My Daughter Lives at the Shopping Mall

My daughter lives at the shopping mall. I bring her food sometimes. I’d give her money – they have a food court, after all – but it would become too expensive.

You’d think someone would tell her to leave. But she is so small – barely five feet tall – and they do not notice her.

I don’t know what she does there all day long. She does not tell me much. I try to watch her - from afar, of course, so she will not order me to leave. But she is so quick, flitting from store to store like a butterfly. In moments, she evades me.

I wonder who she meets at the mall. She is such a social creature. Do her friends visit? Do they have teenaged sleepovers at J.C. Penney, in the bedding department, perhaps? After the night watchman has gone and the lights are low.

I never knew it would turn out like this. But then, my child has always gone her own way. She knows what she likes. Apparently, she likes the mall.

One day I will go there and find that she has become a permanent fixture. Carved in stone or perhaps, sculpted in metal. A statue placed in front of Claire’s. I will bring her flowers and talk to her as if she is real. They will think I’m crazy, but I will know better.

You may be thinking that I am a bad mother. I did not put up a fight when she wanted to go. But I am not selfish. I have given my daughter freely. I can’t keep her all to myself.

So the mall she roams. She is happy there. And why not? She does not have to clean her room. There are no dishes to load. Nobody cares if her ear phones are permanently cemented inside her ears – they understand that music is her life now. And what joy – she does not have to bathe! She’s too busy shopping, after all.

I’m not sure if she’s ever coming back. But if she does, I will tell her I love her. I will admire her new skinny jeans, even if they are too tight.

But since she just moved there last week, I think I have awhile. So I will get her a housewarming present. A gift certificate to her favorite store, perhaps, or a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Or maybe I’ll buy her a potted plant to put by her favorite store. Isn’t that what you typically bring people who have moved somewhere else?

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