Memoirs of a Mall Walker- Part 2

When your iTunes playlist seems to sync with your life…

I arrive at the mall not long after sunrise. The mall has just opened.

Lap 1:

The mall is eerily empty. Much of my first lap around the mall is alone. Sometimes I’m lucky if I see one other person. The lights are in various stages of on/off, but mostly off. The stores are empty. The few lights that are on cast long shadows against the reflective glass of the storefronts and I turn my head frequently to make sure no one is behind me. It takes time for my nerves to settle.

The mall is silent except for the obnoxiously loud mall music that blares near the largest anchor stores. The music overpowers the sound from my earbuds. As I move from the blare, there is a quiet pause between the songs on my playlist. I hear my shoes squeaking against the mall floor tiles. They are embarrassingly loud. I must have stepped in something sticky or they mopped the floors with dirty water. Eventually the next song begins and I focus on matching my stride with the beat. I’m walkin’ on sunshine…woah! I’m walkin’ on sunshine…

Lap 2:

People are beginning to join me. This second time around brings more light. An anchor store and a couple smaller shops have their lights on. Employees are moving inside to unload and stock new items. I dodge a dead bug on the floor that I missed on the first lap, but will not miss again. There is light and movement within Chompies. A wonderful smell wafts through the air as fresh bagels are being made. This is why I don’t bring any money with me. I know they have gluten free items. It would defeat the walking if I stopped for a bagel when I was done. I know that there is pain but you hold on for one more day and you break free from the chains…

Lap 3:

The lights are now on in more than a half dozen stores. There is movement inside. They are as curious about me as I am about them; but they go back to their work and I continue my walk. Sticky shoes. Sticky, sticky shoes. The mall cop on his segway whizzes past, holding his head high, refusing eye contact as he tows a child’s fire engine/stroller back to its rightful place. He is proud. This feels beneath him. Curse that movie for making a joke of him. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…

Another man, a man with a prosthetic leg, is slowly making his way around the mall. Most days he is alone. He struggles. He pauses frequently to adjust the attached limb. Sometimes he stands and stares at the rest of us walking. I said, “Good morning,” to him once and he looked away. He grunted at someone else who tried to speak to him. But this morning, as I approached him, I noticed he was walking with someone. A lady someone. As I moved to the left to pass I smiled and said, “Good morning!” to them both. This time he turned his face to me and smiled. It was lit up with joy. He wasn’t walking alone. He was walking lighter and stronger. I wondered if this was his wife (I’d seen her walking many times before, but always alone) or if she had just decided to walk with him for awhile. Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend…

Lap 4:

There are many people circling the inside of the mall now. Some window-shop more than walk. Some walk refusing to notice those around them. Some find the balance of acknowledging and walking. I wish I could tell someone they should be proud of me. I haven’t walked into a wall. I haven’t tripped over my own feet. I haven’t turned my ankle. I’m doing this! But I settle for a quick, “Hi” from the T-Rex ladies as they bob past me all fresh and free. My ankle ligaments begin to feel like they are turning to stone. I want to slow a bit but the song refuses to let me. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…stand a little taller…

I straighten my shoulders and press on.

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About findingmyselfinhim

I'm a single Christian bookworm learning daily how much I don't know about ...well, everything. Instead of trying to find myself out "there", I'm trying to find myself in Him.
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