She shook her head and muttered, “Old habits.”
She smiled softly and motioned for me to follow her.
She led me to her back room and reached under a desk stacked high with papers, most older than I was. She pulled at a large brown, metallic briefcase.
“Help me with this.”
As I slid it out, I dusted off the top near the handle. The words Smith Corona shown through.
“Who are Smith and Corona?” I naively asked.
She laughed at me. “Not who. What.”
She pinched the buttons on the case and opened the lid. Ivory keys glistened inside the prettiest shades of blue I’d ever seen mixed together. She clicked another button near the handle and asked me to help pull the blue beauty from the case. We set it down gently together.
“There. That’s why I hit the keys so hard on that computer.”
She grabbed a scrap paper from the desk and rolled it carefully into the machine. She sat down and wriggled her fingers in a way that looked like second nature to her. Quickly, she began pounding.
She was no Beethoven. But the way her fingers banged the keys as the words she typed spilled out on the paper, well, I imagine that’s pretty close to what he looked like as he worked out his fifth symphony. I was watching an artist completely at ease with her medium. She kept perfect rhythm as she went, punctuated by the poetic ding that ended every line. I was mesmerized as she filled the page quickly and effortlessly before she let her fingers come to rest on the desktop in front of her.
She sat back in the chair and looked caringly at her work. I could tell that, in that moment, she was somewhere else, back in time, a time before modernity had fully set in.
“A relic,” she chuckled. “Both of us, really. Old habits. This one, this one’s my favorite habit.”
She got up from her chair and went back to her computer. She resumed slamming the keys there as she typed out an email.
At least I now knew why she hit the keys as hard as she did.