My Inner Lunch

It was a moment when I realized that, psychically, I had changed.

I was sitting in the food court at City Centre Mall having a quick lunch. Behind me a few tables, a man started yelling. First change: I didn't turn around. I kept to myself. Second change: In my mind, what I actually saw was the scene around me transformed into chaos as gunfire rang out and downtowners screamed and scrambled.

Now, that second amendment to my inner constitution could easily be attributed to a career in local news, a keen interest in the state of the U.S. gun control debate, and, as a result, a violence-addled imagination. But it had never happened like that before.

For 10 seconds or so, I sat over my black plastic plate of Sbarro pasta, and just dug into that horrible image. Just as quickly, it evaporated. But something had changed.

And then I saw a young girl, maybe three or four years old, break away from her mother's side and run up to my table, where she just stood, and smiled, and waved at me like a windshield wiper. In the background, her mother's face was half smile, half apprehension. I smiled, too, and waved back. And the little girl kept waving.

And something changed again. 

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