It’d be funny to get lost in this big department store. That thought is the first mistake even though on another day, it would be funny to try to hide from each other in the aisles, behind the clothes and beside the frozen juice.
And so, with his face toward the bikes, his back toward me, I weave away. I turn here, down the hair products aisle, then zip to the health foods section. A big circle around back to the sporting equipment, which of course he’s now left.
And then suddenly I’m stopping in the jewelry and Plus Sized clothing intersection, staring at the fluorescent lights, standing in a dream. It feels surreal as people dodge me, swerve around me with their carts, but don’t see I’m really there. And then my head is empty and light and somewhere an alarm goes off and it triggers panic mode and I look around desperately to find him. I’m as lost as I wanted to be and now I see it’s not what I ever wanted at all. Down this aisle and that, I speed walk, head turning from side to side with a searching glance…but nothing.
Tears push at my eyes and I can’t blink so they overflow onto my cheeks. Just one stream on each side, silent, no sobbing. My face is hot and my legs are shaking and when the alarm in the store stops, the one in my head just gets louder. And then, he’s there. A big grin from 20 feet away before he sees the tears or the weakness.
Silly. I can see he’s saying it, even though I can’t hear it. The humming noise of the store becomes overwhelming and I can’t respond. We rush out of the store and I collapse in the car.
Answer me. Say something! Just talk! His lips move and I understand it all but my brain is disconnected and my lips don’t move and my arms flop off the seat.
At home I fall on the couch while he watches and then he glows against the room. That’s my only focus. I blink. Just his face is left and all else is black. I don’t open to see again but fade into some restless confused oblivion.