What If?

I sat in the mall food court with my soaking wet umbrella leaning against the table. I reached to take the lid off my small double-double and felt the tape rip at the skin at my inner elbow.  I smelled the coffee, relieved to be done and over with the blood test I’d just come from.

I took my time with the steak and cheese panini I’d grabbed from Tim Horton’s and let my coffee cool down for a bit while I watched the shoppers going about their day. It was almost as if they were oblivious to the thunderstorm happening outside.

For a moment I wondered, what if? What if the power suddenly went out? I imagined parents panicking because their child was now out of sight. I imagined customers in the food court becoming frustrated, having paid for food that would now not be made. Would they demand a refund or try to wait it out?

On and on the questions went and I loved it. The question “What if?” is how stories are born, I reminded myself. I even wondered if there would be someone brave enough to use the cover of the power outage to rob the jewelry store.

I finished my coffee, still looking around half wondering if at any moment all my questions would be answered. But the lights stayed on, the music kept on playing and the hum of people talking all around me hummed on.

I grabbed my umbrella, tossed my trash and made my way back through the mall to my preferred exit. A black and white printed chaise caught my attention and I turned into the furniture store to have a better look.

“Can I help you find something?” A middle-aged woman asked from behind her counter in the middle of the store.

“I’m certain this chaise has my name on it somewhere!” I joked with her, pretending to actually look for my name. She laughed and I told her it looked like it would be the perfect piece of furniture to read on. I resisted the temptation to actually sit on it. She beamed with pride and told me their store makes all the furniture and I could even pick the fabric and color that went on it. I cringed a little when she told me the price.

It was something to keep in mind for the future. I looked around the store, noticing that they didn’t have any rocking chairs. When I inquired, she shook her head and told me they don’t make those. I wouldn’t have any money to buy one at the time anyway but we talked about where I could get one when my due date got closer.

Then just before I turned to go, we got to talking about the weather. I told her how I’d wondered about the power going out and what she said answered the only what if that I hadn’t thought of.

“Oh, it’s happened before!” I nodded, wondering what kind of chaos had ensued. “There’s a backup generator. When the power goes out the generator kicks in and we’re back up and running in seconds.”

Oh, I thought, not much time for chaos at all!

A true story;

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