When I was a child, my favorite books were The Borrowers series by Mary Norton. These stories are about tiny people who live under the floors and “borrow” things from the normal-sized household above. Why was I never convinced the Borrowers were fantasy? Well, because I had proof to the contrary, of course.
I had learned to live with the disappearance—and sometimes reappearance—of things, but then it started happening to one of my sons. He had mentioned his problem for a while, but I didn’t think much of it until one night when I experienced it with him. I passed by his room and stopped to say goodnight. He was a college freshman at the time and was sitting up in bed writing something for a class. This son is a jazz musician, I think his brain works best at night, so as often happened just as my brain was shutting down, he posed a philosophical question and, tired as I was, I could not resist the bait.
For the first fifteen minutes or so of our conversation, he still held a pen in his hand, but at one point, he laid down the pen to gesture with both hands. We talked for a while and then I told him I needed to get to sleep. He reached to pick up his pen and couldn’t find it. As he searched, he said, “See, Mom, this is what I’ve been telling you about. Things just disappear.” He shook out the book and notebook he’d been using. We searched all the bedclothes and even pulled the bed out from the wall to search the floor around his bed. He never found that pen. That’s the kind of thing I’ve been experiencing the last couple months, only sometimes things reappear.
First in this series was the card with my Ford Explorer keypad code. This is not a slip of paper, it’s hard plastic, the size of a credit card. One day last month I realized I had never memorized that number and asked my husband if he knew it. He said he didn’t, but he should probably write it down and carry it in his wallet, in case I ever locked myself out of my car. So, I went to my wallet to get the card. It wasn’t there. Hmmm. I tried to think of every place I might have put it and looked in every one of them. I went back to my wallet and took every single card out of the credit card slots … every single one. Not there. And then, two weeks later, I opened my wallet and—ta da! It was exactly where it should have been the first time I looked for it.
Next, I lost a gold ring. In my mind’s eye, I see myself taking it and my watch off and threading the ring on the watchband. The problem is my watch is in my jewelry box and the ring is not. Nor have I found it anywhere else in the house.
Then I bought Laura Best’s book Bitter, Sweet. I was in the midst of reading three other books when I got hers, but I started hers too. Writing intervened and my reading progress slowed even more, but I grabbed her book as often as I could. Then, one day almost two weeks ago, I decided it was just too ridiculous that I hadn’t managed to make it through her 144-page book, so I determined to finish it that day. The trouble was, I couldn’t find the book! I looked everywhere in the house, on the patio, in the car. It’s such a small book that I made an extra effort to look closely through every book stack and bit of paper clutter to make sure I wasn’t overlooking it. It will turn up, I told myself. But for the next ten days it didn’t, though I continued to look.
Lately, I’ve been researching poetry so I can write some for my first Creativity Workshop goal. I have one of my literary son’s big, old textbooks here and I’ve been reading a lot of poetry in that. So on Monday night, after reading from this book, I laid it down on the table beside my rocking chair. Last night, I picked it up again and lo and behold … there lay my copy of Laura’s book! I had looked on this table, of course, more than once, actually. I had picked up the three sheets of paper, the spiral notebook, and the magazine lying there … individually, not as a group. The book was not there!
Hmmm. Now, if The Borrowers would just return that ring …
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