I hate to think I’m old enough to enjoy mall walking. Have you ever tried it? In the middle of a Michigan winter (or a Michigan spring apparently) I can walk as many miles as I want, inside, with pretty things to look at, carpet and hardwood under my feet, upbeat music playing and no rain or snow falling on my head. Perfect!
I had pictures all set for this blog, taken on my camera this morning. But I can’t figure out how to download them so you’ll just have to imagine. It won’t be that difficult, a mall is a mall, right? Ours happens to be built in a racetrack oval, so if you walk around the outside edges including the halls out to the exterior doors you’ll do a mile each revolution. Did I mention how perfect this is?
There’s a regular crowd at the mall early, long before the stores open and the shoppers arrive. They hang their coats on the long line of rentable strollers and head off. Some move fast, some move slower. There’s a man who shuffles, head down, leaning heavily on his cane, but he’s there every single time I’ve been there. There are women in pairs, talking away as they racewalk, groups of guys talking just as much, moving fast, and lots of individuals as well, arms pumping, shoes slapping the miles away.
And there is one couple I always look for. They move at a medium steady pace. He wears a big floppy hat, her hair is pulled back in a pony tail, and their hands are always connected. I’ve seen them around town too. In the summer as I drive to work I’ll see them out on the sidewalks of the village, hands clasped, moving out before the summer heat descends. We even saw them one Sunday afternoon at a play in Detroit years ago. The man noticed me and nodded hello, I smiled back.
A month or so ago I saw him walking at the mall alone. He had his hat on, which is what always catches my eye, but his head was down, he wasn’t looking at anyone. And he was moving fast. Just a fluke I thought. But I was worried.
The next weekend there he was again, alone, head down, cruising around the mall. We were going opposite directions and I almost turned around to catch up and ask him why he was walking alone. But I decided I didn’t want to intrude. But now I was really worried.
Then two weeks went by and he wasn’t at the mall at all. It didn’t feel right, and I felt sad, sure that something terrible had happened.
This morning I was thinking about him and his wife as I started my walk. Half way around I saw the hat first, then the clasped hands. They were there. Together. I had the biggest grin on my face as we met going in opposite directions. He raised his other hand in acknowledgement, and I said Good Morning!
The rest of my two loop walk felt really good. He’ll never know how worried I was, but I bet I’m not the only one that is glad they’re back in the routine.
Funny how a little mall walking makes you feel so good. Pretty soon it will be warm enough to walk outside and I’ll be glad to be out in the fresh air again. But I’ll miss seeing and waving to my regulars out at the mall.
I hope they’re all there again next winter; especially the hand holding couple from the village.
They make me believe in happily ever after.