A year had passed already. A whole entire year since the day Bender died. A whole year and Fry would still have nightmares. He would still see Bender’s crushed body in his dreams. He could still hear the doctor’s voice in his head.
“I’m sorry but there’s nothing we can do. The robot’s whole body was flattened, along with his brain. Don’t feel too bad though, you can always buy another bending unit a Momcorp.”
Fry could still remember how the doctor fell to the ground after Fry punched him in the stomach. How dare he talk about Bender as if all he had been was a simple, mindless robot? How dare he insinuate that Fry’s best friend could be replaced?
But all those things weren’t so bad. Fry had learned to live with the dreams, the voice and the nightmares. What Fry couldn’t stand was seeing Bender whenever he was alone. If Fry was walking alone on the streets, there was Bender, walking besides him. If Fry was watching T.V. alone, late at night, there would be Bender, sitting next to him. Leela had taken Fry to several doctors but they all told him the same thing: His grief was making him hallucinate. His grief was making him see illusions of Bender.
Fry bitterly drank the slurm in his hand. When he finished it, he threw it against the wall and sighed. It wouldn’t be long ‘till Bender appeared. As predicted, Fry felt something behind him and turned around to find the robot that had once been his best friend. There was Bender, his back leaning on the wall and a cigar in his hand. The manbot was smirking at Fry.
“You look like crap, meatbag.”
Fry stared bitterly at the illusion. “Go away, Bender.”
Bender took a puff of his cigar and slowly let the smoke out, his eyes never leaving Fry. “I can’t go away, skinsack.”
“Go away, Bender,” Fry repeated.
Bender chuckled. “Why are you axing me something that you know I can’t do? You know perfectly well that you’re the one who’s not letting me go.”
Fry watched as Bender stood up straight and walked to his ex-room. Bender passed through the door, leaving Fry all alone in the living room.
“Hey! You’ve kept my stuff clean,” Bender yelled from inside his room. “Too bad you don’t keep the rest of the place as clean.”
Fry looked around him. Slurm cans were lying around everywhere, clothes were on the floor…Everything looked like a complete mess…Everything except Bender’s room. The bending robot’s room and many objects were clean as a whistle, very neatly kept and looked recently dusted off. That was all Fry’s doing. Leela told Fry that Bender kept on living through the stuff he left since they were all a part of his life. Ever since then, Fry had been taking great care of them, in an attempt to honor the memory of the bending unit.
Bender re-appeared in the living room. He walked towards Fry and sat down next to him. He took another puff of his cigar. “Listen, meatbag, you want me to leave, right?”
Fry looked away from his hallucination and grabbed an empty can of slurm. He traced the Slurm logo with his fingers and when he finished tracing it, he sighed and closed his eyes. Fry didn’t want Bender to leave. He wanted Bender to stay and never leave. He wanted to go on missions with his two best friends again, not with just one. But this Bender couldn’t stay. He wasn’t alive, he was an illusion created by Fry’s grieving heart. As long as Bender was an illusion, he’d come and go, like the tides of the sea and that was what Fry hated. As long as this Bender appeared and disappeared, Fry would never be able to move on with his life. His only choice was to break away.
“So, do you want to get rid of me or not?” Bender asked again.
Bender closed his eye guard for a few second before opening it again. “Soo…if you want to get rid of me, you’re gonna have to let it all out.”
“Let what out?”
Bender lifted his hand and pointed towards Fry’s chest. “What’s bottled in your heart.” said Bender. After a few seconds, the bending robot made a disgusted sound. “Oh my god, I sound like an overly emotional girl trying to help her girl friend get over her ex! I need to do something manly, quick!” That said, a beer bottle appeared in Bender’s hand. The robot guzzled the beer bottle and after it was completely drained, Bender did one of his trademark flaming belches. He then turned around to look at Fry, a grin on his face. “Much better.”
Fry laughed. “You’re still the same ol’Bender.”
“You know it, baby. Now let’s get over with this girly emotional stuff before it makes me throw up. “
“And how do we do that?”
“Jeez, Fry! Am I supposed to do everything ‘round here? We have to talk about the accident.”
“I thought you were going to help me forget that.”
Bender sighed. “Listen meatbag, I’m not paying you to question my methods, okay? Well, I’m not paying you at all but you know what I mean. Now, I want you to tell me what you remember about that day.”
Fry looked away from Bender and towards the window. “I remember…we had to make a delivery to Mayor Poopenmeyer and that since the delivery was in New New York, I could just walk to the mayor’s office.”
“And I,” Bender continued, “In a truly noble act, decided to go with you.”
“Yeah right!” Fry exclaimed, grinning. “You only came along ‘cause if you had stayed, Leela would have made you clean the ship.”
Bender shuffled his eyes nervously. “Yeah…well…uh… that’s irrelevant to what we’re doing! You just keep telling the story!”
Fry rolled his eyes. “Fine. As I was saying, you and I were on our way to the mayor’s office. We were walking around Central Park, talking about…uh…”
“You were telling me some fairy tales from the 20th century, but you had them all mixed up," Bender remembered. “To be honest, I think that Cinderella going to live with the toad prince and the seven dwarves is a much better ending that the original.”
Fry blushed slightly. “Anyways, as I was saying, we were walking through central park when suddenly we heard a scream and then we turned around and then i…i…” Tears started welling up in Fry’s eyes.
“And then you what, meatbag?”
“And t-then i saw a hover car coming right at me at full speed. And it w-was g-going to kill me b-but…but…”
“But what, Meatbag?”
Tears were now freely falling from Fry’s eyes. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore, Bender.”
“But what happened, meatbag?” Bender kept pressuring.
“Stop it, Bender!”
“What happened next, meatbag?!”
“You pushed me out of the way!” Fry exclaimed, before starting to talk in quick succession.
“A-and the hover car hit you and smashed you against a wall and crushed you completely and then we took you to the hospital but they said you were gone for good and then the professor tried to fix you but he hasn’t been able to do anything and you keep coming back to haunt me!”
“But why am I haunting you?! Why do I keep coming every night, Fry?!”
“I don’t know!”
“Yes you do!”
Tears in his eyes, Fry’s violently punched the pillow next to him. “Because I’m the one who should have died! You’re dead because of me! I killed you! I killed my best friend!”
“No, you didn’t!” Bender yelled. “You’ve been blaming yourself for something you didn’t do! That’s why you haven’t been able to move on! You’re clinging to your delusional guilt of having murdered me when my death was an accident!”
“I can’t help myself, Bender! If I hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t have been killed! And I know you don’t have emotions but I do, Bender! I feel guilt! I feel sad because I miss you! You were my first friend ─my best friend ─ and I miss you, okay?! That’s why I don’t want to break away! Because I don’t want you to leave!”
Fry looked terrible. His eyes were puffy red, his face was tears stained and his nose was runny. Bender sat down next to him and sighed.
“Listen, Fry, I know it must be hard but breaking away doesn’t mean forgetting. If you move on, my memory won’t go anywhere, okay? I’ll always be here some way or another.”
Fry managed a weak smile. “Promise?”
“Sure, Meatbag,” Bender said, smiling at Fry. “You know, I bet we must look like a pair of wussies, huh?”
Fry couldn’t help but laugh. “Guess so…”
Suddenly, a small musical melody startled the human and illusion. Fry noticed his cell phone was ringing. He quickly grabbed it and saw Leela had sent him a message.
Fry, come to Planex quick! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
Fry quickly answered the message and when he turned around to look at Bender, he saw that the bending unit was walking towards the door.
“Bender… You’re leaving?”
“Yeah. You have to go see what Leela wants and besides, I think I’ve done my job.”
Bender and Fry looked at each other, both smiling.
“See ya, Fry.”
Fry watched as Bender started to slowly disappear. When only the bending unit’s head was left, Bender asked one last question.
“Say, if I have no emotions, how come I gave my life to save yours?”
Fry watched as Bender disappeared completely. He got up and started walking towards the door so he could go meet Leela. Fry knew the answer to Bender’s question. That answer was what let him stop seeing an illusion and finally be able to see reality.