(You are the only one in the supermarket during a blizzard. Feeling creeped out, you decide to leave, when suddenly you find a baby abandoned on the floor.)
I was actually running. I was hurrying as fast as my legs would take me through the snow drifts in the parking area. I was delighted to find the supermarket still open for business as I arrived. Hurrying in, I jerked the dripping shopping cart from the rows of carts in the lobby. My mind was thinking of meals for a few days and what I would need to keep us all fed.
I had no time to choose the best bananas or look at the dates for freshness, I was grabbing and running through the aisles. As I got to frozen foods, I opened the cooler door and right on schedule the cold air triggered my need to find the ladies room. No time! No time! But when nature calls you better listen. Of course that facility is in the back corner of the store. So I’m there busy with my business when the lights go off. Black as a witches robe, a windowless room with no power.
Finally feeling my way back to the main part of the store, it takes me a full second or two for the silence to register. No underlying hum of motors keeping things cold or hot, no ventilation system or security. No lights and no sound! It was purely creepy.
I called out repeatedly…”Is anyone there?” “Please, is anyone here?” No answer except the sound of my wet rubber soles squeaking and squishing on the tile floors.
Leaving my cart, I ran to the front of the store. Every electronic device had been activated and every door locked and the steel barricades, the roll up steel defense against anything trying to gain admittance were in place. Everything was locked out but I was locked in!!
I tried my cell phone, no connection, no way to call security or 911.
Think Abby, think, For once use that superior brain you are so sure you have, always scoffing at small mistakes of others, yes, figure this out!
Ok. I’m in the best possible place. Plenty of supplies and out of the weather. What will you need?
Light! Warmth! Water! Food! Batteries?
A good beginning!
Where do you want to be?
In the customer service office? Maybe a comfortable chair? Or back by the bathrooms?
Nope not in the back, too creepy!
I make my way to the office area and find it fairly cluttered but maybe the best place. It has a raised wooden floor to give the store personnel an elevated look at the store aisles. The screens for security cameras sit all dark and silent now. Ok, this is my base until help arrives.
I hurry back and forth across the front of the store reading the overhead aisle information signs. On a kiosk near the checkout, I find small purse sized flashlights that are better than nothing. I grab several bottled water, a package of Twinkies...what? Twinkies, I haven’t had Twinkies since I was a kid, but that’s what my hand picked up.
Back at the customer service office I look again at where I will spend the hours until this is over. It is cramped and cluttered. I set off again hurrying to find something to give me comfort and safe rest.
Hurrying through the dark aisles I have decided on large or jumbo packages of paper towels and toilet tissue as a soft thing to lay on, perhaps I’ll even sleep a bit. The small light is mostly useless but it lets me read the labels. The softness of Charmin, the thickness of Bounty towels, I grab an arm load of Charmin and dump it over the counter into the service office then hurry back for more. I hope to be comfortable!
As I rush down the paper products aisle, my foot bangs against something and I go flying forward. I land on my knees and hands. Sharp pain radiates immediately from my left wrist. “Damn, I hope it isn’t broken!” Tears well up in my eyes as I lay there on the floor. It is then I hear the soft mewing of something human, I quickly swing my meager light around and there on the floor is a baby in a baby carrier car seat, it is beginning to fuss. This is what I caught my foot on. Someone had left a baby behind! How could you forget your baby?
My wrist is throbbing and worse, each time I move it, sharp pains radiate from the place I injured. I need to stabilize my wrist. One aisle over is housewares and household goods. After a minor struggle, I manage to remove the short wooden handle from a drain plunger. That will do for a splint! Going to checkout, I use multiple plastic carry bags to tie the wooden stick securely to my forearm. I add several more to keep it tightly in place. Now, oh my God, I need some pain killers!
Finally, I have the rolls of paper products layed out for a bed. I’ve taken some water and pills for pain, I have grabbed a couple baby food jars of applesauce and now I try to make the area into a nest for the little one and myself. Wait, I will now also need some Pampers!
I lift the baby from the seat and change its diapers, it’s little hands feel cold. It is dry now and seems warm enough. I lay down and put my gloves on those tiny hands and bring the baby inside my coat. With a bunch of wiggling and moving, finally we lay quietly. No room to turn over or fall out of bed. We are like two worms in a cocoon. The last thing I remember is reaching up to the desk to grab my Twinkie, a couple bites and I am off to sleep!
And that is how they find us. Resting in a sea of paper products and a few bites gone from a Twinkie!
I wake to a very bright light in my eyes and a gruff tired and overworked voice yelling to others. Strong and yet gentle hands lift us out of our nest and my wrist begins to throb again.
I am on to a gurney and off to medical care. In the background I hear the wail of a distraught mother repeating over and over, “My baby, my baby!”
I can see as we leave the store, just the very top of the roof of my red car remains showing. I wonder how much snow we received? The next thing I recall is a small group of cameras flashing and the reporters yelling questions. As we arrive at the urgent care center, a video of me and the forgotten snow baby fill the screens of the TVs in the waiting area! How do they do that? Why do they do that? They cannot know the facts, the reasons, the emotions but they grab a few electronic images and make up a story to grab the attention of the viewer. Is this news or sensationalism?
Oh my God, it looks so stupid, someone is describing the nest of paper some quick thinking capable person devised to wait out the storm. Quick thinking? More like desperate! Capable? More like very limited options!
Where are my family? Has someone notified my family or are they seeing what I’m seeing? A public drama full of inaccuracies and bravado! God, how I hate the press!
I ask over and over, “How is the baby?” “How is the baby?” “How is the baby's Mother?” I would like to hear from her how things happened that she and her baby became separated! That sweet clean smelling baby had been well cared for, it was not forgotten, I hope the press hears her story and gives it true justice.
My mind is getting hazy and my body feels heavy and so ready for sleep! The IV in my arm must be having its desired effect.
I smile slightly as I wonder what story the press will make of this and whether I will bother to correct them. Right now I just want to be left alone. I want to slip into oblivion and finally wake to a sunny day.