The week before my roommate’s wedding, I took a trip to her house to help with the final preparations. Our goal was shopping. She needed a dress for the rehearsal dinner, as well as a couple of other things, and her mom still hadn’t purchased her dress for the wedding. As with all weddings, tensions were high and there was no getting around each other’s idiosyncrasies. I love Juliet and her mom very dearly and they both have always had a good relationship, but for some reason we were all allowing our nerves to take over.
We left for the mall around 3pm and arrived at about 3:30pm. Our first stop was Dillard’s in which both parties (one being Juliet and myself, the other being her mom) headed for the dress section. After about 15 minutes of browsing, we all went into the dressing room. They were both trying things on and I was running back and forth between the dress section and the dressing rooms for Juliet. She and I were talking about a particular dress for a while and we soon realized we hadn’t heard or seen her mom in about 15 minutes.
Having finished, we waited for a little bit longer for her to come back to the dressing room before we decided she must have gone into another section of the store. Not wanting to leave her, we combed the entire ladies section (the second floor) being extra attentive because small ladies have a tendency to get lost between the racks. At this point we were a little bit confused, but thought that she could possibly have moved downstairs to look at shoes. With this thought, we decided that she must have been frustrated with us over something we said or something we didn’t like and we began to worry. We didn’t see her in the shoe section, so after canvassing the entire 1st floor, we decided she must have been really mad at us and gone on to do the rest of the mall on her own.
We were a little bit surprised but Juliet reasoned that her mom was probably frustrated with us and she probably thought we were frustrated with her so she decided to split up so we could all shop in peace. This was before any of us had cell phones, which made us a bit concerned about meeting back up, so we decided to chase her down. As we moved into the mall we scoured the first couple of shops and didn’t find her. This being a big mall, we started moving faster and looking harder. We moved through all of the shops to our right and came to the end of the mall at about 5:30pm.
By this point we were starting to get really mad. We couldn’t believe that she would leave us and that we couldn’t find her. Juliet began to feel frantic about all of the shopping she had to finish before the mall closed (and we had to search Burdines anyway) so we stopped by the dress section and providentially found two dresses and a couple other things that Juliet needed. Thus, having completed her shopping, the all out hunt was on.
For the trip back down the mall, we devised a plan; one of us would scour the store while the other stood watch at the doorway, just in case her mom walked by. We got to the middle of the mall and hunted through the food court (picking up a drink by this point because we were both parched and starving). It was here that we decided to call home in case her mom was so upset that she had called Juliet’s brother to come pick her up. Of course, he hadn’t heard anything.
We worked our way back down the rest of the mall, going back into Dillard’s to check another time and by 7pm we were dumbfounded. Could we have possibly lost a grown woman for 3 hours? This seemed absurd and we began to think the worst. What if someone had kidnapped her mom? What if she had gone out to the parking lot to look for us and was abducted? And so, in our fear, we walked back up half of the mall to the customer service area and reported that she was missing (of course they didn’t have a PA system!). They put out an APB for a small, middle-aged Latino woman. All security guards were notified and we were told that the parking lot security had seen no such woman.
We again decided to divide and conquer so I stayed at customer service (the centermost part of the mall) and Juliet did another quick once-over of the entire mall. At about 8pm we called her brother again to tell him that we were really worried but he didn’t answer. Hoping that her mom had called him since we spoke with him, we decided that she couldn’t possibly be at the mall and that it was time to go home… but as we walked through Dillard’s for the third time that day, and as we passed through the shoe section for the second time that day, we came across her mom, sitting patiently and conspicuously, I might add, in a chair with her purchases next to her.
We could not believe our eyes! How on earth had we not run into her somewhere in the mall?! After saying our thankful hellos we asked her where she had been all day. What did she say? In Dillard’s! She told us that she hadn’t wanted to go into the mall in case we were still in Dillard’s so she planted herself in what she thought was the most visible place in the store and waited for us. After an hour had passed, she assumed that we had been upset with her and left her. She only left her seat to browse the shoes and use the restroom. We were baffled by this, how had we canvassed Dillard’s so many times and not seen her? The second time we were there, we even asked sales people if they had seen a lady of her description. Of course, no one had seen her and we had moved on.
Luckily, it was immediately one of those things that we were able to laugh about. But after laughing about it, we realized that this was a learning experience after all. We first realized that you should never leave your mom alone in the store, you should always have a planned meeting point, and that cell phones are the key to a safe and successful mall experience.
But on a more serious note we also realized that it was our frustrations with each other that had allowed us to think that we didn’t want to be with each other. Juliet and I thought her mom was mad at us and had left and she thought that we were mad at her and had left. It was a breakthrough in a time of high stress and miscommunication and we all learned that when we are angry and frustrated, we believe the worst about each other and ourselves; that a little bit of communication goes a long way.