The Purple Shirt: Part Three

The man behind them in line listened to everything. He held a stack of DVD’s, a hockey jersey, and two souvenir shot glasses from Las Vegas. Who buys souvenir shot glasses used, Gloria wondered, but only for a minute. The man looked at her and shook his head and right away she knew he was an ally. He had witnessed everything.

            “Don’t you think she should give me that shirt? I found it first.”

            “Yep. Finders keepers.” He looked over Gloria’s shoulder at the Mystery Bags for $5, staring so hard Gloria turned to look. A whole rack of them. $5 for what? Nobody knows. The purple shirt was $5. It made no sense.

            The old lady was collecting up her buys, including the purple shirt. The store had sworn off plastic bags so people had to trundle their own goods out the door and the old lady did just that, picking up her mound of clothes, one sleeve of the purple shirt dragging on the floor. How could she want the purple shirt so bad and then drag it around like a mop? It was unfair and sickening.

            No longer happy to shop and feeling more and more crummy about everything, Gloria followed the old lady out the front door. She watched her walk to her car. There it was, the third aisle, about halfway down. Gloria scuttled over.

            “Hey, hi again! Sorry about that in there. I feel kind of bad arguing about a shirt. I’d like to apologize.” She kept her hands in the pockets of the denim jacket that she’d bought last week at a garage sale on her block.

            “No need. People want certain things. They can’t help it.” The old lady fished in the pocket of her culottes for her car keys.

            “Well, I’m sorry I wanted that shirt so bad. What’s your name, by the way?” Gloria thought charm might still work. Maybe there was still a chance to get the shirt, but why did she care so much? It was ridiculous.

            “My name is Anglais.” She found her keys and popped the lock on her trunk.

            “Like what the French call British people, that kind of Anglais?”

            “Yeah. My name used to be Nancy.” She lifted up the trunk with one hand, still holding the massive mound of clothes. Laying in the trunk was a tangle of pants and dresses and shirts, many purple things, and so Gloria asked, “You have so many purple things, like, look, this t-shirt here! Why do you need another purple shirt? Do you even wear any of this stuff?”

            “Not really. I drive around and give stuff to people if they look like they need a shirt or something. It’s sort of a hobby.”

            “Okay, well, that sounds like a nice thing to do. I really admire people who do charity like that.” Gloria eyed the purple shirt with one sleeve still puddled on the pavement. “Tell me, Anglais, was that purple shirt you’re holding really yours to begin with, like you said? With your dog’s teeth marks and all?’

            “Of course not. You think I’m running around to all the thrift stores looking for some shirt my dog chewed?”

            “I believed you, Anglais. I really did.”

            “I know you did. Everybody does. Don’t feel bad. There are other shirts – you just gotta keep looking.” She dropped the load of clothes in the trunk, then reached down to collect the sleeve of the purple shirt, greyed by having been dragged across the parking lot, and tucked it into a space next to a bag of cat litter. She turned to face Gloria.

            “You’re not that old, you know. You’re basically just getting started on being old. You’ve got plenty of time to wear purple.” Anglais slammed the trunk closed and got in her car. She turned the key and then rolled down the window to yell out to Gloria. “Go forth, my dear. Go find what’s there.”

            Gloria nodded and turned to go back in the store. There had to be more purple shirts. Anglais was right about that. She had time to go find what’s there.


Photo by Ezequiel Garrido on Unsplash

Read The Purple Shirt: Part One HERE

Read The Purple Shirt: Part Two HERE

2 Comments on “The Purple Shirt: Part Three

  1. Ah Jan, I see where you were going with this and you did very well with your reminders 🙂 However, I will always stick to really wanting Gloria to end up with the purple shirt from an ethical standpoint.

  2. Loved Purple Shirt. I read all three parts this evening. The ending is unexpected and brought a big smile to my face. Great writing, Jan.

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