Where others saw endless shops and a sea of stuff to buy, I saw an unwelcome stream of recollections, like vague, semi-transparent scenes from a film I used to know so well.
I was roaming an entire mall of memories.
Maybe it was the night because nights are always cruel. As your metabolism starts to slow down while the moon rises in the dark sky, that same darkness finds its way into your unguarded mind and defenseless heart. It starts digging corpses from graves you’ve tried to consciously forget you dug yourself. The darkness breathes life to the dead.
Not even the lights inside nor the hubbub from shoppers walking hither and thither could shatter that darkness. And perhaps the most excruciating thing was that I kept asking myself, “If this is darkness, if these are such dark memories, then why do they feel so sweet–so colorful?”
I walked a dimly lit path outside the mall, and I saw our shadows on the ground, holding hands, walking… home. Headlights were flashing before my eyes as I crossed the road but I wasn’t traversing it alone like I hoped. It was she and I–staying up late, buying things we shouldn’t be buying because we’d regret it the next day; she and I inside the pancake place, laughing at the stupid piece of expensive, tasteless dough on our plates we both made the mistake of ordering. She and I talking about this and that, what kinds of shoes looked good on women, what kind of affection looked good in public, what types of people our friends were. I saw us everywhere, in every pillar and corner, joking, arguing, laughing and fighting–and it was difficult. I have this feeling it’s getting more difficult by the day.
I put my hands in my pocket, told myself for the umpteenth time I cannot go back without destroying myself. There’s just no going back this time. I kept on walking, reminding myself that it’s just the mall. It’s just the night.