My husband and I went out for Thai food not too long ago. The meal was excellent and just before we left, we hit the restrooms. It was a long drive home. As we exited the restaurant, he grinned at me and said, “I’ve done something your mother would do.” I couldn’t have been more perplexed at this comment until he pulled out a tiny pinched off piece of plant.
“It was dying in the mens room so I’m going to bring it home and let it grow in the light.” He laid it tenderly on the dash and we went home where he followed through. It is starting to show strong signs of life as I write this.
As a middle aged woman happily writing from a tiny closet room in her quiet house, I cannot imagine the allure of the Maine Mall. It is enormous, crowded and expensive. A place I avoid at all cost. Well one exception is a Borders on the outskirts. I have been known to dawdle there for hours. But when I was a young teenager, living an hour away from the Maine Mall, I couldn’t imagine a better destination for any given weekend afternoon. It didn’t happen often but I recall one occasion my mother took me to the mall. I’m sure I changed outfits a million times before going, in case I saw someone I knew. You know the drill.
My mother changed her outfit only once. She put on clean clothes replacing those she had worn to milk the goats and savagely squash cabbage worms one warm spring morning. It could be that we were getting glasses. That would require a trip and a visit – pick frames and then wait for them to be made. It guaranteed at least an hour just hanging around, window shopping. We rarely shopped. We found things we liked and then bought them at Reny’s.
My mother, knowing something about young teenage girls, allowed me to go off on my own for a time. We agreed to meet at a central location near an indoor park of sorts. Benches and landscaping created a semblance of outdoors for those poor souls who needed nature’s comfort and renewal amidst concrete and endless displays. I fairly skipped away from her and navigated to some of the favorite hang outs I heard my friends mention. The friends who went often to the Maine Mall.
I may have found someone I knew but normally did not. After wandering around looking for familiar faces, not looking much at anything else, I found my way back to the area where I was to meet my mother. There were escalators near the spot and as I rode down, I noticed a woman perched at the edge of some gardens. She was snipping leggy shoots with her thumb nail and neatly picking off dead petunia blossoms. Passersby turned to watch the woman and a small child stopped, tugging on his mother’s hand and asking a question. I wondered to myself if the woman worked for the mall.
To my surprise and considerable embarrassment, I realized as I approached that the woman was my mother. Clean clothes or not, she was drawn to garden no matter where she went. “Mom! What are you doing?” I demanded in a forced whisper, hoping no one could hear. I’m sure my eyes were rolling.
“Oh I’m just deadheading dear. These poor things aren’t getting any attention. They’ll be much happier now.”
I love you mum.