True, it's a Monday evening, not the busiest time at any Mall, but today it is downright eerie. There are so few people I could turn the aisles of the Mall into a Go Cart track without fear of running anyone over.
Clerks stand at the entrance to their stores and talk to their neighbours.
Here and there, signs are going up. Linens N Things liquidation sale. Danili, Going Out Of Business. Antonio's, Men's Fine Clothing, 80% Off Everything Must Go Sale.
It's so quiet in the Mall you can hear the annoying background music, and wish it would stop.
"I wish it would stop," says Linda.
"Yep, that music's really annoying," I agree.
"No not that," Linda looks at me intensely, "All the store closings. I love these stores. The poor people who work in them! What will they do?"
I shrug. I just don't know.
Linda goes into the Walking On A Cloud shoe store and the clerk is delighted to see her. But we're only here to return a pair of shoes that didn't fit Linda's mother and hope to exchange them for a larger pair.
Even so, the clerk is delighted. It at least gives her something to do.
I walk back to Antonio's Mens Fine Clothing. Corduroy jackets are on sale for $89, regularly $389. I try one on and it fits perfectly.
"It will fit even better, with a dress shirt," the clerk tells me He's an older man who has worked here for years.
"Its a great deal," I say.
He just shakes his head sadly and rings my order through.
I meet Linda back in the empty Mall and we look up and down its length in wonder, picturing the recent Christmas rush.
"Maybe its just because its Monday and its so soon after Christmas," she says.
"Maybe it is," I agree.
But I don't think so.
a brittle quiet
10 hours ago