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Monday, September 30, 2013

The pond in the middle of the mall

Okay, so it's not like I've never been to the mall before, but I walked by this fountain countless times and wondered what it would be like to sit there for awhile. My first choice was the food court, but it only made me hungry. I bought a cookie, went downstairs and noticed people sitting around the fountain. There was an empty bench, so I thought "why not?"

Setting the scene: The fountain near the food court
People walking past the fountain, barely even noticing it, other than not walking in it. Children running, jumping and trying to touch the water, and their parents warning them not to get too close and to settle down. 

The first thing I notice is the fake bird call. It goes off about every five minutes. Fake nature. The next thing I notice is the echo. It's all around the fake pond. The escalators, and the second floor people are chatting away, some looking over the railing and some just walking by. This place is a crossroads. People rush by absorbed in conversation and ignore the four vendors standing at their booths, texting, chatting with people or just staring at the wall. 
I sit down, and a family sits across from me with the fountain between us. A red haired father, mother and a boy around seven eating a lollipop and leaning against the fake rock formation. He stares at the water while talking at fifty miles an hour. He exaggerates a slump and stands up to stretch, lollipop still in hand. 
I look around and notice the vendor behind me telling her two kids, a dark haired boy and girl, not to wander too far. They choose the fountain, right in front of my bench, and make a game of trying to touch the water before their mother notices. The boy runs around the fountain, while the girl finds a place to sit at the edge of the water and let her hand hover over the water, as if she's debating whether she should make a splash.
Another family with a few rowdy boys joins the fake watering hole and start running and jumping around it, much to their father's dismay. He scolds them saying, "Don't you notice those kids sitting quietly by the water?" His question hangs in midair as the kids run away from the fountain and make a game of jumping the strangely shaped tiles meant to look like rocks. 
A few guys around my age walk past me. I only catch a piece of their conversation, something about a Bengal tiger, and then they're gone. Up the escalator and out of sight. 
I notice that a few people are looking at me. Some of the families, probably wonder why I'm sitting by a fake pond scribbling in a journal when I could be shopping. I smile at some of their confused expressions. As most of them walk away, including the two families. A mother and her two young daughters stand at the edge of the fountain. 
She hands each girl a coin. "Now make a wish, and it might come true." She says, watching the girls grin and babble about what they want to wish for. 
I already know the rule. You can't tell anyone your wish or it won't come true. 
As I watch the girls decide, then throw the coins in the water, I decide that I want to make a wish of my own. I finish my scribbles, fish around my purse for a coin, and find a shiny nickel. Not a penny, but I decided it was good enough. I look in the pond as I think of a wish. Most of the pond floor is covered in pennies. Some are bright and shiny, while others are dull. I even notice some quarters. "Expensive wishes." I say to myself. But I don't see any nickels. 
I look around, No one's watching. 
I smile, close my eyes and flick the coin in the water. It lands in a pile of pennies with a plop and I walk away.

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