The Death of “What If…”

I am taken away. I am brought to a place I have never seen. I finally have the courage to open my eyes and I see a dark cave surrounding me. In my hands I hold a golden lamp. How it got here, your guess is as good as mine.

I look down and squint at the shining gold and I see my perplexed reflection. Forward and backward. Forward and backward, I temp the fairytale I was told as a child as my hand moves along the curved side of the lamp. To my amazement something emerges from this lamp and it hovers before me.

I know what this–being is. It is a genie. Here to grant my wishes.

This massive grey creature bends down and asks, “Master, what do you wish?”

I realize now that my mouth has been dropped open, so I close it and stand to my feet. My hands shake so I push them into my pockets. I try to open my mouth again but it is so dry I simply close it and start to think. “A wish.”

“Master,” he politely yet somberly continued, “what do you wish?”

My mind, unlike my mouth, was not dry. My thoughts raced faster than my rapidly beating heart. I could wish for love. I could wish for success. I could wish for peace. Then I realize that surelyI have multiple wishes. Power returned to  me and I spoke, “I wish for true love, success and for my final wish I would like peace.”

The genie shook his head and spoke in his deep voice. The only way I can describe his booming voice was that it was grey. Deep and powerful yet not in a scary matter like that of black. He was calm and crisp with his words, “You have but one wish, Master.”

Puzzled, I looked into his eyes and said, “One?”

“Yes,” he replied, “I grant one wish and one wish alone.”

I asked no more of him. My mind took control. What would make my life better? What would bring me a good future?  What if I wished for prestige or power? What if I wished for wealth or fame?

“What if,”

I began to think, then it hit me.

“What if…”

This phrase causes wars. It causes heartache. “What if” makes children and parents alike fearful. These two small words cast a big shadow over us all. They confuse the mind and hurt the heart. It makes us uncertain and anxious. It eats at our thoughts and tries to tell us how to live. “What if” stands in our way and tells us that we cannot pass through. I’ve made up my mind.

“I wish for the death of ‘What if’, genie.” I spoke with the hot cave air making sweat pour down my face, “I want to always be certain of things.”

He smiled and said, “Yes, master.”

Ice water flowed through my veins and my body fell.

THUMP.

I open my eyes and expect that we are out of the cave, this genie and I. But my eyes focus in on something totally different. I squint at something piercingly white. “Is this another lamp?” Focus, focus…My eyes finally see, I am holding my vibrating phone as it demands that my rising time has come. I now see that I fell to the ground. I pick myself up and walk to my bathroom and rub my face in an effort to wake up faster. I comb my hair and throw it up into a ponytail. I brush my teeth and put on the clothes I had hanging on my closet door knob. I grab my keys and walk out.

I start my car and begin to drive. I pull out of my driveway and turn right then continue on. I’m stopped by an angry red light that seeks to outshine the always loved “green light”. I wait my turn and my time has come. I move my foot to the accelerator and push down. My car stalls and waits. As I push harder and harder on the peddle a semi-truck flies, tearing through my desired path.

I gasped and closed my eyes…waiting for impact.

Nothing. I open my eyes to see that the traffic light is still green. I exhale and I feel about 50 pounds lighter after I do. I push on the accelerator once more. The car moves. “Wow, that was close. What if…”

“What if…”

My time with the genie comes back to me fast and harsh like a bag of bricks being flung at me. “Wait,” I say out loud, “I wished for the death of ‘What if’,”

I continued on my way. I pulled into my usual parking space at work and lock my car with the remote as I close the door. I walk and I realize someone walking up alongside me. It’s Nate. He is new to my department but we talk often. He notices me and smiles, “Are you ok?”

“Yeah,” I reply, “I was almost in an accident. I guess I’m a bit shaken still.”

He walks nearer and embraces me, “Goodness, well I’m glad you are ok. If you need anything at all let me know.  I’m always here for you.”

His handsomeness nearly drowns out these kind words and so I nod, hoping that that is an appropriate response. We continue on and walk toward our offices together, mine is nearest and so I begin to turn into the doorway. I’m stopped by a gentle yet assertive hand that holds fast to my forearm.

“I’m really glad that you are ok. Just do something to take your mind off of it. How about lunch?” asked Nate

Taken back I smile and say, “Sure. I’d love to.”

“What if…”

My mind wanders. Yes, “What if” causes us to wonder and sometimes worry. But sometimes “What if” is a peck on the cheek from the future. “What if” is a promise from curiosity and a hint from happiness. “What if” keeps us hopeful, it keeps us guessing.

As I walk to my desk chair and turn around to sit down I catch a glimpse of Nate. He smiles so big and bright that I can clearly see it past the desks in the open area between our offices. He makes a childish gesture to symbolize eating. Then he looks at his watch and mouths, “Only three hours away.”

I blush. Maybe “What if” isn’t so bad after all…

COPYRIGHT ARIS ANGLE

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