Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Computer Guy

The young man trying to sell me a computer stood behind the counter and smiled at me patiently. "Ma'am, your best bet is to scrap your old computer, buy a new one, and get high-speed Internet."
I'd been to two previous stores, and this nice young man was the third clerk to tell me the same thing. Don't try to upgrade your ten-year-old dinosaur.
Dump it. Buy new.
 "We have a convenient layaway plan," he said.
"Thank you," I answered, politely. "I'll think about it."
I didn't need a layaway plan. What I needed was a brain that could deal with all this modern, complicated technology. And I needed one fast because my married daughter—an only child—I'm a widow—and her husband were moving 500 miles away soon. I wanted to be able to e-mail her, exchange pictures with her, video chat with her and her husband and see my soon-to-arrive grandson on a web cam. But if you’re a technology-challenged person like me—if you hate change—what do you do?
I was leaving the store when a tall, silver-haired man—quite good-looking—stepped up to me and said, "May I talk to you for a second?"
A frown gripped my face. "Excuse me?"
"Don't be alarmed. I'm a computer consultant." He smiled the most wonderful blue-eyed smile. "I overheard you conversation with the clerk. And, well, I think I may be able to help you."
"A computer consultant?" He appeared to be my age, fifty-five. I didn't know if I were more interested in his smile or that fact that I might've found someone who could actually help me. Or was he a clever scammer?
He handed me his card: BRIAN FITZGERALD. Computer Support Specialist. The card also listed his telephone number and his email and website addresses. "I have unlimited references," he said. "And you can check me out with the Better Business Bureau."
I thanked him, and my heart warmed when with a tip of his head, he smiled again and said, "I look forward to hearing from you."
When I got home, I called my daughter, Tracy, on the phone. "Talk to him, Mom. And while you're at it ask the computer guy if he knows anything about cars. It's time you got rid of that junker, too."
Website, references, Better Business Bureau—Brian Fitzgerald checked out perfectly. Emailing him, I explained my computer needs. I agreed to meet him at a store that he said would offer me a variety of choices. When we were leaving, my shopping cart full, he said, "How about lunch? My treat."
His blue eyes met mine again, so softly this time that I thought my heart might melt. Get a hold of yourself, Lindsay! He's a computer guy. Like the cable guy.
"All right," I said.
Over lunch we talked about computers—about modems, high-speed Internet, and applications He assured me that he would set everything up for me, including a printer, and help me through what I was sure would be a long learning process. "I know change is difficult," he said. "But we all have to do it."
We drifted into talking about ourselves. Brian was a widower, an electrical engineer who had retired early and who now kept himself busy with his computer business. No kids. I told him I was an elementary school art teacher, the proud parent of a married young woman who was suddenly moving away because her husband had found a better-paying job.
In a week, my computer system was up and running. In a month, thanks to my very, very patient tutor, Brian, I was performing all the tasks I'd dream of. I should also mention Brian and I were on a first-name basis, emailing, and seeing each other every Friday for lunch to discuss...well, computer problems. Mostly.
On this particular Friday, over our tossed-salad lunches, Brian said, "Have you thought seriously of making any other big changes in you life, Lindsay?" His blue eyes locked with mine, and my heart felt as if it were going to tilt before it melted. I knew what he was thinking, but I said, "I—I need a new car."
"I can help."
My face felt red. "And I was thinking of"—I blew out a soft breath—"well, of making a major change in our relationship."
He smiled. "I think I know the perfect application."
"This has nothing to do with modems," I said. "Or web cams."
"I know." His hand reached across the table and covered mine. His smile grew wide. Warmth streaked up my arm. "This has to do with matters of the heart," he said.
 I blew out another soft breath. I turned my hand over and squeezed the computer guy's hand. Indeed, change is good. 
The End
Enjoy Reality! Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Visit:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Perfect Accident

           He was a tall man, about forty, quite handsome, athletic-looking, dressed in jeans and a short-sleeved denim shirt. His rusty-colored hair was cropped short.
As he shambled though the front door of my friend Liz's Coffee Cup Café, he glance anxiously at the patrons eating breakfast in the booths and at the tables.
Then he drifted over to the counter where I perched on a stool, the only woman alone at eight in the morning in the café.
I had to be to work at nine. I'm a legal secretary.
I wondered if he could tell I was a widow over forty. Truthfully, I've always been a hopeless romantic, believing in real-life fairy tales and had felt another good man—like my deceased husband, Tom—would someday come along, if only by accident. But after three years, it seemed I was wrong. Still, I was hopeful.
The man with rusty-colored hair slid onto a stool two places away from me, to my right, in front of the donut display. Force of habit, I guess, but I glanced at his left hand, and noted that it was ringless. I raised my head, and that's when our eyes met. Collided is more like it. His eyes were deep blue, and my heart skipped. He said, "Um...are you from around here?"
"Born and raised right here in Waverly. You?"
"New in town. I'm the new manager at Menards."
"That super hardware/lumber store down the road?"
He nodded. "I decided to stop to try this place for breakfast and—"
Liz appeared with my platter of French toast with two strips of bacon and an egg, over easy. She'd set me up with several blind dates, and now that she saw I was talking to this stranger, she gave me a big smirk, then looked at the man. "May I help you, sir?"
"I was stopping for breakfast—"
"Best breakfast in town," Liz said.
"—but when I was parking, my cell phone fell off the dash—I shouldn't have laid it there. Stupid, but I reached to catch it, and in the process I swerved and put a major dent in someone's car, driver's side door."
Liz darted a look at me. Her car wasn't parked in the lot, but mine was.
"I'm not sure," the man said, "the door will even open. I thought I'd ask...if you know who drives a late-model red Jeep."
I gulped. "I do."
"I'll keep your breakfast warm," Liz said.
As the man and I slid off our stools to go outside and check out my car, he said, "I'm Max Green—"
"I'm Anne Tobias."
"I've got insurance so there's no worry."
In the parking lot, in the sunlight, I saw that the gash in my Honda's door was long, deep, and ugly. "I'm sorry," he said. He looked so sheepish that I caught myself feeling sorry for him. "If you've got time this morning, we'll take your car to the body shop of your choice for an estimate."
"I can call in, take the morning off."
He offered me his cell phone. "Would like to call your husband?"
I told him I was a widow. He said he was sorry to hear that and then asked if he could buy my breakfast. "I owe you that," he said. "At the very least."
Inside, he sat next to me on a stool. While his eyes seemed to appraise me, I felt myself blush. He ordered what I had but with two eggs. We both asked for coffee, no cream nor sugar. He said he was from upstate, his first time in Waverly. He hoped to settle in and make this assignment at Menards permanent. He was divorced long ago. No kids. I told him my kids, twin girls, were both in college, seniors.
Our chatting was easy and friendly. Like old friends. Lots of smiles all around and a laugh or two—I felt my heart warming. Finally he said, "Um...this is so strange, us meeting like this..."
"I know. A dent in my car door."
He bit his bottom lip. Seemed hesitant. "Um...would you like to do something over the weekend? Dinner? A movie?"
I tried to stop my eyes from flying wide open. He's asking me out!
My breath caught for a moment. Be calm, I told myself. "There's a blues concert in the park Saturday night."
"Sounds great. Dinner? A concert?"
"All right, I'd like that."
After we finished breakfast, smiling, he said, "Let's take care of your car."
He thanked Liz for a great meal and left a hefty tip. Liz gave me a wink. As we got up to leave, he said, "Really, I'm sorry about banging into your car. All my fault."
He opened the front door for me.
I felt myself grinning hugely. "It's all right," I said. "Sometimes accidents have a way of turning out perfectly."

The End
Welcome to reality! Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Visit: