My roommate Yvette was out at dinner with our friend Carrie, and I was waiting for them to return so we could figure out what our Friday night adventures would entail. So I went through the usual motions – did the dishes, read a few pages of a magazine and finally noticed that our trash can was getting rather full. So I took out the trash, and well … came back with a cat.
In my defense, the thing followed me into my apartment, and once it was sitting in my kitchen meowing at me, I couldn’t bring myself to shoo it out the door. And besides, it had a collar with the owner’s e-mail address on it, so I figured I’d just shoot her an e-mail and tell her where we lived. By the time my roommate came home, I was in bed reading with the cat curled up at my side. What can I say? I’m easily won over.
For a few hours, we got to play at being ecstatic new pet owners. We shredded up pieces of fish filets, pounced around the living room with yarn balls and set aside a makeshift cardboard litter box just in case our guest needed to stay for the night. The owner eventually came to pick up her lost kitty, but for a while there, we had stumbled across a wonderful discovery.
This got me to thinking about the things that we lose. This year, I have lost:
My black beret (which ruins my faux French look).
My glasses (twice, but found them again both times).
My dog (twice, but he’s so fat I can chase after him and catch him with relative ease).
And the silver key on one of my charm bracelets (now there’s a heart with a keyhole on it that can’t be unlocked).
It’s a petty list, yes, of relatively unimportant items – unless you count my dog, that is. But I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t bother me just the slightest bit whenever I found myself without something that I thought I had. Every time I opened that cabinet or drawer where I swore I left something, just to find useless knick knacks and empty spaces where the important stuff was supposed to be.
I remember when I was 10, my mother brought home a bunny from the daycare where she worked.
“We’re only babysitting it for a week,” she said as we poked carrot sticks and pieces of celery through the holes of the cage.
But one afternoon, as we were playing with it, the bunny hopped away, too fast for us to follow. For days, we searched the backyard to no avail. The bunny was nowhere to be found. My mother was frantic. At one point, she wanted to go to nearby pet stores to find a similar-looking replacement bunny.
But then, one morning as I was sitting in the kitchen eating my cereal, I looked out the window into our yard and saw the bunny wriggle out from underneath our patio. And just like that – we found him again.
Whatever you lose will be found again – if not by you, then by someone else. That’s why I’m a sucker for antique stores and yard sales; I love combing through things that people have left behind, love the idea that you can turn your found objects into something amazing.
Yvette’s yearned for a cat of her own for years, so she was thrilled with my dumpster find. I don’t think the owner of the cat realized that when she lost her cat, she brought an evening of pure joy to three girls in a nearby apartment. I don’t think she could even fathom the excitement with which we went out to buy a can of cat food, and the way we cooed over the kitty as it clambered over our furniture.
I not-so-secretly believe that every time you lose something, it comes back to you. Maybe not as you expected it to, but still. It’s there, it’s unexpected and it’s a welcome surprise. Maybe it’s been waiting for you all this time. When I was cleaning out my desk this weekend, I found the key to my charm bracelet, a dull silver piece obscured by wayward ribbons and unsharpened pencils. I held it up to my bracelet, right next to the heart, and smiled. That’s where it’s supposed to go, I thought. And then I put it back in my desk for safekeeping, just until I needed it again.
TERESA PHAM would like to hear about your various springtime adventures. Send all enviable experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. XXX