I have a story for you, a long and involved story with no particular point,
a story about a purple back-pack I bought the summer I visited New Jersey
and your brother hid under the board walk with a dollar in his hand
to slide between the slats, and we tried not to laugh when people stooped to reach for it.
I took it home and started college – started trying to fit every book on
Kate Chopin into it, late night snacks, a water bottle when my sister insisted.
I lost keys and my Burt’s Bees in it, finding them again with effort.
Soon, a tear reached from one end of the front zipper to another-
My sister was binding books with wax thread, and I applied an orange strand
giving the bag an appearance of teeth.
I took it to the ocean and filled it with salt and sand
I took it to Mom’s and she filled it with soap and warm water.
The week before I was going to fly to Colorado to meet his mom, I left it in
the front seat of the car, parking on a side street, heading to Art Walk without it.
I got halfway home that night before I realized: My wallet, my makeup bag, my notes
from class, my keys and the keys to the house I was petsitting for, well,
they had vanished.
We started a city wide search
We filed a report at the Station
We combed the surrounding bushes and trash cans, hoping, swearing it would never
happen again if just please, let me find it.
I returned home without my purple back pack.
The next day, we got a call from the Police, the Jacksonville Police, who were going to
file a missing persons report because a backpack and ID were found in a ditch.
My Mother said “No, she’s right here, I’m looking right at her.”
We met at the Gate gas station on I-95 and there, on the hood of the Sherrif’s Car,
I saw my backpack. It was wet with dew, my keys and cards were missing, and most of my makeup was ruined. The orange wax thread was gone – the bag smiled a toothless smile at me as it passed from Officer to Owner.
I had my ID, I had more wax thread, the culprits spent $199 in gas and split town, flinging my bag from the passenger side as they fled west.
Someone found my beautiful bag in the ditch on a country road while Geocaching. They called to Police to file a missing persons report, and kindly placed it in their hands, where it found it’s way back into mine.
My mom washed my bag, not for the last time, and later that week I flew to the mountains. It only seemed fair that we should both take in the view.