leaves me wanting more
| New Jersey is a pleasant enough place. It has every store and every kind of food. It is not ideal, however, for quiet contemplation. For that, you need to go to the Maine woods. Lisa smiled as she remembered how, in high school, many, many years ago, when she wanted to escape her mother, (who she now realized was not so bad) she had taken a book and parked under the fluorescent lights of the local mall. There was only one mall then—goes to show how old she must be getting.
This quiet afternoon, she was inside, out of the cold. Outside, a frozen mess of sleet snow overnight freeze was making driving dangerous. Fortunately, even though it was only a week ‘til Christmas, she had nowhere that she had to go. Her packages were bought, but not wrapped, and hidden in the closet, where everyone knew that they were. (She hoped no one had peeked.) Her hiding places were more limited since they had gotten the puppy. Dora the Doggy, their Pomeranian puppy, would eat anything; of course. Shoes, sweaters, buttons, cleaning fluid, diamond pins—all had to be hidden from Dora. Thence the closet with the closed door, the only hiding place.
Lisa took another sip of her organic fair trade Peruvian coffee, grown high in the Andes. The children would be home soon and she knew she should start wrapping, but hadn’t the heart. She wanted to enjoy the few more hours of quiet.
Of course the telephone rang.
She answered, being one of the few people in the world that believed, probably foolishly, that screening calls bought you nothing.
“Lisa, it’s Amy—could you pick me up. I’m at the NJBEST Mall and my car is missing.”
“Are you sure it’s missing?” she asked, trying desperately to save her down time.
“Of course I’m sure.”
“What entrance did you go in?”
“Oh” Amy said.
“Call me if you don’t find it.” But Amy had already hung up.
Lisa didn’t want to be too hard on Amy. She remembered that yesterday she had left a whole bag of groceries in the cart in the icy parking lot. Worse still, she’d been too tired to go back and get it, so ended up having chicken and stars soup and grilled cheese for dinner. And it was very tasty. It was the first meal the kids had eaten without complaint all week. She lost some groceries, but gained family satisfaction. Not a bad exchange.
She wondered if Amy would call when she got home.
Her children (teens now)John and Ann and immediately wanted to shop.
New Jersey is full of decisions, too many decisions about inconsequential things that filled your mind with fluff and stress and made you forget how wonderful your life was. Instead of thinking about the sparkling ice and an evening of watching Monk with the family, you ended up contemplating whether you should go to Target for your water, since theirs was the best, or if grocery store water would do. Idiotic.
Lisa was trying to ignore the unimportant things and had made a point of trying to make Christmas pleasant. later that evening, she was baking her 4th batch of gingerbread, while her husband took their two teenagers shopping at the mall (which he seemed to think was fun!). She plopped the dough on the cookie sheet and flattened it with the palm of her hand, since she had discovered along the way that adults don’t care if gingerbread is shaped into men—they just want the cookie.
Bing Bing Bing. The oven was preheated. She put the bake sheet in. 10 minutes. They were better crispy.
A knock at the door. Making a mental note not to forget the cookies, she went to the door.
“Have you seen Amy?” Harold, Amy’s husband, was a handsome accountant (no oxymoron) with brown hair and brown eyes and chiseled cheekbones. His hair flopped over his eyes, he looked very worried and was actually nibbling on his lip.
“Come in, Come in. She called me from the mall this afternoon. Didn’t she come home?”
Lisa knew, as soon as he walked in the door that she should have picked up Amy. She would roast forever in eternal damnation for not “loving her neighbor as herself’, not that she believed that stuff. But still. If the truth be known-- while her dear friend and neighbor had been abducted at the mall, she had been sipping organic java.
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