“She was not old!” she repeated the words to herself as she looked at the image in the mirror.

“She was not old!” Sure some things about her were not ‘younger than springtime’ and parts of her body had ‘migrated south’ with age, but she was not old.

In her life she had gone through many things; love, marriage, divorce. Always she had tried to hold back the years, but now she was just content to just be herself.

As Jane Broody went put it, she was “in her prime”.

She could still turn a few heads, though these days the heads were normally older and with grey hair. Her figure was now build more for comfort, but her teeth and her hair were still her own. Also thanks to modern medicine and her daily tablet, she still had the desires and needs of a woman.

She went to clubs, but they were full of women, who like so many predators lay in wait for any single man. Then her daughter gave her a computer and with that a whole new world opened up to her.

Gradually she began to learn how to use the computer and find her way around the internet. One day she was introduced to a chat room for the over fifties, and with that a whole new life started. She found people like herself, lonely, lost, looking for friendship, just happy to talk to other people. She could not believe the friendship she found, the understanding and from so many places around the globe. She soon learned like at her clubs to spot the predators, and avoid the obvious pit falls.

She found herself more and more drawn into the world of the internet and the friendships she found there. She loved the banter, the quiz nights and being part of her chat room.

One day she was chatting with some of her friends as normal, when she felt a sudden pain in her chest and the whole world went dark.

Slowly her eyes opened and focused. She found herself in a strange room; the apparatus that surrounded her could only mean the room was part of a hospital. She looked at the blinking lights on the display next to her, the cables attached to her body. What had happened, one moment she had been talking to her friends, the next she had woken up in hospital?

A nurse came and stood next to her, “Hi, back with us are you?” she asked, taking her hand to check her pulse. “You’re alright; you’ve just had a slight heart tremor, which caused you to black out. But you’ll be fine.”

“But…” she struggled to speak, her mouth dry. “But, how did I get here?”

The nurse smiled. “You have to thank your internet friends for that. They were worried about you when you suddenly disappeared offline. I think a coupe of them had your phone number, and tried to call you. When they got no reply, they contacted the local police and well… here you are. “

She could not believe her friends from the chartroom, could have saved her, but they had. Nobody would have found her for several days if they had not acted.

“Now,” the nurse continued, “if you’re feeling better, you have a visitor.”

She could not think who it might be, but nodded her head to the nurse.

A man slowly entered the room, about her age, a slightly crushed bunch of flowers grasped in one hand.

“Hi,” he said “how are you feeling?”

“I’m …sorry….” She began to answer.

“Oh…” he said looking slightly embarrassed. “I’m George… I mean Blue Leader as you know me in the chat room, I found I lived quite near you so thought I’d come and visit you.”

George? Now she understood, they had been chatting when she had blacked out. She had known George for a while, he had once asked if they could meet, but warnings from others about such meetings had put her guard up to such a request.

“Hi George, I no you wanted to meet me, but this is not exactly the place I would have chosen.”

George laughed, and pulled up a chair next to the bed. “Well,” he said “at least we’ve chosen a place where there are plenty of other people around.”
As they two of them talked and joked, something inside her told her, that this was the start of something more than just an internet friendship.

Barry Eva 2006