Like three cannon blasts from the depths of hell, a trio of teenage girls just laughed while sitting near to you so that’s something that will linger with you for the rest of your life. You went to the mall to walk around and kill some time before your spouse finished getting their hair cut and now your sense of self is shattered. You are Lady Macbeth trying to wash blood from your hands but the blood is the laughter of three teenagers which may or may not have been aimed in your direction.
Even worse, you can’t go to them and ask. You can’t say, “Excuse me, girls. You laughed before and I just wanted to know if you were laughing at me.” Try it, we dare you. The reaction will be a long pause followed by laughter that’s definitely aimed at you. Then you’ll have to set yourself on fire and everyone will understand.
Some years will pass and you won’t think about it. That is until you do. At that moment you’ll remember the stickiness of the mall floor, the fluorescent lighting the color of hopelessness, and the tinny muzak cover of a Billy Joel song. Then you’ll remember the three teenagers laughing. Laughing at you? Laughing at your clothes, your hair, your stance, your soul?
If only you had waited in the parking lot. You now live in the “might have been” instead of the “here and now.” You’re Edgar Allan Poe living in the shadow of the raven but your raven wasn’t even born when That’s So Raven was on TV. One day, it’ll be over. You’ll lay down your head to die and finally be free of the pain, which is when you’ll realize that you were wearing crocs with mismatched socks that one fateful day at the mall.