Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)
TITLE: Mind-Reading PC
By Ebony Murdoch
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“When you get a chance, can fix me a cup of tea?”
“Sure, no problem.”
Arrie had been typing feverishly, but stopped abruptly and headed into the kitchenette. Ever since Jim died, Grandma Cassidy had been living with them, and it was a major adjustment.
“Here you go, Grandma … a nice, hot cup of chai.”
“Thank you, dear. You know, I really do appreciate you going through all this trouble. I prayed that this arrangement would work out, and look. It has! Oh, and Arrie?”
“Could you bring in extra blanket? It’s a little colder in here than usual.”
“Sure, no problem.”
As Arrie walked past her living room work station, she accidentally turned off the screensaver on her PC.
Curious, Grandma Cassidy moseyed over to the monitor and put on her glasses.
I wonder what Arrie’s been working on lately.
The words printed on the top of the screen caused her to gasp suddenly.
Nursing Homes … 27,200,000 results (0.19 seconds).
“Here’s the blanket, Grandma.” Arrie’s slippers slapped against the wood floor as she returned to the living room. Grandma Cassidy had slid back into her seat, apparently taking in the scene as skies, blushing with color, settled into evening.
As Arrie spread the warm, woolen blanket over Cassidy’s knees, she was overcome by a deep sense of annoyance.
“You’re so sweet, honey. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Grandma.” Arrie smiled broadly until she turned the corner into the cabin’s corridor. Without a sound, she leaned up against the wall and tried to quell the rising tide of irritation within.
Arrie, can you do this? Arrie, can you do that? When will it end? It’s like having another child, for crying out loud. I mean, do I look like the maid? Pretty soon, I’ll have to help her take a bath …
Arrie sensed a gentle intrusion on her thoughts, but resisted it. No one knew how strongly Arrie felt about Grandma moving in with them. Her husband Gabe had little to say about the matter.
“It’s the right thing to do, Arrie. We can’t just put her in a home.”
Deep down, Arrie knew he was right. It was better for her to be with family.
A loud thud came from Grandma Cassidy’s room. It was 2:00 a.m.
What does she want now? I’m about two seconds from calling the nursing home. I can’t keep running back and forth like this!
Arrie ran down the corridor and pushed open the guest room door to find a weeping Grandma Cassidy scrambling to get up from the floor. Apparently, she had fallen out of bed. She had landed on her arm, now swelling and turning blue.
“Gabe? Can you bring me some ice?”
Oh… Now I really can’t put her into a home. Good thing I didn’t tell her how I really feel about this mess…
Frustration turned to pity and guilt as she nursed the bruise. She loved Grandma Cassidy … but what a burden she had become!
That night, Arrie sat in Grandma’s window seat, staring out into the pitch blackness of the mountains. The pane was cracked just enough for her to feel the sting of a cold wind every now and then.
A still, quiet voice made another gentle intrusion on her train of thought. This time, she did not resist Him. She slid to her knees, resting her arms in the seat of the rickety old chair. Slowly, she recalled the tears in Grandma Cassidy’s eyes, and realized how much she needed their love and attention…
“Forgive me, Father … Show me how to manage, and show me how to offer humble service through love, Amen.”
Arrie wiped her eyes and rose from the floor.
Two hours later, Grandma Cassidy finally drifted off to sleep. Arrie decided to go online to pass the time till daybreak.
Arrie’s arm bumped the mouse, once again turning off the screen saver on her PC. Somebody had been using her computer. It wasn’t Gabe, and the kids were asleep. Had she been hacked?
She let out a gasp as she read the words on the top of the screen.
Changing Your Will … 2,370,000,000 results (0.19 seconds).
“Arrie?” came a feeble voice from down the hall.
“Would you mind fixing me a cup of tea?”
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