She hadn't really expected anything to happen, which was why she started in surprise when the screen flashed at the touch of her finger on the power button. Things inside the laptop whirred as words and colors appeared on the screen. Breathless with anticipation, she waited for the boot sequence to finish. What were the odds that after so long, there would still be a working computer anywhere?Her thoughts drifted to the time before the pandemic when screens and blinking lights defined nearly every aspect of her day, waking her in the morning, keeping her in touch with friends, informing her of the latest news and fashion trends, and enabling her to do her school work.And what about all the computers working behind the scenes? They ensured that water was purified and sent through the city's pipes, electricity was generated and sent out over the lines, that food and fuel deliveries were made and that the system itself kept working, millions of computers communicating with each other all day long.Although it had been less than a year since the global pandemic brought everything to a halt, it seemed like much longer since the world had hummed, beeped and flashed with lights and color. Now as she looked at the screen, its blinking cursor obediently awaiting her command, something felt wrong.Where was the sense of excitement she used to feel at the sight of a blank computer document? Her mind, instead of filling with wild imaginings, felt hemmed in, intimidated by the urgency of that winking black bar and the unnatural purr of the components inside the smooth plastic case.Hurry. Type. Create. Now.Outside the open window, a bird warbled a few notes and a breeze rustled the leaves on a tree. The house creaked and settled while a mouse skittered across the dusty floor.She pressed the round button and the screen went dark. Then she went to the sun-dappled window seat where she could gaze at the yard full of unrepentant weeds and wildflowers. Nature was reclaiming its own. What would the world be like a hundred years hence? What would people, if any remained, think of her?Her mind full of possibilities no blinking cursor could generate, she took pen and notebook from her pocket and began to write.
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