I T S T R U C K M E O N T
D O W N E S C A L T O R
A T T H E M A L L
BY TESS ROBINSON
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They were approximately four steps
ahead of me: she, of the coarse dark hair of no discernible style and
duck boots; he, of the pear-shaped body and striped rugby shirt. She
was riding the escalator backwards, looking at me. Not exactly
at me, but in my direction because I stood in the same visual trajectory
as him. She placed her right hand on his left hip, her lips moving
easily, Smiling- cupping the words before they spilled over. He leaned
down and kissed her mouth.
They were terribly full of bliss. They did not walk on escalators.
She was probably allergic to cats and an accountant by trade. A sensible
career choice that her father had most likely initially recommended.
She never questioned her decision to follow his suggestion or suffered
crippling bouts of over-analysis about her future. Therefore, she did
not develop a dependence on Tums or desperately seek solace in the fact
they were calcium-enriched. But for the Krispy Kreme donuts she occasionally
brought her co-workers, she was unremarkable. She did not excel. Didn't
matter. He was probably in law school, struggling, but making B's. A
lawyer, even a mediocre one, is a fine profession for a future provider.
They had sex twice a week and talked often about getting a dog.
At the bottom, my shoelace got stuck momentarily in the escalator's
metal teeth. I worried about the machinery gnawing off bits of my foot
and wondered if it would really make any difference if I didn't have
all ten toes. Except for the summer months, I figured not really. I
could even move to Juneau. Still, impaired balance was a worry. Especially
around all that ice.
My shoelace broke and I was loosed.
I watched the couple grow small as they headed through the crowds, towards
the flagship department store, holding hands 'neath the skylights of
the mall, passing the broad-leafed palms made of resins and exotic polymers.
That's when it struck me.
Everybody likes a sale.