Is that the look he was hoping for? Terri shook her head and chuckled to herself as a pale young man with a purple mohawk and pants three sizes too big passed her bench. She blew her dark bangs out of her face. Young people of every generation had their own fads and trends. Her parents had worn bell bottomed jeans and maxi dresses. She’d owned her share of stirrup pants, slouchy socks, and leg warmers. Turning slightly, she watched him walk away, one hand gripped tightly in the waistband of his pants. At least her clothes had fit.
She popped the last bite of cheesy pretzel in her mouth and chased it down with a final slurp of soda. This new mall was huge, partly enclosed, partly open to the air. The food court had the standard table and chairs, but there were also benches arranged around an artificial waterfall, flowing into a landscaped fountain. A lovely place to indulge in a snack while taking a break from a strenuous morning of shopping. Shopping? Well, trolling, in her case. After three hours Terri still traveled light, waiting for that one perfect item.
For Terri, shopping was more pleasure than necessity. She referred to it as retail therapy and considered it her favorite hobby. Combining a set of skills learned from her mother’s bargain hunting and her father’s bass fishing, she could troll the mall all afternoon on a lazy Saturday, walking from store to store with no real goal in mind, nothing specific on her want list, just looking, waiting for that one special buy to speak to her. It might be the item she saw in the first store she entered, but she never bought anything till she’d looked at everything. And here, she diverged from her father. There was no catch and release in her world. Where was the fun in spending the day engaged in your favorite thing only to come home empty handed? She collected her trash, refreshed by her snack and ready to tackle the remaining half of the mall.
“Throw them in, Lizzie.”
Terri looked towards the voice. A young woman stood in front of the fountain, a baby cradled in her arms, a little girl at her side.
The youngster, dressed in pastel striped overalls, outfit completed with ruffled socks and matching shirt, watched the waterfall, eyes wide, mouth drawn into a pink bow. “Oh…pretty, Mama.”
“Very pretty, Lizzie. Toss them in so we can go.”
The little girl opened her fist. Terri saw several new pennies clutched in the child’s hand. The lights from the fountain glinted off the shiny copper, almost the same color as the toddler’s curls.
“My money, Mama.
The young mother’s laughter brought a small ache to Terri’s heart. She looked up and reminded God. I want one just like her. She shook off the sadness. Someday God would send Mr. Right her way. Till then, she’d continue to love the kids that came to Tiny Tikes every day. She was blessed. Her Day Care business was the most sought after in Garfield. The children she cared for hers by default.
“Lizzie, I’ll give you some more money.” The young mother’s tone remained patient. “Those are special pennies, for wishing not for spending.” She stooped down and kissed her little girl’s fist. “Hurry now. Make your wish and throw them in the water.”
Terri looked on as Lizzie closed her eyes and scrunched up her face. Her lips moved as her wish was made, then the pennies were hurled into the water.
“Exactly like that, sweetheart.” Mom held out her free hand. “Let’s go.”
Terri watched them head for the exit sign. She stood with a sigh, looking back up to the ceiling, adding a post script to her earlier comment to God. Maybe twins.
***Sharon here*** While you're here, please take a look at the page tabs to the right. Pam posted a new recipe a few days ago and Terri just add a book review and author interview featuring Janice Hanna Thompson. Good stuff!!