Amy flipped the switch as she stepped into the apartment, and felt a surge of relief when the overhead light turned on and she felt the cool breeze coming from the air conditioner.

Barb slipped past her and dropped a pair full grocery bags on their dining room table. She then ceremoniously held her nose and opened the refrigerator door.

The smell wasn’t as bad as they anticipated, but it was obvious that replacing their food was the right move. Amy retrieved a couple of more bags from the car while Barb filled a large trash bag with what Amy could only think of as a waste of their precious money.

They silently stowed the groceries and then took the trash out together, more aware now than ever of the danger that might be lurking in the dark outside. “Hello, you two!” they were greeted as Amy opened the large trash bin. Their elderly neighbor Alice emerged from a nearby door, dragging a large bag behind her.

“Let me help you with that,” Barb offered, and took the bag from her.

“Thank you, dear,” Alice said gratefully. “It’s so nice to have the power back on, isn’t it?”

“Yes it is,” Barb said, and tossed the bag into the open bin.

“Have you been out?” Alice asked her.

“Yes, we have,” she said, exchanging glances with Amy. “How did you deal with the heat?”

“I have lots of water and a battery-powered fan,” Alice said, grinning. “The lap of luxury compared to what I grew up with.”

“I’m sure,” Amy said. “When did the power come back on?”

“It’s been a little over an hour.”

“How are you doing with food? Would you like to join us for dinner?”

Alice smiled gratefully. “Oh, no, sweetie, I’m fine, but thanks!”

“Didn’t your food spoil?” Barb asked her.

“No. I kept the refrigerator door closed the whole time, and I’ve got lots of dry goods.”

“So that was the problem,” Barb mumbled.

“Have a nice evening,” Amy said, ashamed that she wouldn’t have known better.



© 2018 Bradley Jarvis