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Five Moments in the Park

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“Do we have anything larger than triple-X?” Carter asks; they point her at a pile of trash bags on the park bench, donated items that didn’t make it onto the racks. She discards the garish circus-tent mumu -- it’s the wrong shape, and overkill -- and picks out her best guess.

“Not a lot of options,” she tells the woman when she returns.

“There never are,” the woman replies. “But it’s something, at least.”

The handicap stall (tarps and PVC) gives them privacy as Carter helps the woman struggle out of her stretched-out t-shirt and malformed denim shorts. No underwear, and the donated packs aren’t nearly big enough. With Carter’s assistance, she manages to get into a pair of spandex tights -- the only feasible option, given her lipedema. Shirts are much easier; they find two t-shirts that fit her, and then a stretchy turtleneck that works fine after Carter slices open the front of the neckpiece.

The old clothes get set to the side -- for the dumpster, after the woman’s gone. Carter imagines that they haven’t been off her body since she got them; maybe they got washed when the woman showered. The smell doesn’t bother Carter; she’s been around far worse.