# 71 – Chaos and Oranges

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The mall was mobbed and her pant legs were cold and wet from her romp through the cemetery.  She was curious to know what was happening at home, but she wasn’t in a rush to get back either.  Would Bruce and Michael still be there?  Liza invited them to stay until Christmas was over and the snow melted.  Michael seemed more at ease while he was cooking breakfast this morning.  He’d even asked if he could use her washing machine to clean his clothes while she was gone.  Bruce was more subdued than he was over the summer, but he seemed content staying.

Liza knew that she was bad at relationships of any kind.  She was normally quick to sever one that brought even a hint of drama.  Bruce had ended theirs, but now he was back and she didn’t know what to do.  Her little sister had done the same and Liza had literally shut her out.  She just wasn’t willing to deal with her issues.  So why was she willing to deal with Bruce’s?

She bought a small caramel macchiato from a coffee shop and sat down at a cafe table outside Nordstrom.  An old couple was sitting at a table nearby.  The husband was breaking apart an orange for the wife with shaky hands.  She was smiling and chattering away.  Liza scowled and looked away.

For once, her head was empty.  She felt like the calm center of a storm of Christmas shopping chaos.  The husband’s jacket was hanging off the back of his chair, dragging on the floor.  She sipped her coffee.  Two teenage girls were showing each other their purchases as they exited Nordstrom.  The chubby one sideswiped Liza’s table when they passed.  A security alarm blared from one of the stores.  The wife got up to get some napkins.  On her way back, she noticed the coat and hung it back on the chair.

Two little boys were laughing as they tossed pennies into a fountain.  Their mom watched them from a bench nearby.  The wife rubbed her husband’s shoulders and kissed him on the temple before retaking her seat.  Liza stood up so fast that she almost knocked over the table.  The old couple looked, but she ignored them.  She had enough of the mall.  She wanted to go home.

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