Let me tell you about my wallet — it was pink (OK, faded pink). Yes, it was because I left it behind on a transit bus I’d boarded from Dallas to Austin. You see, my wallet was bulky, and bursting at its seams. It was filled with trinkets, plastics, and paper.
Trinkets which were mementos collected over the years; items that are useless to others but have significance to me. Plastics which I used to swipe on other plastic machines that go beep and light up, as my account balance goes boop and goes down. Yeah, my credit and debit cards! Other plastics of honorable mentions include my library card, membership cards to my golf club, health spa, Starbucks card, etc.
To say that I was devastated at that moment would be an understatement. That transit bus was Megabus and even though I called their customer service right away (literally, minutes after the bus left), they couldn’t do much because according to them, they could not contact the driver as it was already in transit to its final stop in San Antonio. So, I did what any rational person would in a panic mode — I called a friend, or in my case, two friends. They both bought my idea of chasing the bus all the way to San Antonio. So, they picked me up on campus and we headed straight to San Antonio. Did I mention that this was past 11 pm on a Monday evening?! Oh yeah, let me let that sink in a bit.
Now that you’ve digested that piece of information let’s move on. We drove to San Antonio and made it there in an hour but alas we missed the bus by a few minutes. During the ride, my friends used some distracting techniques on me in a bid to allay my fears. They told me of their tales of woes of missing wallets and how most of them were eventually found. We (OK, I ) jokingly cast a jinx on the bus by hoping that the driver would come down with a bad case of diarrhea which would force him to stop the bus midway and gain us some time to San Antonio. Thankfully, I don’t think that prayer materialized.
We headed back to Austin right away and didn’t make it home until after 1 am. On our ride back to Austin, when it dawned on me that I may not likely see my wallet again, I began doing a mental recollection of the contents of my wallet. Within minutes, using my phone, I was able to call my banks and affiliate business centers to report each of my cards missing. I was also able to order new ones to be mailed within 5–7 business days. I planned my itinerary for the next day to replace my library card, driver’s license, and other ID cards. Just when I’d thought that I was done taking a mental stock of all the contents of my wallet and with replacing all I could possibly replace, I stopped short at one item that popped in my brain, and my heart shuddered at the thought that I would never be able to replace this again.
It was a piece of paper measuring about 2 x 2" — a Polaroid picture I’d taken of my husband early in the summer. It was my favorite picture of him yet (not just because I took it) but because it represented how I always picture him whenever I close my eyes (especially now that he has moved out of state for work purposes) — cool as the sea breeze and a breath of fresh air. It was this realization that made me cry, so I let the giant teardrops roll down my eyes and chubby face to mourn the loss of something I held so dear. What a loss, or so I thought to myself.
I am yet to find my wallet. I have since then gotten a new one; no, it’s not pink, it’s a black and white one. This time around I promise to keep it leaner and free of too many mementos. I have also replaced all (most) my plastics, trinket, and papers. While it’s likely, I’d never find my pink wallet to retrieve that Polaroid picture, I am okay with that especially because my husband promised to recreate the picture when next he comes to visit in Austin.
I learned three things that night:
I have good and amazing friends; ones willing to jump in their cars and drive me on a wild goose chase all the way to SA at an odd hour of the night.
We can always create new memories. What is today for, if not to generate the contents of tomorrow’s memories?
Loss is relative; life is for the living, and as long as you still have breath, there’s always hope even in times of despair. Another thing that helped me reshape my perspective on loss was my friend who died in a freak accident last year. He was so full of life but all that was cut short within seconds. Yes, I may have lost my wallet, yes, I may lost my trinkets, paper, and plastics but I still have my life.
So ask yourself when next you think you may have lost something, be it a friendship, your keys, or even your wallet (*knocks on wood*)? What have you lost, really?