I remember I worked from home for most of the day on Monday. I had a meeting in the afternoon at the office and after that I was going to meet up with some old colleagues for a couple of pints and possibly a meal. I remember deciding that I wouldn't bring my laptop into the office for the afternoon.
Not needed. Not for the amount of time I'll be in the office.
Because I wasn't bringing my laptop, I didn't need to bring my backpack. One of my shoulder bags big enough to fit my small moleskin notebook would do just fine.
Wait ... what about your book?
The book I'm reading is pretty fat, so I needed to go for the bigger of my shoulder bags, the one I bought at REI when I was in the States and the exchange rate went to my head and I couldn't stop spending. It’s a Haiku, the bag I packed for my journey into town; packed with my moleskin notebook, pens, oyster card and camera, wallet, comb, and my favourite pair of specs. I looked for my fat book exactly where I last remembered seeing it: on top of the storage bench where we keep our surplus linens. It wasn't there. I looked in the TV room, in the bedroom, in the office. I looked in the bathroom and in the basement.
Could I have brought it down with me when I started the laundry?*
I checked everywhere a second time, and the most obvious places a third time. It wasn't in the bedroom or the office or the basement or the TV room or the kitchen. I began to panic. I had been looking forward to reading my fat book on the bus ride into town. Time was ticking away. I could not - should not - be late for my afternoon meeting, which was with my boss' boss and would possibly decide my future.
Where is it?!!! God damn it! Where is it?!!
I couldn't afford to wait anymore. I had to leave, bookless.
I remember that evening I wore my glasses off and on. Sometimes crystal clear vision isn't necessary, and sometimes my glasses feel like they are gripping my head and squashing my temples like a vice or orthopaedic foot braces like the kind Forrest Gump had to wear … only they are on my head. So, sometimes, I take them off even if I can't see very well.
I remember talking with one of my former colleagues and being afraid that I was going cross eyed, so I put my specs back on. That was the last time I remembered seeing my specs. The next morning I went to Brussels. I had found my fat book. It had been inside the linen box. I’d remembered putting the freshly washed linens that my visiting brother-in-law had recently slept on into the storage bench. The fat book had indeed been atop the bench. In order to put the freshly washed linens away, I had had to balance the linens in one hand, the book in the other, and hold the top of the bench open with a knee. I’d remembered putting the book down inside the storage bench - only temporarily - but I must have closed the bench before retrieving the fat book and in that instant my mind was somewhere else, and I didn’t realise the fat book – for as fat as it might be – had been hidden away and out of sight. Fortunately, I remembered all this before I left for Brussels.
I thought I had packed my favourite specs for the trip to Brussels, but I had gotten home quite late, and I was a little tipsy. Bleary-eyed and keen to get to bed, I hastily packed my overnight bag and forgot to pack my favourite specs.
Or did I?
Two days later and at home and getting ready for the next day at work, I decided I wanted to wear my favourite specs. I looked in the decorative bowl I bought in Haiti in 1992 when my then-boyfriend flew me all the way to Port-au-Prince in order to break up with me in person. My souvenir from that exotic break-up sits by the front door where it keeps those little things that are so often useful when going out the front door: dog poo bags, specs, sunglasses, building passes for customer sight. My favourite specs weren’t there.
Nor were they in the suitcase or backpack I had taken to Brussels. Nor were they in the shoulder bag I had taken out the last time I remembered using them. I thought about my outfit that night.
No, no pockets would have held them that night.
I looked everywhere and imagined them lost.
Did they fall out in the tube? Pulling something else out of your bag, maybe they fell and you were too looped to notice. God damn it. Did I take them to Brussels? Did I leave them in the hotel room? No, no you unpacked the contents of your bag onto the bed .. remember? They were definitely not there. God damn it! God damn it! Those were my favourite specs! Even if they did squash my temples.
This morning, whilst looking for a lipstick in my big(ger) shoulder bag, I discovered a secret pocket that I had forgotten about, and I found my glasses!
Tomorrow, the lost will be something else.
*Right now, at this very moment, while typing this sentence I remember the load of laundry I started this morning before I got in the shower. I had meant to move it into the dryer before I left for the day. God damn it! I forgot.