I had never been to the Mall of America. I am not a person who is usually fond of being encased in a sea full of people who have a fresh, new paycheck to spend. Once in a while, I love going to malls. I wanted to go to the Mall of America to figure out why people enjoyed going, what they were buying for the holiday season and, of course, to purchase some items for myself.
On Nov. 15, I got on the coach bus and some people sitting across from me immediately struck up conversation. They were three siblings, Ben, Rachel and Beth Nachman, who agreed to show me around the mall because they had been there before. After introducing ourselves and getting to know each other, the bus began to move and while Ben Nachman and Rachel Nachman read their books I started to doze off.
When I woke from my nap I looked out the window. The Mall of America revealed itself from the shroud of snowfall.
The four of us jumped off the bus and filed into one of the mall’s many entrances. There was a snow storm that day and due to my sensitivity to pressure changes, my ears popped and I could not hear very well.
“They probably popped because we were listening to an Adam Sandler movie on the bus,” Ben Nachman said.
I appreciated his wit. I asked them where they wanted to go first and they told me Barnes and Noble.
“We are all pretty big readers,” Rachel Nachman said. “We figured we would first go to the place we would probably spend the most time at.”
I followed them through a crowd of people and into Barnes and Noble. At first we stuck together, but eventually we drifted off to look for other books. I ran into Beth at one point and asked what kind of books she liked to read.
“I like everything. It’s fun to look at what they have,” Beth Nachman said.
I had the same mindset she did. At one point, I stood immobilized in the middle of the store because I did not know what to look at. A couple times I thought I had lost track of my new friends, but I would soon see them in an aisle in front of me and sighed with relief.
After spending a large amount of time in Barnes and Noble, we were hungry and decided to head up to the food court. While we strolled over to a pizza stand, I noticed the giant amusement park in the center of the mall. I told my friends I could not fathom the size of the place. I was blown away when Ben told me the mall housed an aquarium.
When we got our food, the challenge was to find a table to sit at. After scanning the food court, we found one. I could not wait to rest my feet and take a bite of my pepperoni pizza. I pulled the seat out and the back fell off. I stood in disbelief, but we all began to laugh at the situation. I positioned it back in place and began to chat.
While we ate, Ben Nachman said he needed to get pants because he was tired of having only two pairs of jeans to wear.We stood up and went to Macy’s. Beth, Rachel and I skimmed our hands along the rows of clothes on racks, touching whatever fabric appeared soft and plush. Rachel and I stroked a white cashmere sweater. We had never felt something so soft. When we flipped over the price tag, our joy was soiled.
While we looked at coats, Beth, Rachel and I found a petticoat that resembled something the Tenth Doctor would wear. Rachel took the petticoat off the rack and said, “Ben, try this on. I feel like you could pull off the Dr. Who look.”
We spent hours meandering through more stores after Macy’s. Beth, Rachel and I realized we had not sat down since we ate lunch. We found Ben Nachman outside Rainforest Café and we let our bags cascade from our arms onto the floor. We did not bother to find a bench to sit on. They were too far away and our feet ached from walking. We just had to wait for our seat to be called in the restaurant. When our table was called, we entered the cafe and I froze to look up at the giant aquarium above me.
While we were eating our food, Rachel remembered something crucial.
“Does anyone know what time it is?” Rachel Nachman said. “Because the bus leaves at 7 p.m.”
It was 6:40 p.m. We all agreed we wanted to sit down and enjoy our meal. I texted Lexie, the trip supervisor, to let her know we were going to be a late. Luckily, we had till 7:30 p.m.