Tuesday, March 29, 2011
goodbye old oak hollow
only two stories high and a light tan color, it's really not much to look at. each of the triad cities has its own mall, and oak hollow is certainly the smallest and least assuming. but it had everything a high school teen could want, especially in its glory days of 2000-2005. two days before my first date, on a warm august night, mama and i spent hours below the fluorescent lights, scouring the department store racks and stacks of folded sweaters at the gap for the perfect ensemble, settling on white capris and a teal tank top with "ciao" written in glitter across the front. i don't have either anymore, and can't tell you where they are.
then, about a year later, on another august night, i had another first date. one that would turn into a thousand subsequent dates. robert and i ate at one of the mall's restaurants. one of those typical ones where waitresses write on the table and talk about cheese fries and rib specials. a friend from school waited on us, and afterward we left the mall to play putt-putt. the restaurant closed down a few years later. nothing took its spot.
and now, a major university has bought the mall. for the time being, it's leaving it as is. however, for the past year or so, the stores have been shutting down. slowly but surely in a sad defeat. now, the only stores left are ones with names like "pastor steve's leather" or "global village." the gap was the first to leave, followed by express, dillards and other snapshot memories of my past.
because a mall is a social experience. and all the movies i watched in the dingy theater, all the half off bins i squirreled my hands through, and all the red plastic benches i ate hot pretzels on are ingrained in me, just like the people i shared those moments with.
a lot of my friends have left our little town. but i stayed. and i pass the mall on my way home sometimes and remember. and this will always be, no matter what happens to it, my mall.