Glancing at the driver’s license photo, she thought it not very flattering and dropped it in the wastebasket. She wouldn’t use the credit cards, so those got tossed too.
There were two photos. One of Sachie, the little poi dog adopted from the Honolulu Humane Society was cute, but she’d never felt much attached to her. That photo fluttered into the can.
The other photo was of the two of them when they graduated from St. Ann’s. You could barely see their heads under the loads of leis. Best friends. They’d known each other since kindergarten, been Brownies and Girl Scouts together, been a force for four years as policy debaters in the Hawai‘i Speech League. Best friends. They’d been inseparable growing up together. Soulmates.
After high school, they’d both enrolled at UH Mānoa. She had majored in fashion design and marketing, Lei in accounting. Between the two of them, they believed they had what it would take to launch a successful business.
Their strategy was to start small. Together they opened a gently used clothing and accessory store on Auahi in Kaka‘ako. The idea was to buy used clothing, purses, and the like, refurbish them if necessary, and then resell them. To develop clientele, they believed the bes strategy was not to charge exorbitant markups, and they develop a loyal group of customers quickly.
So quickly, in fact, that after some negotiation with the landlord, they leased the unit next door and tore down the wall between the two units, thus doubling their square-footage.
One day she had gone to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato. Upon returning, she found that Lei had purchased three items, a leather jacket, a Louis Vuitton handbag, and a beautiful wallet made by some company with an unfamiliar name.
She was immediately taken by the wallet. It was slightly larger than a checkbook with the kind of gold clasp she associated with wallets of her youth. It was the fabric, however, that caught her eye in particular. At first glance, the wallet seemed to be a plainish beige, but as you moved the wallet in the light, a rainbow of colors appeared, changing as the light reflected off the fabric at different angles.
“This is a keeper,” said Lei, undoing the wallet clasp and feeling the soft interior with her index finger. “I am definitely adding this to my collection.”
That Lei admired the wallet didn’t bother her, of course. Lei had impeccable fashion taste. But that she wanted it too most certainly did upset her. Rarely had she been so instantly enamored by a purchased piece. A bit guiltily, she found herself inwardly cursing her lifelong friend’s having laid hands on the wallet first. She did not, however, say anything about it.
The next day Lei came in an announced she’d fallen in love with the wallet so much so, that she’d decided it would be her everyday wallet until it might begin to show any signs of wear. She deemed it well-made, however, and again wondered at her good luck for having been offered the gorgeous wallet.
Lei would find some way, every day, to mention the wallet and how happy it made her. Her irritation with Lei grew steadily.
Two weeks had passed, and Lei had headed out to the bank to make the daily deposit. With no customers at the moment, while sitting near the register wondering what little comment Lei might make about the wallet sometime in the course of the day, she noticed something.
Glancing at the register, she realized to her great amazement that Lei had left the wallet beside it. She blinked. It was still there. How could Lei forget it? The wallet had become a third hand for her. To forget it like this, well, that was unbelievable.
She looked toward the door, even though she knew Lei would be gone for half-an-hour or so. She picked up the wallet and moved it to watch it catch the light. The pearlescent light show mesmerized her.
When Lei returned she said, “Geez, I couldn’t get my Starbucks because I forgot my wallet.”
She said nothing.
“Now let’s see,” Lei continued, “I think I must have left it by the register.” She came behind the counter. “Hmmm, maybe not.”
She said nothing.
“You haven’t seen it, have you?”
“Who me? Oh no, sorry, Lei. I haven’t.”
Off and on throughout the rest of the day, Lei would speculate aloud about where the wallet might be. This steadily irritated her more, almost as much as Lei’s daily glorying in possessing the wallet.
Finally she said, “Lei, maybe you did leave it by the register. We had a number of customers while you were out making the deposit. I’ll bet one of them saw the wallet and took it.”
Lei’s face drooped, her head dropped. “Oh no. You don’t think someone would actually do a thing like that, do you?”
“Well, you know people these days. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.”
By the end of the day Lei was completely depressed, not only by not finding the wallet, but by the idea that someone would take it as well. After closing she watched Lei trod crestfallen out the door. Her last words were, “Now I have to call the credit card companies, and I’ll need to go the DMV to get a new license. How could they? How could they?”
She smiled as the door closed, then headed out herself. On the way to her car, she stopped and bought a caramel macchiato. It tasted so good. Much better than usual. This barista was definitely a keeper.
Later, after she ate, she sat down at the kitchen table and took the wallet out of her purse. As she dropped the various items into the trashcan, she marveled at the play of light and color.
There had been nothing of value really, besides the wallet itself. Other than that there was just the money. Of course she could always use cash. She kept that.
* * * * *
Aloha #WriterWednesday, I hope you are making it through the week is good spirits. Today’s #WritingPrompt is
Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or post it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )