Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What's underneath

Okay, here's the secret to success at the Burlington Mall: a few quick bumps of coke and a few hits of pot before you leave the house. And yes, it can’t hurt if you sprinkle a little of the coke onto the pot in the bowl before smoking, honey I can hardly speak it's so good with my eyes rolling back. Abby just does the coke because she's driving, and I guess it’s after rush-hour traffic because we’re practically floating over the cars all the way there until we get to some enormous parking lot. I forgot about shopping mall parking lots – I mean this is ridiculous it’s so large, mostly empty right now but can there really be this many cars, I mean this many cars in all the world?

And yes, I am dressed for the occasion in plaid, plaid, plaid, and plaid – plaid polyester shirt, white and blue and purple, that gorgeous rainbow plaid skirt, the tights that are almost neon — and yes, honey, those plaid stack heels that I finally succeeded in obtaining from Newberry Street. The first time I went into that store where Sage used to work, and they were in the window — vintage plaid stack heels, size 11 in men's, I kid you not. I mean usually I don't wear heels because they fuck up my feet and my body hurts enough as it is, but they're actually the right size. Okay, these hurt my feet too, but definitely not as much as regular heels would, that's for sure, so I wear them on special occasions: and we all know that the Burlington Mall is a special occasion.

Anyway, the first time I saw these heels in the store window I asked the owner about them and he said were $249 — okay, forget that shit. But then I kept going back and staring at them, and then, a few months later they weren't in the window anymore, but behind the counter and I asked the person working that day if someone had bought them, but no, they were just changing the window display. How much are they, I asked, and the salesperson said I don't know, how about $35? Honey, that was the fastest I've ever taken cash out of my purse, I can tell you that.

Speaking of purses, I'm slightly jealous of one of Abby’s Dollar-a-pound scores — it's not the most glamorous item, but honey there is so much room inside — I swear you could fit a refrigerator in manner, and no one would even notice. Abby wasn't going to get dressed up, but then I guess I inspired her — today she's going with the short red wig that's my favorite, slacks with a blazer, and some sensible heels. Yes, it's true that the Burlington Mall doesn't know what to do with us — when we walk by the teens in cliques they literally go silent. People stare, but then they look away, and we walk on: honey, I'll take this runway, thank you.

Sure, from time to time we hear the usual existential questions. Like: is that a man? Or: what you got in your pants? And yes, there’s the uncontrollable giggling around that corner, and yes, you guessed right if you thought that Lord & Taylor would not exactly give us the service we deserve, but honey I wasn't planning on buying anything at Lord & Taylor anyway — I can get my Laura Ashley Liz Claiborne Donna Karan crap somewhere else, okay? Today it’s all about Contempo Casuals, anyway. Although then we can’t find Contempo Casuals so we go to Merry-go-round instead.

Usually Merry-Go-Round is not that exciting, I mean how much lycra shiny shirts can you really wear? But honey this time it's amazing. The prize is definitely matching little pink dresses that kind of look like they're made of terrycloth, plus I get one that’s white and pink and gingham. And then, all of these amazing see-through mesh shirts that somehow look sophisticated stretched across my skin— this one that's all black flowers, kind of like lace, and then the blue one that makes my skin look blue like an alien. These are the kinds of things that people buy from Allston Beat or wherever for like a hundred dollars, but here everything’s so cheap we don't even have to stuff things into our purses — like those blue shirts are on sale for $5.99 — I kid you not, $5.99, I get all three of the ones in my size, that way no one can copy me. Not like anyone we know is going to be coming out to the Burlington Mall to get clubwear anytime soon, but still.

Abby gets a pair of shoes at Payless that actually kind of fit, and then we're sitting in the food court trying to act like we don't notice that everyone is staring — oh, yes, these stirfried rotten vegetables are so good, and Abby's getting nervous because it turns out she accumulated a few extra layers back in the Merry-Go-Round dressing rooms, so we decide to go outside to put things in the car. Abby’s undressing while I do a few bumps of K because I'm getting edgy— oh, honey, it's going to be amazing at the Burlington Mall on K. I hand Abby the vial and look around for my water, where is my water, and when I finally find it I look outside at Lord & Taylor and oh no, maybe I did too much K because I can't help thinking this looks exactly like White Flint Mall where I used to go with my father. I’m staring at that name in script over the exact same white façade that I used to stare at as a kid, could I really be back at White Flint? I look out the window to see, then down at the hand rest, the one I pulled apart as a kid because it was made of some strange gummy material, and will I ever get out of this car? I'm trying to say something to Abby but all I can do is stare into space — does she know what's going on? I can't say anything because I feel too scared, like my father is in the car and something horrible is about to happen but I'm trapped. And, my father is outside the car, lurking around one of those cars, ready to jump on me from behind. And, my father is waiting for me inside the mall. And, he’s looking at me from Lord & Taylor, his eyes are inside the L the O the R the D, no don’t look at the &, the T the A the Y the L and oh, especially that second O, R. There’s so much space inside that O. No – stop looking at it. Stop. Look out the window, look at something else. No, not that hand rest. Don't. Look. At. That. Hand rest.


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