I thought I lost my wallet today. It is black leather. I could imagine it lying in a puddle on the sidewalk until someone came across it. I had just been to the bank. It contained various bits of plastic, pictures of our children, and $200.
I discovered it was missing while on a long walk to a place of business. It was not in the breast pocket of my coat, which is where I typically carry it. I stopped walking and pinned the stem of my umbrella between my ear and shoulder. I could then pat myself down with both hands.
Keys? Yup. Phone? Yup. Wallet? Nope.
Should I turn and retrace my steps? I was half a mile from home. If I did, I would not have time to visit the place of business, where I wanted to hand in an important document. Monday is early dismissal from school. If I were to backtrack and then return to the place of business, I would not be home in time to meet the kids. Even just walking there and back meant I was cutting it close. And of course there was no guarantee the wallet had lain on the sidewalk long enough to get wet. A wallet containing $200 practically screams out to be picked up, audible to all except the one who dropped it. It was probably long gone.
So I went to the place of business and handed in the document. As quickly as possible I returned home, retracing my steps, including through a goose-poop minefield in a park.
Nearing home, I imagined it splayed on the walk, perhaps on the mat, outside our front door.
I entered the house, scanning the floor, the counter in the laundry room, the table in the hall.
It was on the kitchen counter, plump and dry, next to the apple bowl.
"How I have missed you," I said.
On the way to the school to meet the kids, I stomped in the puddles.