Many years ago, I was given a gorgeous pair of aquamarine earrings for my birthday. They fell off my bedside table and I sucked them up in the vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner bag eventually went into the rubbish bin, which was collected by a rubbish truck, and then dumped into the mouth of a Sarlacc. At least, I think that’s what happened. It is sufficient to say that I never saw those pretty earrings again.
Yesterday, I found my dog chewing on something metallic. I did what every good dog owner does and wrestled him to the floor, shoved my hand down his throat and screamed, “Drop it!” After a few gags, he obliged. A sapphire earring dropped with a loud clunk to the floor. My perplexed search of the house failed to unearth the other half of the pair. I sat on the couch, entertaining a series of visions involving me hunting down each and every turd my dog laid over the coming week, and carefully squishing my way through them until the earring emerged (never to be worn again).
Fortunately, a second, this time frantic, panicked, desperate search, soon turned up the lost earring, and the cosy pair were squirrelled away into the safe keeping of my jewellery box.
I’ve never told my spouse about all the times I’ve “misplaced” my engagement ring.
In my life, I have owned three nice things: the aquamarine earrings, the sapphire earrings, and the engagement ring.
I shouldn’t have nice things.
Of course, other things have a way of disappearing from my life. I try not to think about leaving an entire backpack of my favourite clothes at a hippy festival in Tocumwal. I don’t even know where Tocumwal is anymore either.
I’m loathe to mention the time I left my purse, laden with money and credit cards, on a table in a busy nightclub on the Gold Coast. I was flirting with some guy with such focus that it took me a full hour to realise I was bereft of dosh. I raced back to the nightclub, plunged through the sweaty crowd and found my wallet sitting on the table beside a snogging couple. I slumped down beside them, blurting my relief into their disinterested faces. A lot of passion was extinguished in that moment.
Somewhere at the Flemington Race Course, my beautiful linen jacket is still folded neatly over a railing, awaiting my return.
I once found a pretty crocheted cardigan and a purse in the back of a cab. I opened the purse and looked at the driver’s licence. There was the face of a kindred spirit; one who doesn’t know where her things are at any point in time, one who forgets she is holding something so allows it to slip from her hand to the floor, one who puts precious items in precarious places and then laments her own thoughtless, useless, vague little brain.
I had to meet her.
The following day, I drove to the address on the driver’s licence. I thought about her short hair and wide hazel eyes; the cute cardigan suited her. I would compliment her taste. She’d be so grateful for my help. I’d mention my own forgetfulness. We’d laugh. She’d invite me into her trendy but ruffled house. We’d have coffee. We’d talk for hours and keep catching up for coffee and tea and then graduate to wine and become best friends for the rest of our lives.
I knocked on her front door and waited. It swung open a moment later and there she was, in all her befuddled, distracted glory.
“Hi, I found your things in the back of a cab last night.”
I held out her belongings and my heart.
“Oh, thanks,” she took the cardigan and the purse, “I always forget stuff.”
“Yes, yes. Me too.”
She nodded, smiled. She closed the door on my face. She didn’t notice she had dropped the cardigan on the doorstep.
I stared at the door. I stared at the cardigan. I stared at the door some more.
I picked up the cardigan and went home.
Some people don’t deserve nice things.