The Purloined Shirt

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In the Alzheimer’s facility where my husband’s mother lives, there’s a resident that the staff refers to as a “shopper”, their term for someone who wanders into other people’s rooms and takes things.  “It’s not a problem,” we were assured.  “We eventually find the stuff and get it back where it belongs.  Just so you know.”  One day this woman, who is more social than a lot of the residents, came and stood talking to us — wearing my mother in law’s favorite blouse.  This isn’t an ordinary shirt that could be confused with one that a lot of people might own —  it’s a blue and tan striped silky thing with a whole lot of of ruffles down the front.  She stood there in the doorway smiling and though I’m pretty sure it was my imagination, I thought she looked just a teensy bit smug.  At first I felt upset — the blouse had been my mother-in-law’s favorite.  Then I realized that I needed to let go of that.  It didn’t matter one little bit, no one cared and the shirt actually looked very nice on this woman.  The next time we visited, the purloined shirt — looking none the worse for wear — was back on my mother-in-law.

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