..in the busy staccato of our evening is a surprise. A moment of awkwardness that slowly fills up with happiness and hope. Not just for yourself, but for the world that we leave behind.
After a really long day driving places, doctor visits, classes and then fixing lunches and cleaning shoe closets, I had to make a quick trip to the mall to return a fairly bulky appliance. This warranted the husband accompany me. It’s been *ages* since we walked into the mall. Really. Mall trips are purely meant for a quick drop and pick up of the teens and or shopping for the essentials, which do not absolutely warrant a family waltzing in like we were a bunch of hillibillies. Not my words, but the man’s, and despite me laughing when I first heard it, I still shake my head, but it seems to make perfect sense. Malls are most definitely not entertaining, unless it’s the crazy holiday season OR I need to do some people watching.
In any case, there we were, returning, exchanging, bumping into really old friends who moved to India and are back here after a 3 year “good” experience in Hyderabad, and we remembered that the kids had asked for pretzels. The Auntie Anne kind. I Love them myself. So, we trudge (I drag my feet while he marches on like a man on a mission: to get out of the frikkin’ mall), again to the other end of the mall, and am getting slowly but surely cranky, the mood the husband is already in.
I pass by this really nice yogurt place, and in a snap switch my loyalties to the yogurt. I turn and ask him to go ahead and pick up the pretzels while I pick up some yogurt for me.
He snaps on decisions he is now forced to take.
I snap back on why every measly little thing requires my assistance and presence.
He snaps something back
I snap back.
In a fit of snapping and raging, I break down. Not visibly, but despair at being snapped at, at not being a simple evening, about not being “allowed” to go get some goddamn yogurt, about the feet that hurt, about my knee ache, about my pinched nerve that has made me an invalid of sorts, about me still having so many years ahead of me and feeling half dead at the end of the day, about how every thing I have ever had to be done was done with so much elbow grease, fight and bumpy, about just really not being understood. ..
Maybe I was in fact,just PMSing.
I walked away aimlessly, throwing back dagger looks and whatevers at the man standing helplessly, and find myself on the glass walkway between the sides of the mall. In just a tremendous weak moment, my legs give way, and I plunge down. Right there on the side, holding onto the barrister. My legs felt like lead, refusing to move, with sharp ache down the right side. I throw the single large bag I carry and move in closer to the side, back against the wall. Very acutely conscious that my pullover may have slid up and it wouldn’t have been that pleasant a sight for anyone who cared to look up. I am no teenager.
Husband has busied himself with standing in line.
I sit there, fighting tears of many origins. People walk past me, making their own adjustments in pace and route to accommodate my hunched knees. A single woman sitting on the mall walk. In my defense, thanks to the numerous security threats, malls have since retracted many a trashcan and benches. Let’s not give room for the ones who may cause trouble for the rest. Fair enough.
I spend a good few minutes, with my days and life’s events flashing past my mind’s eyes. I hate where I am. Physically and emotionally.
Just when I bend my head onto my knees to rest, a big group of folks come my way. I hear their voices and footsteps, and I shuffle, in an attempt to stand.
I hear a guttaral voice aimed right at me.
I look up and blink.
“Hey Honey, You okay?”
A 50 year or so man in a blue sweatshirt with horn rimmed glasses, bends slightly and smiles as he pauses and peers at me, from a couple of feet away. A woman next to him smiles as she stops too.
“Oh no, am okay. Am just…”
“You sure you okay? Is something wrong?”
“Yes, am fine, thank you. Am just tired!”
As I say that, I realize how lame I must sound. A fairly young woman compared to the audience I was having was claiming that she was tired at the mall on a Saturday evening!
He smiles, and the woman says “take care sweetie”
..and I burst into tears that no one sees as I get on my feet and pick up by bag.
I walk back slowly but steadily to the pillar next to the pretzel place. From that place, I get a good view of the mall all around. The downstairs, the stores, the little snack places. Filled with people of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages. Immersed in their own lives and days, their comforts, needs and wants. Through all this, there was one gentleman who cared enough to stop.
The world will be alright.
It gives me hope. I smile and tweet this through a dying iPhone.
No one really read it, no one really cared for it, but I did. It mattered that those words were spoken, loud, and broadcast out via bits and bytes. This space we live in could surely use some of its infectious warmth.
A pause is all that anyone wants.
Needs are different. We figure that out ourselves.But wants such as this kind are hugely dependent on the actions of others.