Last Friday afternoon, as I was walking home, I lost an earring. This happens sometimes, but I was particularly sad to lose this one. A friend had given me the pair about a year ago, for no particular reason, and I loved the way I felt when I wore them. They were gold colored, larger than anything I normally buy myself and made me feel glamorous, cool and mysterious. They were some powerful earrings.
I lost the earring walking home, listening to my iPod, feeling free and airy. I didn’t notice until I got into my apartment and pulled the earbuds from my ears and realized that one side of my head felt a lot lighter than the other. I experienced a wave of loss, of pain, of guilt (for having lost a gift) and then a wave of acceptance. The earring was gone and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I tucked the remaining gold circle into a drawer (out of sight, out of mind), and incorporated this very small loss into my understanding of the world.
Today, as I was walking home, I happened to glance down at the sidewalk at 31st and Market. Lying in the cracks of the sidewalk was a piece of my earring. I stopped midstride, and bent down, my voice falling off from the sentence I had been speaking to my mom via cell phone. There were two pieces of the missing earring, obviously close to where I had lost them. My mom chirped in my ear, wondering where I had gone, worrying that maybe I had been hurt. I picked up the pieces and kept walking, marveling at the wonder of finding anything of the earring at all, especially after the torrential rains we had over the weekend and last night.
I don’t like to lose things, and don’t consider myself someone who does so. I’ve always been organized, observant and careful, especially with my possessions. This was in direct contract to my sister who would always cut, alter, color or scribble on anything she obtained, so as to make it as close to perfectly-hers as she could. I liked to keep things pristine, as neighborly to it’s original state of newness as possible. So when I do lose something I spend a moment berating myself up with these questions:
Where did you lose it?
How could you not be paying attention?
Should you even be allowed to have nice things?
Finding the pieces of that earring today for some reason helped me let go of these questions, and realize that it doesn’t matter. I’m not entirely sure what the relationship is between the discovery and the release, other than the fact that it felt so unusual, so otherworldly to find altered pieces of what had once been mine on a street that thousands of feet had traveled since the earring and I parted ways. It was a reminder that things are never really lost, they still exist but it’s just that we don’t have them anymore. I don’t think that I will ever like to lose things (who does?), but I feel a whole lot more comfortable with it now than I used to.