I was moving too fast: I had just 10 minutes to catch my coach to London from Bristol and I decided I had just enough time to try on a tunic top that was on display in the Debenham’s window.
Tried it on, bought it, made the bus with seconds to spare…and realized I’d left my favourite gloves–a pair of hand-cut, hand-stitched leather ones made in Newfoundland especially for my small hands–in the dressing room. Sigh.
But now, on the long drive back to the city I find myself thinking about all the things I’ve lost before–small things of little value except for the memories they hold.
Earrings. Watches. Once, a purse. Even a special umbrella.
And in the moments after they were lost, each became somehow more precious to me than it had been when it was actually in my custody. I took them for granted, or at least, didn’t cherish them sufficiently, when I actually had them in hand.
And then they are gone, usually by my own stupid negligence, and suddenly it’s as if someone has ripped the locks off my memory vault and the circumstances surrounding the original acquisition of said object come pouring out.
My gloves were bought for $110 at a time many years ago when I was perennially short of money.
They were an extravagance that made me feel sick after I left the shop–a family-run tannery in rural Newfoundland. But I had felt a connection with the young owners who were trying to make a go of it with a young family and a small business in a little-travelled corner of the world.
My husband and I were in a similar position in our lives. My husband ran a critically, but not financially, successful restaurant on a small island in western Canada. I wanted them to succeed as much as I wanted us to succeed.
I think their business, Neptune Leatherworks, may be gone now, but I hope their marriage and family bonds are still strong. Mine are.
I may get the gloves back; I’ll get in touch with the store and see if they can send them back to Canada. And if not, then I hope whoever acquires them senses that they are special and should be treated with respect.
I will buy new gloves in London–it’s colder here than I was prepared for–and I will no doubt take them for granted. Unless I lose them too.
And then I will remember this bus ride and the slant of golden light on the copses in the distance near Oxford where my child-dad once traded gifts with Italian prisoners-of-war. And that’s a memory worth the price of a new pair of gloves.
How about you? Have you ever lost something that became more precious after you lost it?