I had had lunch in a multistory mall and was in the bathroom when I remembered that I had a job interview coming up afterward. I couldn’t find my bag, so I didn’t know where. I looked in the mirror and saw that my ruffled white silk blouse was spotted with numerous dilute bloodstains. I worried less about whether I was injured or where the blood had come from than about missing the interview.
Even if I could find my bag, which surely would have been stolen by now, I didn’t know where the interview was being held without the papers in the bag. I began to wonder about myself because normally I research the company and its Web site for any interview.
Finally, I gave up on the interview. I couldn’t even call to apologize. I also thought that perhaps it was not such a loss, that no job like it would be my dream job. I tried to remember what was in my bag and wondered whether I should be desperate to get it back.
I ran into my brother, who offered to help. The mall was a strange place, dark and full of odd corners and tiny spaces, more like a fun house than a shopping center. It was a disturbing place, and I thought again about the bloodstains, although I was sure, I thought, that it was my own blood.
I found a childhood friend of my brother, who also agreed to look for the bag. Then we came upon a clerestory overlooking a lower level, where a woman was modeling lingerie. I thought he might know her and was about to turn to him to ask when I heard the unmistakable sound of his engagement in a particular activity. I sensed that he was completely absorbed and unaware of me now. I wanted to escape this awful place, even without the bag, but did not know how. I was trapped with blood and madness.