I’ve lost my car keys.
I remember the exact moment I last had them — a Thursday afternoon, getting home after hustling two kids home from their day’s-end activities, jostling our various bags and stray mittens and re-closing the car door on Isaac’s side. I had to leave again almost immediately after, and when I did I couldn’t find my keys.
They’re somewhere, of course. Logically, they’re somewhere in the 25 or so paces between the car and the house, buried under a layer or two of snow, perhaps by now shovel-tossed into the garden or our neighbour’s yard. Or, worse, they somehow got shovelled down to the end of the driveway and have been mangled by a snowplow or have fallen into a grating.
They’re somewhere. But I don’t know where. And this is maddening. And not only because it’ll cost $150 or so to replace them.
It seems to be the season of losing things – so many layers, so many pockets, that who knows what ends up where? We lost a library book, one that I swear I had just seen and then — no. Not behind the back of a child’s bed or anywhere on the bookshelves I combed through obsessively, fretting less over the $4.99 replacement cost than the fact that it should have been there. If I could just see it. Rachel has lost a hat — her favourite hat, naturally; the one that fits just perfectly under her hood. Of course, it’s black, and relatively small (just like my car keys), could easily be mistaken for a sock, shoved in a drawer. In a bizarre twist of fate, she’s also lost her house keys, which has rendered our household some perverse iteration of the Hotel California: she can’t check out, and I can never leave.
I lost a ring once: a 13th birthday present from my cousin, Nancy, who had had her own 13th-birthday ring restyled and resized for me. It flipped off a beach towel into long grass at my summer camp, where I had foolishly worn it. That was nearly 30 years ago, and I still feel that I could never properly look Nancy in the eye again. I haven’t since. I’d love to. And I can’t bear the thought.
Perhaps not coincidentally, we’re reading The Borrowers with Isaac.
We lose swimming goggles, recipes, Rowan’s piano homework sheets, still more books, the New York Times Magazine (recovered behind a chair in Rowan’s room: “Why would I have the New York Times?” he asked, as though I might have a decent answer for him). We lose mittens, Tupperware lids, gym membership cards, Isaac’s sneakers, my favourite hoodie, bobby pins to hold back Rowan’s hair. We forget the music back for piano lessons, the swimming bag for swimming lessons, the reusable bags for the grocery store, come back and run around and dig up what we can and go forth, go forth, go forth into the day.