Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Comes From Thrift

When things are bad, really bad.  When I’m both enraged and in tears, frustrated and furious.  When I feel as if there’s no one I can turn to  for one reason or another, real or perceived  I will head out to a thrift store to find comfort.  

There is a certain routine. I quickly work the perimeter of the store going through furniture, housewares, glassware, and most important, art.  I may find a treasure, I may not.  Next  on to the racks.  In this store, first I go through Men’s, looking for my husband, son, possible male gift?  Unless I have a specific need or something catches my eye  I skip over Children’sthen head for Women’s  avoiding the nightgowns, gowns, vests, sweaters and scrubs.  Tops first. Hanger by hanger, I flip through the long line of fabrics, patterns, styles and sizes of the shirts on the long, long rack.  The only thing uniting the arrangement of these tops is sleeve length.  

Through the small, large, extra small, 8Ps and 20Ws, my eye is mostly focused on finding for everybody else.  A pair of jeans, white background with a large print comprised of colorful license plates in tones of green, brown, blue, yellow, and black. Terrific for somebody, but whose that size?  And would wear them?  I think of someone who might be perfect, but I don’t know her well, her size or her taste. Should I buy it anyway and take a risk?  I think of the things in my guest closet (really my gift closet) and wisely decide NO.  The whole time I’m crying but the good thing is, filing through the clothes, staring at the rack, hanger by hanger, eyes cast down   this behavior doesn't draw attention cause it’s what people do.  

I see a sleeveless stretch top with a dance-wear label.  A gorgeous Chinese print in pretty butternut-golds, orangey-reds, emerald-greens, and shock of blue, determined dragon on the front and all.  It's a definite taste but would be way cool on somebody.  I’m buying it. $3.39 plus tax, and  it has the original tag  $40.00.

I continue on pushing past the plaids, polka dots, paisleys, stripes, sea shells, embroidered Halloween motifs, and solids.  Still looking.  Avoid the blacks.  I have so much black in my closet. Go for color.  And I do look for color.  I really try but why is it I always find something I like in black?

Why come to the thrift store looking, looking, looking?  What about it comforts me?  
With my body shielded by row after row of clothes, with my head buried in those racks, my eyes completely focused on assessing the stock before me  suddenly, it hits me.  

In spite of the tears, in spite of my sadness, feeling as if I’m bereft, for that moment I can pretend  that my mother and sister are there with me, a few racks behind, shopping and searching.  Maybe I’ll hear one of them call out  “Look at what I found for you!” because they would be there looking for ME.


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