"Are you hungry?" she asked.
"Yes, are you?"
"Yeah. Should we get something now?"
"Well, it's still a little early. Let's shop for awhile first. It's not that crowded so we should be okay."
We wandered through the mall, looking for something to jump out at us. It's hell not knowing what to buy for presents. We looked and looked, but nothing really caught our eye or our interest.
We sauntered into the Gap, not really expecting much, but ending up with two sweaters. American Eagle, PacSun, Eddie Bauer--nothing! Amy had few ideas of what to buy and I had fewer.
"Let's just eat now," we agreed.
The food court seemed just as uninspiring as the rest of the mall. Taco Bell? No way. Never. Great Steak? Hmmm....not today. Frulatti? Too cold for a cold drink and sandwich.
We settled upon the Japanese place, I forget the name of it. Because she lives in Japan, Amy eats with chopsticks; they don't offer forks or spoons at their restaurants. As for me, well, I have never been able to master the art of the chopstick, but I was willing to give it another try. Of course, I picked up a fork as well for my backup plan.
Sure, our Japanese fare was Americanized, with soft drinks instead of tea and loose white rice instead of the usual sticky rice that the Japanese serve. Nevertheless, we enjoyed it. Amy was amused by my efforts to use their traditional utensils. To our surprise, I mastered it pretty well by the end of the meal, using the fork only for my last few bites of rice.
The sustenance provided the energy needed for a couple more hours of shopping. More successful now, we both lugged shopping bags of goods of to our car.
Reaching the exit, the door opened for us as we were greeted by the cheeriest of bell-ringing volunteers.
"I have no cash," I sadly reported. Yes, I was actually disappointed that I could not donate. "Wait!" I remembered the change in the bottom of my purse. Digging around, I counted out about a dollar's worth of it.
"Sorry, I only have change"
"No problem! Any little bit helps! Merry Christmas!"
Amy and I walked to the car arm in arm, talking and laughing.
"It is a merry Christmas," I thought to myself.
We turned on the station with continuous Christmas carols and began our drive. We would have to return to the mall another day, but this was a good one, happy and satisfying. We were exhausted, in a good way and looked forward to the warmth and comfort of home.