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.
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 EndEnjoy Reality! Contemporary YA fiction with an impact. Visit: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jon+ripslinger