Cast Offs

“I took a nap, I don’t know, Tuesday? On the massage table listening to the tape, you know the one I had made of my personal resonating sounds? And I had a VERY important dream.” Shiela opened her purse, took out a smaller purse that held her tea bags and set one on the table waiting for the waitress to bring her pot of hot water. “One thing I like about this place when you ask for a pot of hot water they bring you a pot of hot water. Some places actually bring you a GLASS.”

“What was the dream?” Lissa hated her friend’s way of descending in to quotidian bitching and, anyway, she was sure Sheila had imbued the dream with deep meaning.

“Oh, the dream. I woke up and had only one thought, ‘Share with the poor.’ You know what I did?”

“No. No idea.”

“I cleaned my closet. I separated the worn stuff from the wearable stuff. You know what, Lissa? I have a LOT of clothes I never wear.”

Lissa looked down at her plate. Sheila’s taste and hers were pretty different, still. Sheila bought a lot of beautiful clothes, even if they were more along the lines of hippy-boho-chic than Lissa would ever buy. She swallowed hard. “What did you do?”

“Oh, I haven’t finished yet. I bagged up the stuff I wouldn’t wear but someone would and took it to Goodwill. Then, the stuff I could wear but never do? I’m not sure. I have to give it to the poor, but I’m not sure a lot of it is useful to the poor.”


The waitress appeared with Sheila’s hot water. Sheila filled her cup and put in the tea bag. “I always bring my own tea bags,” she said, something Lissa had known for years and years. “Ginger and green tea.” Lissa knew that, too.

“Sheila, I’m the poor.”


“Well, yeah. I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. I was just lucky to find a halfway decent suit for my interview last month.”

“Yeah, but you don’t want my cast-offs.”

“Why don’t I? Either I go through them when they get hung on the rack at Goodwill or you just give them to me.” Lissa laughed. “I mean, you know.

Sheila did know. Lissa was a pro at what she did, but it didn’t pay well and when her husband had left her for another woman, he’d left Lissa with the house and a lot of debt. Lissa worked hard to keep body and soul together. The waitress appeared with their lunches and set the plates carefully in front of them.

“You want to come over after lunch? We can go through all that stuff.”

Lissa was suddenly embarrassed. Why had she said anything? She stuck her fork into the tofu, spinach and walnut lasagna that was a specialty here at Kung Fud. “Never mind, Sheila. I feel weird now.”

“It’s OK, Lissa. I should have thought. But we really don’t have the same taste, do we?”

Lissa shook her head. “No, not really.”

The two women dropped the subject and went on to the usual, Sheila’s problems with her SO and Lissa’s struggles at work. By the time they’d finished lunch they’d forgotten all about the wardrobe discussion. The next time they met for lunch, though, Sheila handed Lissa a package. “I thought you would appreciate this. It’s a work of art.”

Lissa opened it and found inside a hand dyed, hand made Ikat kimono. She looked up at Sheila.

“I got it back in the days I was going back and forth to Japan. I’ve never worn it. I guess it could be a robe or a light coat, but isn’t it beautiful?

And it was.

6 thoughts on “Cast Offs

  1. I give all the good wearable stuff to MY best friend and she gives me stuff that SHE doesn’t wear (we even wear the same size shoes). Sometimes, we just swap things because we get something new without buying it.

  2. Thrifting isn’t just thrifty, it’s fun! My youngest teen and I both love 1950’s stuff especially. Whoever is first to touch it on the rack gets first dibs. 🙂 She found a vintage glee club letterman’s sweater the other day. I would have passed on that one, but she liked it.

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