I went to the mall today. It's the first time I've been since... well, I don't even know. I've not always been mall-averse. I actually used to enjoy buying clothes, browsing, buying a few things. But shopping has felt like one more thing we had to do, one more thing on a list, one more reminder that things are so very different.
I also managed to return several things to Bed, Bath, & Beyond that I bought right before we moved home. They've been sitting in a pile, but I just didn't want to go to the store. Thankfully I have all the receipts and was easily able to return them.
Shopping for everything is exhausting. There is no slow accumulation. There are empty walls and nothing in a pile to pick from. No old pictures, no childhood drawings, no random phrases to hang on the wall. And blank walls are even worse, as though they are taunting you with their emptiness. I had said that I wasn't buying summer clothes this year. I just didn't feel like it. I have been wearing the same two pairs of jeans and rotating shirts so that my standing Wednesday appointments didn't see back to back shirts. I even pulled out summer maternity clothes that were donated to wear. But I need clothes. And the shopping, as it turned out, wasn't so bad. It almost felt like I was just buying clothes to be buying clothes as opposed to a necessity thing.
Afterwards we went to Borders. I bought Kellen two books, neither of them replacement anything. Just buying books to be buying books. It's normal. And I think we are starting to find that place again.
The Statesman is running a big follow-up article on Sunday. I expected it to run in August on the anniversary of the fire, but apparently this is the weekend. The reporter and I talked about the fact that nine months have passed. People expect us to be moving on. And I suppose we are in some ways, slowly. I'm not really sure anymore that moving on is the right word. I won't ever forget that my house burned down. I won't ever be comfortable seeing smoke coming in the direction of my neighborhood. Those are all a part of who I am now. But I can see normal again. It's on the horizon. And each day I take one more step toward it. Today I went shopping at the mall.