Martha Jane’s day started in much the same way it did every morning. The ritual was the same but nothing seemed right. It hadn’t been right in months. She got up, went to the bathroom and headed for the kitchen. She shuffled things around in the fridge for no particular reason as she had the same thing for breakfast every morning. She pulled out the egg beaters and moved to the stove. A couple of scrambled eggs and a piece of toast. She moved back and forth to the fridge pulling out butter substitute, homemade preserves, and skim milk. Watching high cholesterol foods had become a way of life for her years before and he had just adapted as well, out of convenience.
Martha Jane sat down at the kitchen table and looked out the window. Her thoughts drifted, and then she heard him rummaging in the bedroom, likely looking for his glasses; and then footsteps down the hall to the kitchen. His warm smile spread across his face with one eyebrow slightly raised in the most mischievous way a sixty-four year old sweetheart of a man could possibly muster.
The cat caught Martha’s attention out of the corner of her eye. She quickly brushed away the tear that had escaped as she got up to give Tiger his breakfast. As she sat back down, she tried to pick up where she left off, but Perry was gone. Another tear escaped. It’s funny how mechanical a routine can become; going through the motions without thought or consideration. With the plate, fork, and glass washed and put way, Martha’s thoughts turned to her plans for the day.
It always made her smile. What in the world was she doing taking a class at the Senior Center? At times, it seemed silly to try to learn something new at sixty. Computers were not a tool of her generation. She had, in fact, successfully lived her life thus far without owning or using a computer. Obviously, she knew their role in businesses and that she was one of “that” generation who shied away from technology; mostly because life at sixty had become comfortable and unvarying. For Martha, that comfort changed when her precious Perry passed away. She wanted something to fill her days, the overwhelming feeling of loss, and the void in their home. So when a sweet friend from her Sunday school class suggested classes offered at the Senior Center, Martha thought, why not? After looking at the brochure outlining the classes offered, “Communication via Computers” stood out to her. She wasn’t exactly sure why she chose that particular class. There were classes in sewing, knitting, and quilting, but she knew those skills and spent countless hours enjoying the work itself as well as the joy of giving her work to loved ones and friends over the years as presents and tokens of affection. Those skills were precious because they gave her time to think or just sit and enjoy the quiet, but at the same time they produced a product that served a purpose with practicality and utility. They allowed her to create something that had not existed before, something of beauty and function, and something she could share.
But lately, those quiet times had become deafening. It was almost too much to sit in the silence without him asleep in the recliner or passing by the window on his lawn mower. There were classes in photography and art as well. Those were skills she did not have, but for some reason the communication one had jumped off the page and dove straight into her heart. So, she had signed up without hesitation. She laughed about it often because she had no one to communicate with of course. None of her friends were computer literate and she wasn’t the type to randomly talk to strangers in those rooms without walls-oh yes, chat rooms.