The Cedarville Review 2024

THE CEDARVILLE REVIEW 23 the glass roof and drowns the open space. You can't explain it, but there's a tug. You long to walk those frosted fl oors, sneakers thudding in the quiet. You want nothing more than to bask in solitude, to simply exist in this time and space. At peace. Forlorn. American indoor malls are a fading phenomenon—not quite alive, but not dead either. Besides you and a handful of employees, there’s not much life in the building. Yet somehow, it breathes. The air conditioner shrieks to life. In the distance, a set of footsteps thrum against the threshold. They crescendo. Someone is coming. You gather your jeans from the ground, prepare to head back into the store, and then— nothing. Silence. Maintenance, you tell yourself, trying not to shiver. You can't help but think of winter nights of the past, padding home after sledding with the girl down the street. The girl down the street, however, had already waddled back through her front door, snow bibs dribbling slush across her mother's fl oor. You were all alone. Powder squelched beneath your boots as you traversed the trackless road. Your old footprints were covered already. How much time had passed? You couldn’t quite say. Twenty minutes? Two hours? You found yourself asking if this was even your street. You knew it was, of course. Yet— had you even been here before? Everything looked so different in a monochrome world. Had you taken a wrong turn somewhere along the way? You squinted into the haze. Up ahead, a lamppost illuminated the space