I am a creature of habit. I always park on the Georgia level of the parking garage at the Mall of America. It is just outside of Bloomingdales on the second floor. I am meeting Possible-Mate-from-Chicago near Nordstrom’s which is almost diagonally across the mall from where I am, but it is fine. I have not worked out in weeks and I am starting to feel sluggish. This is almost as bad as feeling so fat that you are at war with your clothes. Where my buttons literally leave the brand tattooed on my skin, Ann Taylor or Banana Republic.
I find Possible-Mate-from-Chicago and he gives me a hug and we start walking around the mall. He talks about what his nieces were up to today and that they were delighted to know I liked the cheesecake. I find this very sweet. We go into a few shops, but he doesn’t find anything he likes. “Is there anything you want to buy?” he asks me after we go into a fourth shop for him.
I like to shop and I really like to buy shoes, clothes, bags and books. I am not into electronics or cars. And I prefer to shop alone because I am not a standard size. Sometimes I am a 6, others an 8, or a 4. I can wear S, M or L tops depending on the designer. And I generally have to wear petite suit jackets. While this is my reality, I am NOT explaining this to a man on our second date. It is too much information that will sound insane to a man but normal to a woman. So instead I reply, “I brought a small suitcase so I don’t really have the space to take it back,” I reply. “I need shoes,” he says. “Well then we need to go back to Nordstrom’s. Shoes are their ‘thing’ and they have the BEST customer service,” I reply.
In Nordstrom's we sit down and the salesman finds us. He of course assumes we are a couple. Which I guess is not that wrong, we’re on a date. He brings out several pairs of shoes and Possible-Mate-from-Chicago walks from our chairs to the mirror and back, until he finds the ones he wants. “So where are you folks from?” the salesman asks. “Well, he’s from Chicago. And I’m originally from here, but I live in New York now,” I explain. The salesman nods, but I can tell he has NO idea what to make of us now.
After shoe shopping, we have lunch and he asks how Dad is doing. He says he heard from Chicago Auntie that Dad was ill and hoped I knew he was thinking of Dad. He is amazingly kind about Dad, the complete opposite of Dr. Froggy. And “hanging out” in the mall like I did back when I was in high school is a nice temporary escape from life. We finish eating and he wants to buy something small for his nieces.
“Holy smokes, this is a huge mall,” he says as we go into the theme park in the middle of the mall. Okay I have not been around anyone who says holy smokes in a LONG time. It’s cute. He’s nice. I don’t like long distance relationships, but if he suggests it, I am willing to try it with Possible-Mate-from-Chicago. "Let's ride the roller coaster," he suggests.