I thought of this post a few weeks ago on my first return to the mall since this event a year and a half ago. No one vomited this time, but were were sucked into the vortex nonetheless. This is a repost from the archives.
It has come to my attention of late that the bras I bought a year ago are no longer doing the job for which they were fashioned. That job being to prevent my breasts from doing what nature intended, hang around my belly button.
When I commented on this fact to Aaron he informed me that he had observed the same. If your husband notices the stretched out sags in your dormant bras you can be sure that it is time to get a new one. I said, "I have been waiting for a good time to spend the $30 on a new one but it hasn't come."
"There will never be a good time," he responded, "just go and get one."
To motivate myself I threw the no longer useful items away. What would I wear instead? Why, an old demi-bra from my lingerie shower before our wedding that is two cup sizes too small and itches. But it does hold them up (Why, you ask, do I still have such an item? Well, the straps adjust to halter, and once or twice it has been useful under a dress for an hour or two, however uncomfortable.)
Sunday, I stayed home from church with all of the kids who were once again coughing and snotty, and occasionally vomiting when they coughed really hard. (They aren't contagious anymore according to their doctor, just still coughing. Whooping cough lingers.) I hoped that when Aaron got home I could walk over to Target/Frederick's and purchase myself a new bra without the cheerful accompaniment of my offspring. (That didn't go so well the last time I tried it.)
The flushed success of his little sister was still ringing in his ears from yesterday, when she returned home with her very first pink bag declaring, "I love Victoria's Secret, and I'm a C cup now. These bras were 2 for $30." He decided I must also go to Victoria's Secret and buy a bra. It was sound reasoning. I could get, theoretically, 2 of a better quality item for the same price as one nearby.
So conveniently forgetting that I have yet to actually buy a Victoria's Secret bra, because they don't fit right, and that the children were being kept home from church for a reason, we all piled into the car and went to the mall.
We haven't been to the mall in more than 2 years.
That was foreshadowing.
The 2 for $32 dollar bras were lovely. And only go up to a D cup. I am, sadly, and I mean that, at least a DD. They did not fit. In fact very few cute bras fit. I tried to walk out of the store but a sales clerk stopped me at the front and directed me to the far back, where they have other, more expensive bras in my size that aren't padded. She doesn't walk with me to help me find them. She just points.
I waste at least 15 minutes pawing my way through high tech satin to find one lonely 34DD at the back. Whatever happened to arranging things according to size in a lingerie store anyway? Or customer service?
But, it's a demi bra. And I spill out of the top. Victoria's Secret does not go up to an E cup, so I ask the first employee who asks how I'm doing for directions to Nordstrom's. I never did find Nordstrom's, but I did find Aaron and the kids at Playland outside of Sears.
The Girl coughed into his shirt and ended up vomiting as well. It's not much. (foreshadowing) He managed to clean it up with a wet wipe from a nearby mom. The Girl is playing happily. I go into Sears to look there.
There is not a single sales person on the floor and after several minutes of fruitless searching I determine that there are no bras in my size either. I now remember why I hate bra shopping so much.
So I consult with Aaron once again. Do we go home or try Macy's next?
He and the children accompany me to the intimate apparel section of Macy's, where he encourages me to find an employee and get them to find me a bra in my size. Then he found one for me. The kids want to go back to Playland so he retreats with them while I continue the search.
The store employee usually works in the children's section. "Oh my God," she says, when I tell her what size I'm looking for. But she's willing to join the search.
We grab another person who looks as though she belongs in that section, but it's her first day at work, so she doesn't know either. Between the 3 of us we find one bra in the right size. I try it on.
I don't think even my grandma would wear this. (See above photo.) The straps are too close to the neck, there is puckering at the top of the very full coverage tops. In fact, I might as well just buy a sport bra and call it a day.
I leave it hanging forlornly in the dressing room and make my way back to my family.
What I see first is Little playing on a slide, and wonder where everyone else is. Around a column Aaron is sitting on a bench holding the girl between his legs, and then I see it.
Vomit is everywhere. On his arm, his shirt, his pants, her hand, the bench, the floor, everywhere. It is bad. They are frozen, like a moment in a bad tableau, unable to move or the vomit will spread.
The Boy has been sent to summon me from the store, but he went up the wrong escalator and missed me. My first task is to find my son. It is only a little way, but it's too far. I run back to the store and he is waiting at the fitting rooms looking for me.
With him safely retrieved I rush back to Playland, where Aaron and the Girl remain frozen, marinating, waiting for help.
I then run the other way to the far back end of Sears to the bathroom. They start to turn the lights out in the store as I disappear into the dark recesses. The kids start saying, "Isn't mommy in there, why are they turning out the lights?"
Aaron doesn't say, "Yes she is, the mall is eating her."
But I think it may be.
When I return we wipe as well as can be done. Aaron removes his vomit stiffened shirt and makes a half-hearted swipe at the crotch of his pants with the paper towels. I wipe as much as I can from the bench and floor with the remainder and we make a break for the exit.
The lights continue to go out around us. But we escape in time and are soon in the sweet warm air of the parking lot. Sounds of the freeway hum all around us.
Anyone want all the rhinestones I'm going to have to cut off the bra I buy at Frederick's of Hollywood tomorrow?