We had to get out. Immediately. Through frantic hand gestures, I attempted to convey the urgency to my mother, but she was chatting away with the clerk. Anyway, it was too late, because my sister recognized the scuffed-up boots and the bead necklaces and the shiny blue prom dress that had transformed her into a mermaid a decade before; the thrift store was littered with her worldly possessions, all for sale. And we had put them there.
I am a traitor. A “recovering” hoarder myself (I hear my husband scoff as I type this), I know how novelty sunglasses and ratty concert T-shirts can bewitch through nostalgia-laced spells. I’ve experienced the sense of betrayal that accompanies the discovery of personal treasures clandestinely trashed or donated. But, truly, in this instance, I was aiding and abetting for a greater good: my mom’s sanity.