It happened late last night.
Cruising down the highway, heading home from the airport, my friend Shiv absentmindedly rifled through my passenger side door full of old computer-printed directions, parking stubs, and cracked jewel cases.
“What’s this?”, she asked, popping open a flimsy case and pulling out a dusty, scratched up mix CD. “It just has the date marked on it with a Sharpie. Uh, let’s see, what happened on November 14, 2006?”
“No way!,” I said, glancing over my shoulder and seeing one of my favorite mixes ever which I thought I lost two years ago. My mind suddenly flashed back to late summer nights zooming up the highway to my parent’s place after long nights with lost loves.
But isn’t it always like that?
Come on, you know and I know it: finding something you lost long ago after you gave up looking for it is such a great high because you already lived through all the emotions:
• Step 1. The Alarm. This is when your sunglasses or bus pass first go missing. It hits you like a rubber mallet to the forehead when you first realize it’s gone. Poof, just like that, as if your digital watch or favorite pen grew legs and Usain Bolted out of town.
• Step 2. The Search. Next you organize the neighbors and head into the dark, foggy night holding lanterns and pitchforks before linking elbows and combing the cornfields until dawn. The next few days are a blurry haze of sleepless nights as you lay on a blanket on the damp riverbed watching the police boats drag the bottom for clues.
• Step 3. The Grieve. The trawler nets can’t locate your cell phone or favorite glittery lip gloss so you’re forced to face facts and come to grips with reality. It’s gone, long gone, gone like the wind, and now all that remain are long, rambly stories late at the bar and lonely nights sobbing into your pillow.
People, we’ve all been there.
After you’ve lost, searched, and come up empty, you move on. Time helps, distance helps, but the memories never disappear. You try downloading songs from the mix tape and piecing them back together or go out and buy a new digital camera with an empty memory card to replace the one you lost with a full one.
But it’s just never the same.
… until one day
… … … a long time later
… …… … … when you least expect it
… … …… … … … the thing you lost comes back!
Yes, while unzipping the side pocket of your travel bag you suddenly spot the diamond earrings that went missing after your cousin’s wedding four years ago. While reaching into the bowels of your messy trunk looking for a flashlight, you suddenly tug on a sweatshirt sleeve that’s been buried under a set of golf clubs since the Spring. And after you slim down and toss on the sassy blazer you wore to prom, guess what’s hanging out in that inside pocket? Brother, it’s your crumpled tie or that wind-up disposable camera with half the film used up from the big night.
When this happens your eyes pop and your jaw drops because you can hardly believe you’re seeing your old friend’s face right in front of you again. Chills rocket up your spine, love sucker punches your chest, and big salty tears well in the corners of your eyes before streaming like hot rivers down your cheeks.
You laugh, sniffle, and shake your head before giving the person beside you a big hug and smiling up at the world. Clouds part, bugles blare, and everything fills up with the giant swelling sensation of
(There’s an update in the Book section)
Photos from: here, here, here, and here