It was just a fire escape. Cath didn't look back, she kept running on the thin bit of footpath that surrounded the building, she rounded a corner and there it was, the mall entrance with big, sliding glass doors. She ran through and then slowed to the calmness of the musak, relieved to have made it inside. It felt like a completely different world from the carpark. She looked back out through the doors but all she saw was benign parked cars. Was it all in her mind?
Cath kept walking and entered the first department looking store she came to. She felt her heart slowing as she hid herself amongst the racks of women's clothing. She found a couple of jeans her size and went to try them on.
In the changing room she almost laughed out loud. They were her normal size but the jeans were enormous, they fell off her hips. She felt small and loved it. She got back into her now decidedly, wiffy travelling jeans and went to find some smaller sizes. It felt good. Petite sizes? "Why yes I think I am."
She tried not to remember her last trip to Malaysia where all the clothes were too tight and she felt like a clumsy hippo. Here it was all good. Change country and change your clothing size - more expensive but far easier than dieting. Even better she found they had short jeans. Cath wasn't that short but short enough that normal jeans were always too long. She had asked at home if they could get shorter ones but they said it was not worth bringing them into the country. It was wonderful being able to buy jeans here, that fit right off the rack.
Cath went to choose a top, bra and pants - that should see her right until the luggage showed up. She left the store with bags hanging from her arms and a smile on her face, the weird carpark incident banished to paranoia from jetlag.
But as she wandered back towards the mall entrance she began to feel uneasy. Then as she got closer she saw it was hailing outside. Relieved she pulled the hotel card out of her pocket and rang for the shuttle. It felt frivolous and indulgent but she didn't care.
The shuttle arrived and Cath ran through the hail stones and ducked inside, smiling at the driver. He drove out of the carpark onto the highway and then turned off the highway, up the street the hotel was on and pulled under the veranda. It took all of five minutes. She felt embarrassed to have bothered the driver to do such a menial thing. She muttered her thanks and stepped off.
As she looked up to walk into the hotel foyer she saw a familiar face sitting on the couch by the window. It was that guy from the plane. The one that had given her the card. Jack wasn't it? What was he doing here?
Paper clips and string
5 hours ago