Martinette Peters leaned against her oven, and thought about cooking. While she had done that very thing tens of thousands of times throughout her life, this morning was different. She was off the script.
Normally, her breakfast was prepared by Angie—the nurse who lived in the upstairs flat of their two-family red brick home. But today she didn't come down at her normal time, and she wouldn't answer repeated inquiries on the intercom or telephone. Marty waited as long as possible to see if she'd show up, but after an hour she decided to try to cook something for herself. What was once second nature now required proper planning.
Bacon. Eggs. Toast. The same things Angie had made for her the past two years. Every day. Without fail.
The disruption in routine evoked a sad realization. She studied the cabinets, the pantry, and her cooking dishes. Everything she needed was far above her. Either Angie had intentionally placed everything on shelves out of reach, or she was getting shorter…
She walked carefully from the kitchen. A bag of bread was in her free hand. That, mercifully, was within her grasp on the counter. The phone rang as she guided herself into her comfy chair. Her cane remained nearby.
“This is the Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis, with an emergency alert. Violent disturbances have been reported in multiple locations within St. Louis city limits. There is risk of violence or death to any participants or bystanders. If you are hearing this message, we urge immediate evacuation to safer jurisdictions. Follow instructions from city or police officials in your neighborhood. Be alert for additional emergency messages. (pause) This is the Metropolitan...”
Shifting in her seat, the robocall repeated through the answering machine. She screened everything these days, responding at her leisure, if at all. Despite having many friends and relatives, she seldom had energy for chit-chatting. At 104 years of age she assured herself it was okay to be picky.
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