It all started because of his promotion and bonus pay, he wanted to surprise her with a shopping trip in the city, little did Carter know it would take the entire day, and he was beginning to regret his generous idea, however his wife Becca was ecstatic, living in a small town neither had seen anything grander than the drug store, and she was wild with delight, dragging him from store to store, at first he couldn’t get her to leave the baby in her mothers watchful care, but now they were here, he was pretty sure she had forgotten she even had a child.
At first he was excited and enamored himself, they arrived just as the doors opened to the public, there was food vendors and coffee carts, everywhere you turned, with people offering tasty samples in hopes to draw more customers, and within the store whole floors were devoted to a singular category, Sears floor on modern convenience was quite fascinating, washing machines, refrigerators, lawnmowers, and the tools, he only ever seen those in a catalog, of course Becca loved the ladies department, and must have tried on a million outfits and hats, in the latest fashion, while he sat bored out of his mind, and then she moved on to the perfumes and colognes, testing so many smells his head began to hurt, but he smiled and nodded anyway, happy he could afford to buy her a new outfit, and a handful of trivial accessories, of course that was four whole hours ago, now he was getting tired and nothing interested him in the least, Becca was currently having him try on a suit in the men’s department “Oh Carter it looks so nice on you! You should get it! Here, try this pink tie”
several attendants surrounded him with measuring tape and cloth samples, making him extremely nervous, bringing him article after article to put on till he couldn’t take it anymore “No! no pink, no more suits, thank you but I have a perfectly good suit at home, and only when it gets a rip or tear will I even consider buying a new suit, excuse me please”
Carter got off the stand took off the jacket and tossed it haphazardly to an attendant and quit the room, mumbling his aggravation along the way, he could hear Becca apologizing to the unsuspecting attendant’s “I’m sorry, it’s not your fault, you’ve been very kind, my husband can be difficult when it comes to proper attire, why he’d wear nothing but a pair of jeans if I let him, you carry a fine array of suits and I will convince him to come again when he’s in a better mood, have a great day”
The doors opened and Becca came out behind him “I hope you know that you were very rude, they may never let us come again”
Carter still in a bit of a mood muttered “that would be nice, maybe I should go insult the manager, and help them along with their decision”
Becca scowled hoping she didn’t here him right “What did you say?”
He never got to finish, because Becca already had her thoughts on something else, forgetting her frustration with his manner she clapped her hands gleefully and pointed to a toy shop across the way
“Look a toy shop! Oh, can we please go have a look, I want to get Cooper a toy for Christmas!”
So she did remember they had a baby, thinking this was the perfect opportunity to try that particular tactic again, he put on a smile and hurried her along, “That’s an excellent idea, but lets not wait till Christmas, he’ll be so sad not having his Mama all day, it will help keep his mind of the thought of being left behind, and think of the joy on his face when he sees you walking through the door”
Becca smiled warmly thinking of their little boy, and his chubby little legs as he tried to stand on his own, Carter was sure he had her convinced, but he was wrong, she was enjoying her freedom from motherhood a little too much, and his pocket book was getting lighter, “Cooper won’t feel left behind, he loves his Granny, she probably already has him fattened up, and down for a nap”
Carter was losing the battle “Well I hope he isn’t being to difficult and begging for me to read him a story”
They entered the toy shop, and Carter was beginning to have an interest again, looking at rows of model cars, airplanes, and tractors, neat rows of soldiers, and odd little contraptions that stuck together to make interesting structures called Tinker toys, While Becca was admiring dolls and stuffed animals, they argued over what would be appropriate for a ten month old, Carter thought his son would love a toy truck painted in a shiny red, with working doors and smooth tires that rolled easy across smooth surfaces, but Becca said he was to young for metal objects and would be safer with a teddy bear, another two hours passed in the toy shop and Becca finally made a few selections to add to Carters armful of bags and boxes, and was out the door to find another store, Carter called after her, unable to see which direction she took, and spun around to get a better view of his surroundings, he spotted Becca waiving him on and followed “Something smells amazing, is there a restaurant near by Becca, we should grab a bite to eat and head home”
Becca followed the smell around the corner “Oh Look! It’s a chocolatier, Carter lets go I never had anything but a Hershey bar!”
Carter agreed wanting to try some chocolate for himself “Sure, sounds great, it’ll be a nice treat to end the day and head home” He set the boxes and bags down in a neat pile and surveyed the dainty brown treats displayed elegantly in a glass counter, Becca chose a dozen, and the man behind the counter happily placed their selection in a fancy little bag, and after they each popped one in their mouth and walked out, Becca asked the time. “It’s 2:45 we’ve been here for almost seven hours”
Becca looked shocked, to Carters relief, but her answer wasn’t anything he expected “My word! it’s been seven hours? I feel like we just got here, no wonder you’ve been a bear! you are probably hungry, lets go sit down and have a bite to eat.
After asking a few passersby, they took an elevator to the third floor, Carter looked up at the thin cable that pulled the small box, then at the attendant “Will that thing hold much weight?”
the young attendant grinned making the strap of his lopsided hat slip further “But of course sir, why I’ve carried five people at one time, with armloads twice that size” Carter nodded his thanks and stepped on with Becca, while the young man closed the door’s and pressed the button, “Yes sir, don’t you worry, it has only ever snapped once”
Becca gasped and grabbed Carters arm, closing her eyes, and as soon as the doors opened on the third floor she bolted out, “I hope you aren’t expecting a tip, you scared me half to death”
the young man’s grin faltered and he dropped his head “My apologies Ma’am”
Once they found the Diner they both took a seat and ordered hamburgers and a shake, and what should have been a quick meal turned into another two hour ordeal, when Becca had to send her burger back three times to be cooked better and the pickles removed.
Carter was sure after their meal she would be ready to go, especially in lieu of the latest events, but even as she took the last draw of the shake, she stood recharged to continue “I know you are ready to go home, but can we just check out one more store? I saw a place that had household items, dinnerware, and the prettiest couches!”
Carter sighed and looked at his watch for the umpteenth time that day, it read; 5:06 P.M. he had endured nine full hours of endless walking, and carrying his weight in packages, what difference would it make to add a little more, the shops would be closing in three hours but he didn’t think they would stay that late so he consented and let her lead him to the final stop before heading home, she oohed and awed over bedsheets, admired tea sets, and got comfortable on the display couches, till a worker approached apprehensively “Excuse me Ma’am, but if you have any purchases you’d like to make, we are closing in five minutes” Becca nodded “Of course, thank you for letting us know, you have a lovely store”
By the time they made it to the door, and out to the hallway, all the surrounding stores were locked up, and not a soul was about, even the lot that had been full of cars and buggies was vacant, save the lone car that was theirs, and on the long drive home Carter hoped Becca would be content for at least another year before desiring another shopping trip, and when that time came Carter swore never again to allow a twelve hour shopping spree, the most he could handle was three hours and that even pushed his limit.