“Hey Carla,” I greeted her.
Her hair was in her eyes, and she pushed it back with a gesture of annoyance; her eyes were narrowed and fixed on the screen in front of her, and her fingers were pounding the keys in swift, aggravated flicks.
She kept muttering: “That’s not what I wrote…that’s not what I wrote…that’s not what I wrote.”
I was a little frightened, because she looked like she was about to have a breakdown, and as much as I liked her, I didn’t want to be around for that.
“What are you talking about?”
She stopped typing, and looked up at me, her eyes filling.
“My laptop, my word processor. I’m writing something, and it’s changing the words.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean it’s changing the words!” That turned a few heads.
“Shhh, alright, keep your voice down.”
I got up to look over her shoulder.
“Watch this,” she said.
She typed in: Mark, I really love you.
And as fast as she put the words in, they changed to Mark, I don’t really know how I feel about you anymore.
She stopped, sat back. “I can’t send this to him.”
“Were you breaking up with him?”
“No! I’m trying to say that I love him!”
“Alright,” I said, soothing; people were beginning to pay attention.
I sat back in my chair, and waited a minute.
In despair, she looked at the screen and folded it down until it clicked shut, which was a good idea.
She took a sip of whatever she had, more to distract her mind than that she wanted it.
I gave it a moment until it seemed she’d gathered her wits.
“Well, at the risk of sounding like a shrink, how do you feel about him, Carla?”
She sighed, still looking out the window, and then the tears fell, and she dabbed them with a wadded up napkin.
“I really don’t know. I think I’ve been trying to convince myself, and…it’s been a little forced between us the last two times we’ve dated. I think neither of us is quite ready to let go, because we’ve invested over a year.”
“That only seems like a long time.”
She sighed. “Whether it is, or whether it just feels that way, I guess…” she looked at me then, “I don’t really love him.”
“Then what’s that got to do with the laptop?”
“Didn’t you see what happened?”
“I did, but…not really making the connection.”
She pulled her hair back. “It changed the words to how I really feel, what I really think…”
Then she leaned forward, concentrating on my eyes; hers were a little bright, and it was disconcerting. “It knows. Somehow, it knows.”
She sat back again, her face smoothing as the revelation came.
© Alfred W. Smith Jr. 2015