Time & Excess

8:24 P.M.
She reaches for the bag that houses the shorts and the sweater. Her mom protests a little but hands her the bag soon after setting her eyes on a plate abused with many red tags. She shuffles the bag to her left hand, and uses her right to touch a fleece blanket. Her hand feels dirty. The air is a cruel sterile. The music wafting from the speakers reminds her of failed dreams. As they make their way down the escalator, she stares at the substantial tube of lipstick flattened on an oversized, wrinkled paper. They make their way to the doors, but not before they take a peak at the clearance shoes rack. She grips the handle, and notices the reflection of her resigned fingers on the dirty glass. She lets her mom walk out first. She follows, bag in left hand, right hand rubbing her shirt.

7:58 P.M.
She tries on the shorts with an urgency that borders greed. She pulls her pants back on and rushes out. The salesperson is handing her mom a fat bag. She drags her mom towards the changing rooms, tries on the shorts for her. Her mom nods absently and grabs a sweater on their way to the cash register. They are greeted by the previous salesperson. Another swipe of the card, another sloppy signature, another bag. They exit the shop, and enter the same artificial air. Men are dozing off on the couches. They glance at the scruffy beards and exchange a light laugh, bags in hand. Always the men, her mom declares.

8:17 P.M.
Her sandals creep around the bathroom floor with unsettled thuds. She opens the faucet, and skips the soap. She draws her wet hands away from the lukewarm air and rubs them on the side of her shirt. As she is about to step back outside, she retraces her steps and meets her face at the two conjoined mirrors. She stares at one of the mirrors, then stares at the other. She stares at the space that separates her eyes from the film of reflection. Then, her glance turns to the quiet corner where the two mirrors meet at a right angle. Her face is severed in half. She inches herself towards the left, traces her feet to the right. No matter where she goes, when she looks at the corner, her face is still met with a wall. The fluorescent light stings her ears. She walks out of the bathroom.


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