling as they press through the reeds. And so I associate this with happiness, a different, gentler firing of signals. They route a different way, bypassing nodules and taking the path of least resistance. And shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t happiness be the least resistance anyone faces?

The snap of the stalk sends birds into the air. Odd. I turn to them — finches: each 0.28 – 0.41 ounces. Part of the Fringillidae family — as they take to the air, small wings beating it into submission, rising away, far away from me. Then, the rustling reaches me and the logic that it was not me who sent their hearts pounding comes to a solution. I turn, and I know I feel happiness. Feel love. Because there you are, pushing through the wheat. A smile, shy and small, is present, as it should be from my research, and you’re making your way towards me. You knew exactly where to find me. Your robot.

This old field is my place of happiness, you a beacon in it. If this is the spread of my heart, the metaphysical existence of it residing in open space, you are the love, the blood, that keeps it going. I’m told I’m not allowed to experience love. That it is impossible. But there you are and here I am. And I can.