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Requiem to a Shopping Mall

Essay By: J A T
Memoir



A portrait of self-definition and endurance.


Submitted:May 30, 2008    Reads: 184    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


"I have horrible accent, sorry."
Smiling pleasantly I offered him my hand as he had asked; hands weathered from my abuse of their youth. His cheek held the bristle of man, a handsome face whose olive complexion accentuated the hazel of his eyes and midnight hair. I looked up slowly, noticing a certain deprivation of sleep that clouded his complexion; but nevertheless could see clearly through such fog the solidity of his build and the fierce docility with which he took my hand.
"That's alright."
I knew his routine not moved by my presence but rather hastened and encouraged by my apparent innocence; he was to ask what I was doing with my life - deception proved my defense as I responded.
"I'm a student at Brown."
"What means this, Brown?"
"Brown University."
"Oh, yes. What you study?"
"I'm an English major."
"Oh, you see maybe you help me. I have horrible accent, sorry."
Again a pleasant smile and inquiring brow as he launched into the heraldry of his product - a certain nail polishing kit that removed miraculously ill-kept cuticles while also lending a frighteningly glamorous incandescence to ones nails; thus he validated, for me, by attempting to diminish such with nail polish remover. I admired the rapture with which he indirectly implored of me to purchase his imported items; imported from Israel along with his broken English, nonetheless charming might I add. He felt the roughness of my hands as I wallowed deep within the roguish of his ruse.
"Now. What do you think?"
Quickly absconding my dazed, transitory attempts of romanticizing I thanked him indifferently for the offer; mentioning my laziness at the prospect of such maintenance to which he seemed indifferent, already measuring the innocence of the next victim. Though I would be his every hour; every hour the light so seemed to gild the glass panes of American epitome, of meaningless trivialities.
The hilarity of my encounter near struck me incapacitated as I treated myself an ice coffee and oatmeal raisin cookie at Starbucks - I knew I should not have had the cookie but after spending what seemed to me a small fortune at J. Crew I felt my spoiling not much furthered by some calorie laden delight. So striking about such a trivial interlude was my derivation of joy and thrill from it - hilarity furthered by its occurrence in the most occult of settings: a shopping mall. Is my emotional state so poor that I seek now the sustenance of love's denial from the empty compliments of a foreigner, one giving no indication of differing from the male "norm"? Perhaps I wished my story to give way so lusciously, so tenderly to an impassioned remembrance of entangled limbs devoured in the ecstasy of lust, so a part of one another that there seemed no end to the blissful juxtaposition of desire; when feel you your skin crave the touch of another at the mere brush of chapped lips; when long do you to caress the contours of another, of anyone; simply to feel another replicate emotion, spewed from the well of solitudes petition. Or, perhaps, I took a sample of lotion and imagined the rest, the romantic that I am. No. I perceive reality in the balance of both.
Though I speak often and relent incessantly of my perceived "torture", it is in part self-derived; being that aspects of my anguish are further aggravated by my own personal loathing. And yet I seek not such opportunity, desiring not the provocation of those irrevocable repressions of misery. Yearn do I not to climb the slope of contentment only to yield the menaces of failure; downwards towards the valley of deceit, of depression. I feel the weather throughout such an upwards climb taxing the endurance of my character, a deterrent of hope and more so an appalling affront to the baseness of what constitutes my definition as an individual. Often do I find my step faltering, the stumbles of endurance seeming to precipitate the extent of my fear - one for which I know not the articulation. Often, I seek refuge. Often do I find a tree to rest upon but not the branches to cover the torrent of rain so beckoning the annals of discouragement; making heavy the cloak under which I try to breathe.
Reveling in the certainty of my character proves both a refreshing and bitter experience: Wearing the most fabulous outfit and hottest sunglasses; if I were to do so in my high school, nothing but stares and assumptions would I be the subject of. Clearly locking eyes with the cute guy in the clearance rack while sharing a timid smile; surely were I to share this with anyone than my cloak would have certainly a gaping hole. Crossing my legs and looking at my nails - maybe I should have gotten that nail kit? I would hate to hear what the environment which I have created to thrive in would think of such an action. Vanity seems, yes, the epitome of my shallowness. Think not me, reader, so susceptible or entirely comprised of meaningless appearances but I feel that as my environment dictates my character upon what they see, to revel in my exact constitution prior to resorting to my "cloak" proves beneficial to my endurance; as such was my interlude in the mall. Though I only allowed myself the liberty of an afternoon to pretend to be "gay, white, rich boy" - " 'can I start a fitting room for you,' 'hell ya hunny and I'll be trying you on for size later' " - it was a bitter afternoon; discomfiture so poignant. I had constructed another lie to tell; more explanations of deceit now not only to colleagues and associates but to my family:
"Hi, Jason. I've been trying to get a hold of you. Where've you been? Are you on your way to pick up your father?"
"Yeah Mom, I was just at the mall cruising the clearance racks at J. Crew, the Gap, Old Navy, Aldo, Guess, H & M, Urban Outfitters, Heritage 1981, Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, the French Connection and Banana Republic; you know, just a couple of things for the summer - I found some great deals. Oh, and I met this cute Israeli guy who gave me a free manicure and had me try this lavender based hand lotion - smells heavenly."
Pulling over to a rest stop I began my "de-gay" routine: No necklaces. No sunglasses. No outrageously adorable footwear. No bracelets. No clothing that could be perceived as too feminine - my encounter with such a definition being anything that is fitted. No scarves. No stylish hats. No screamingly brilliant colors. No popped collars. Consolidating all my purchases into one bag I readied myself to face my lie of obligation. I feel the art of deception and ambiguity my calling.
Reverberations of angelic harmonies in simple contrapuntal rhythms veiled my anxiety - where dwelt my joy, my thrill? Clear, verging on that of an oracle; penetrative, as stung my heart from grief; commanding. Mereille Dolphine. She, joined with the might of choir and orchestra, whispered to me the subtext of their Latin vicariously - the brilliance of their fortissimo cajoling emotion. As rolled the timpani; as lulled the violins in harmonious thirds; as summoned the brass and relented the basso profundo of symphonic array; as ran the winds and stung the reeds and echoed the tenors, I implored of them their sustenance and joined in such rapture:
Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis, voca
me cum benedictis.
Oro supplex et acclinis, cor contritum quasi cinis,
gere curam mei finis.
When the accused are confounded, and doomed to flames of woe, call
me among the blessed
Bowed down in supplication I beg you, my heart as though ground to ashes,
help me, help me in my last hour.




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