Visions of the Heart
a novella by Charles Keenan

episode 7
The next morning Nate woke up early again and bounded across the room to turn on Hobonukium’s Heart Monitor. Meena was also up early again and his display showed that she was remembering a drive they had taken to a mountain resort. That day they had left early in the morning just before sunrise and were on the highway as the sky was transformed into a dazzling kaleidoscope of vibrant colors by the rising sun. Seeing today’s sunrise through her kitchen window must have filled her heart with memories of that drive. Of course, there was a fluid image of himself in the foreground. Nate flipped the switch to “here” and was not surprised to see his display showing moments from that same drive through the mountains - seeing Meena’s memories had evoked similar recollections of that morning that he held in his heart - with a beautiful, animated image of his girlfriend in the foreground, as always. It was comforting for them to truly understand that, except for some fuzzy moments during the work day, they were in one another’s heart all the time. Nate turned his display inward and did not look at it again until he managed to take a coffee break at around 10AM. He brought his coffee and doughnut from the cafeteria to his cubicle, sat back in his chair and turned the Heart Monitor so he could see the display. Again, the images were fuzzy and fading. He once again saw images of the park near Philomena’s home, but again they were crackly with static and his image in the foreground looked more like a ghost. The display was filled with so much electrical snow that it mostly reminded Nate of times he and Meenan had walked to the park during the winter. He realized that to look into his girlfriend’s heart during the workday was not very enlightening and decided to only use the Monitor when they were both relaxing. He understood that his own heart was often distracted during the work day too and he would mention this to Meenan that evening. Nate did not look at his device again until they were both in the car waiting their turn at the diner’s drive-thru window.
Just the smell of the food around the building was enough to flood Nate’s heart with memories of earlier times they had come there together, and Philomena giggled as she saw those memories on her Monitor. While waiting for their order Nate saw that she was recalling similar moments. He asked her where they should go to eat their meal and she suggested driving near the outdoor theater where they had seen some free concerts performed by the area’s high school orchestras. Although the weather was warm for February the outdoor theater would not open until May, so they parked on a street nearby and glanced at their monitors while eating their burgers and fries. The winter trees had no leaves and they could see all the concert seating and even down into the valley where the performing stage was. Conversation came so easy as they saw that they were each reminiscing about the same concerts and that they both had vivid memories of one patriotic concert from a past July that ended with a firework display.
They sat and shared memories long after they had finished their meal. The winter days were short and as the darkness lowered the temperature they began to discuss where they should eat their dinner tomorrow on Wednesday. There were a few mid-range restaurants they had enjoyed, they had seen the latest films at the area’s movie theaters, and sometimes they had a great time just sitting at home watching TV. Of course they both mentioned the sea shore, but getting there would take several hours and they were limited to using just a few evenings this week. They decided that tomorrow they would park near a movie theater, Thursday they would spend at Meena’s home watching TV and Friday they would have dinner at one of the nice inexpensive restaurants they had patronized. That would leave the nice weather on Saturday for a walk through the park. 
Well, they had a nice time at the restaurant on Friday and dinner at Philomena’s home was great, but the best time was Wednesday when they parked down the street from one of the movie theaters they had often gone to. They decided not to see a movie this time because they felt that the film’s action would fill their hearts with the present and leave little room for any memories. Plans and memories were when the Heart Monitors were most useful, and Nate and Meena were learning to intertwine their experiences with each other. Wednesday evening they sat in the car near the theater and ate their take-out dinners while sharing memories of the all movies they had seen there together. When they were finished eating they took a leisurely walk around the block before stopping in at a shop to have a nice hot cup of decaffeinated coffee before starting home.
Saturday’s weather was beautiful (sometimes the weather forecasts are correct!) and, while it was still too chilly for a picnic, Nate and Philomena took a long hike through the woods and foothills with a thermos of coffee. Their hearts overflowed with summer memories of warmer walks, frisbees, kites and flowers and even a few cooler memories of winter sledding and snowball fights. Since they had stopped “looking in” on each other during work they had only seen strong vibrant images of themselves in front of memories and plans of their times together. They went to their favorite diner’s drive-thru for Saturday’s dinner and as they sat in front of Meena’s home eating their take-out orders Nate mentioned that he would take the Heart Monitors back to Mr. Hobonukium on Monday. He told Meena that he wanted to buy the two devices and that he would not ask for his 100 dollar deposit back, but would ask how much more he would need to buy them. Philomena was happy, but she did suggest to Nate that he talk to Mr. Hobonukium about adjusting the each display so they were not so dedicated to showing a large image of each other. Nate realized that the inventor might not even be aware that the devices were behaving in that way, so he agreed to ask if it could be fixed. The rest of the images would be much easier to see if the Monitors could be adjusted to show their images as just a small icon in the corner.
It had been a long week and a long day for Nate and Philomena, and they were tired. They finished up their dinners and Nate walked Meena to her front door and said goodnight. They would rest on Sunday after church.