Store plan of Northtown Mall.

There's a mall here in Spokane called Northtown Mall. It's located up on
north Division Street on the north side of the city. Northtown has been
one of the main malls here for a good long while. Since it was built it
has been upgraded and expanded once, during the late 90s. These days
it takes more of a second place spot to the newer and bigger mall that
opened out in the Valley.

The last time I was up at Northtown was in 2004. I went up there to hit
the Barnes & Nobles bookstore. I was looking for some books on the arctic,
which I was using as background for my Greenland research for an
independent study class. I found a couple of good ones. And I looked
around a bit in the mall, of course, as you usually do in malls whether
you are really shopping for anything or not.

I think the last time I was up at Northtown with my friend Julie was in
2002. It was prior to Christmas, and the mall was packed. But we had a
good time anyway, or at least I did. I also remember stopping in at the
Chili's Restaurant there with her on one occasion. We had the appetizer
sampler platter. And, if memory serves, a couple of margaritas. And I
remember once eating with Julie at Arby's at the food court there. After
we ate we walked into the Disney store and I looked at the stuffed animals.

I went up to the mall with my sister in 1993. She was shopping for a new
pair of shoes. And I think she found a pair, black flats. I also went up with
her and my brother-in-law and nephews in 1996 when they were in town.
My nephews wanted to play some video games. And I think my sister shopped
for shoes again. As you can probably tell by now, my sister really likes
shopping for shoes.

Back in the early 90s, I went up with my mom on numerous occasions. I
remember eating at the little gyros place there with my mom at least
twice — maybe thrice.

My most intense memory of Northtown Mall was a solo trip I took up there
in 1992. I was working at the library, and there was a girl there who I
had fallen for — married but you know how that goes. It was tearing me
up inside. I had gone up looking for some new music. I ended up getting
an album by 10,000 Maniacs. Taking it to a bench in the mall I put the
cassette into my Walkman. But after a few songs I knew it really wasn't
what I was looking for. I went back to the record shop and ended up buying
Nevermind by Nirvana. I stopped at a little place and got a big coke and
put the Nirvana album on the Walkman. Almost instantly I knew that the
album was the right one for my mood. The intensity of Nirvana's music
reached down inside of me and took the nine pointed arrows stabbing at
my heart and, at least for a while, made them turn outward and dissolve.

And of course I've gone up to Northtown many times by myself to shop for
a new shirt or CD, to get a haircut or to get an eye exam at Lenscrafters.
I also bought a coffee table and an end table and a lamp at Bombay Company
at Northtown. A neighbor of mine drove me to pick all the stuff up. And I
got my print of Waterhouse's Ophelia at a print store in the mall, and the
same place also framed my print of Shakespeare. And when I got my dog Baron,
me and my mom took Baron up to the J.C. Penny's photography studio there to
have our portrait taken. The photographer rang a little bell to get Baron to
look at the camera, like they do for little children.

It is strange how places can become like haunted houses, full of the ghosts
that we carry around within our selves.

I think it's time I took another trip up to Northtown Mall. Just to shoosh
those old ghosts out again. Because not all of the ghosts are bad ones.
Some are friendly spirits. And I will smile at them, and say hello.

Bad dreams, or wonderous visions?