Afternoon at the Mall


Helen heard a faint knock at her door. Putting down her reading, she said, “Come in.”


Daria opened the door and entered the room. Looking at Helen, she asked, “Am I bothering you?”


Helen shook her head.


“No. Did you need something?”


“I need to get something new to wear and I was wondering if…”


Daria trailed off. It wasn’t and easy thing for her to do. She never liked shopping but her wardrobe was in need of some updating. Plus this was an excuse for the two of them to spend a little time together.


Helen looked at Daria. “You were wondering what?” she asked.


“If you’d like to go shopping tomorrow?”


Helen’s face lit up. This was a truly rare moment in both of their lives. “Of course I would.” she said. “How about after school?”


Shaking her head, Daria looked at Helen and said, “Actually I was thinking about during school. The mall gets pretty crowded in the afternoons. I would prefer to avoid that if at all possible.”


Feeling she should bring up the point, Helen said, “You do realize that means cutting class.”


Daria nodded.


Helen accepted the explanation. It was true that Daria and her would probably do better in the stores with a smaller crowd to get in their way. “Okay then.” she said. “I have something to do in the morning so how about we meet just before lunch period? We can eat somewhere and then go to the mall.”


“Sounds like a plan.” Daria said. As she left the room, she stopped, turned around and looked at Helen again. “Goodnight.”


Helen smiled.




The next day, Helen met Daria in front of the school. Helen wanted to eat at the mall, There was a greater variety of things to eat there and it would save them some time, so, after getting to the mall and wasting ten minutes finding a decent parking space, they made their way to the second floor and the food court. After making their purchases, the two went to a table to enjoy their lunches. As Helen nibbled on her salad, she watched with envy as Daria happily munched away on the two big slices of pizza. “How can she eat like that and maintain her figure?” Helen thought. “If I step on a french fry while carrying my tray to the garbage can, I’ll gain two pounds.” Knowing it was futile moaning about genetics, she avoided asking the question out loud and went to enjoying her meal.


After putting their trays away, the duo began the quest of finding Daria something new to wear. As they traveled the corridors of the mall it soon became apparent the task wouldn’t be easy. There were so many stores and more styles than either of them could imagine. Finally, Helen saw a place that seemed to be something Daria might like. Pointing, she said, “How about there? They might have something.”  


Daria turned to look where Helen was pointing. When she did, she couldn’t believe what she saw. The Funky Doodle had gone mainstream. She remembered when they were a small shop on Dega Street. Now they are pandering to the trendy crowd in the mall. “How did that happen?” she thought.


Before Daria could express her reluctance to go there, Helen had grabbed her wrist and was quickly dragging her toward the entrance. Before she tripped, Daria decided resistance was futile and willingly followed Helen into the store.


Once inside, Helen quickly realized this wasn’t Daria’s taste at all. Looking at her, she said, “Sorry. I didn’t realize what they sold. The outfit in the window fooled me.”


“It’s okay.” Daria said. “If we hadn’t come in here, we’d have never known for sure.” Looking at Helen, she continued, “Let’s see if we can find something somewhere else.”


Helen nodded in agreement and they left to try a few more establishments.


After an hour of going in and out of several smaller specialty stores, Daria was getting tired. Before she got fed up with the whole process, she decided to take action. Looking at Helen, Daria said, “This is getting us nowhere. Why don’t we just go to Cashman’s? They’re bound to have something acceptable.”


Helen saw that Daria was getting tired and her suggestion made sense. Cashman’s would definitely be more likely to have something that met Daria’s standards than these little stores. Nodding in agreement, Helen turned and followed Daria to the big entrance at the opposite end of the mall.


Once in the store, Daria was thumbing through the rack of last season’s fashions looking at what was on sale when Helen showed with an armful of different garments. Handing them to Daria, she said, “Here try these. That’s last year’s stuff. You really need to try to get something more fashionable for a change.”


Daria looked at Helen and tried to come up with an appropriate response to her comment but decided not to say anything. In spite of all the running around they had done, she had really had a good time so far and didn’t want to spoil it my making Helen upset. Taking the pile of clothes, she said, “Okay.” and went to the changing room.


Helen sat on a small bench and waited for Daria to come out wearing each of her selections. As Daria stood in the mirror looking at herself each time, Helen came over and occasionally made adjustments to the outfit or made a suggestion of what might look better with each garment. At first Daria was annoyed but, seeing how sincere Helen was and how much she was enjoying it, she began to actually have a good time as well.


In the fun of the moment, the two soon lost track of how long they were there, but eventually the time had come for them to leave. Thanks to Helen’s suggestions, Daria had several new items that would help her wardrobe for a long time. Taking their selections to a register, they waited for the cashier to ring everything up. After hearing the total, Daria handed her the credit card. While waiting for the transaction to be completed, Daria turned to look at Helen.


“Thanks for your help today.” She said. “I really enjoyed this. And seeing how little I shop for anything, that’s saying something.”


“I had fun too.” Helen said.


Taking her card and receipt, Daria thanked the cashier and gathered her bag. Looking at Helen again, she said, “I really do appreciate your help here. Before we go, do you want anything?”


Smiling, Helen shook her head, “Thanks, but no. This was your shopping trip.” Suddenly realizing she was missing a golden opportunity, she corrected herself. “Although, we did pass a really nice sweater in the junior department.” she said. “It’s on sale.”


Smiling at Helen, Daria said, “Let’s go look at it. And in the unlikely event your brother says anything, just remind him of that game he got last week.”


Helen laughed.


“Okay Mom.”


The End


As always, Daria belongs to MTV. This was written for my own amusement.