I'm not a big shopper and I don't like malls. I don't like the crowds and I also don't like it when the mall's quiet... and I become a magnet to sales help. The music often annoys me and the strong scents make my eyes water.
Mother of the Groom Hair
Luckily I still had lots of energy, since I needed to make the cross country hike to Dillard's. The mall was fairly quiet on a Wednesday morning, which meant there were fewer shoppers to dodge. But there were also no crowds to hide me from the sales people standing beside their kiosks... looking for victims. I tried to remember my daughter's advice. "Don't be so nice, Mom. Avoid eye contact." I scurried along, close to the shop entrances, but I was still invited to taste this and smell that. I was also invited to answer questions.
I made it halfway through the mall when I heard an older voice behind me. "Excuse me Ma'am..." Those are the very words I usually ignore, but the voice made me turn back. An older, African American woman, wearing a fanny pack, was obviously doing a mall walk. But she had a question.
Back of My Head
A few moments later she responded. "I lost my hair with chemo, too. It was harder losing my hair than my breasts." Then it made sense why she stopped me. I made an attempt to bond with the sweet looking woman. "Yes, it's tough isn't it." But she didn't have much else to say, which again made me wonder why she'd stopped me. If I'd answered, "Yes, my curls are natural." Would she have had more to say? Since she'd brought up the curls, I wanted to ask, "Wasn't your hair curly before cancer? Do you have tricks?" But of course I didn't. Usually this kind of people encounter would sort of delight me, but it felt odd. We chatted awkwardly a bit longer before going our separate ways.
An Odd Encounter
I spotted the woman again, striking up a conversation with a younger African American woman. The young woman had curly hair and her gestures told me, she was answering questions about her hair.
As for the woman... Was she just curious? Was she plain lonely? Was she a pickpocket and I'm missing my wallet? Or was just friendly, in an odd way? I guess I could go mall walking tomorrow and find out. Except, I don't like malls.