Lost & Found

You know that feeling when you miss something so much that its absence leaves an empty void and you just sit there, aching and purposeless and unsure of how to go on?

I lost my phone for nine hours on Friday, and let me tell you, I have never experienced such an amalgam of terror and rage and loss and guilt before. That is, unless you count the last time I lost my phone, and the time before that, and the time before the time before that…

Yeah, so I probably deserved it. Didn’t make it any less horrible, though.

Usually, I just misplace my phone. Sometimes I’m in a rush to leave the house and forget to take it with me, sometimes it’s hidden under my sheets, sometimes it’s just charging. (It takes me an equally long time to find my phone no matter where it’s hidden because I have a habit of muting my phone.) This time, I actually dropped it on the way to morning practice.

Morning practice for drill team starts at 6:45 AM. It was 6:45 AM when I patted my jacket pockets and realized my phone had disappeared. A step outside the dance studio, I was faced with a choice: go back to the parking lot to check if I’d dropped my phone, worth hundreds of dollars, or continue into the studio, on time, to avoid the punishment of one hundred high kicks.

I walked inside. I’d told myself there was no guarantee I’d actually dropped it outside, but, really, we all know I was just lazy.

At the end of practice, around 8:15 AM, I walked back outside. No phone, but plenty of suspicious people milling around. (I consider anyone who voluntarily arrives earlier than 8:50 to school suspicious.)

I decided I’d probably left my phone at home, mostly because that was the simplest option.

After an entire school day of involuntary finger spasms and staring at other people stare at their phones, I burst into my house, intent on making up for lost time.

Step-by-step process of I look for things

  1. Try and retrace steps.
  2. Fail to remember steps. Instead, stand in doorway of every room and conduct quick scan.
  3. Open every cupboard/drawer/storage space.
  4. Become frustrated. Smash head into wall.
  5. Remind myself that everything is always found in the last place I look. Feel motivated.
  6. Remember that #5 is a trick.
  7. Clean out room in hopes of finding item.

While #7 has an approximate 10% success rate of finding the actual item I’m looking for, at least I gain a clean room out of it. Well, semi-clean—I usually get distracted midway when I unearth items I never knew I’d lost, or even had to begin with—which is probably something I should change, considering that I only ever organize my room after I’ve lost something.

Things I found instead of my phone

  1. A bag full of rabbit hair
  2. The Calculus test review I’d lost four months ago
  3. Probably all the pencils I’ve ever lost and blamed other people for stealing
  4. A collection of cat whiskers AND IT WASN’T MINE

Long story short, my phone wasn’t anywhere in my house, so I returned to school and tried the Lost & Found as a last resort.

“I lost my phone,” I said, already turning to leave. In my twelve years of school, I’d never once found anything in L&F. I figured if I couldn’t find a lunch box or a pencil bag, I surely wasn’t going to find my phone.

“Actually, I think I might have it,” the secretary said, reaching into a drawer. “What does it look like?”

I froze, mid-step. And sprinted back to her. “The case is kind of kaleidoscopic, or dream-catcher-y, with pink and blue and purple and yellow—”

The lady held my phone out to me.

I continued babbling, thinking I needed to further describe it to prove it was mine. “And the wallpaper is of a cat and the cat is white—”

She gave her hand, still holding my phone, a little shake, like “that’s enough,” and I cradled it reverently in my arms. I had never seen, and probably will never see, a more beautiful sight.

I assume that will come when I feel this way about an actual person.


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