Prodigal Sunglasses

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

FLASH Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 19

It was too hot out for the black hoodie, even with the sleeves rolled to the elbow. My phone call also distracted me. There was a fair amount of wind noise roaring through my tiny earbuds as I chatted with my boss. Several things were competing for my attention. I remember hooking the sunglasses over the zippered junction in the hoodie. I do this such that only one leg of the glass sticks out from my jacket. This way, they are less likely to shake loose. I still did just that – lose my oversized, nerdy sunglasses that fit more or less neatly over my prescription eyeglasses.

Nothing moves me into an OCD cycle quicker than losing something. Once, years ago, I lost a screwdriver in my apartment, a tool I had been using earlier that day. I searched for it compulsively, searching the same areas over and over. It was driving me crazy. Eventually, I invented a probable fiction; I told myself that a workman who had come by to fix the thermostat had stolen it. Ridiculous, I know, but it was the only way I saw to release my worry over the missing tool. No, it wasn’t an expensive screwdriver, nor had it belonged to my deceased father. The only thing special about this tool was that it was missing. That was enough for my mind to begin picking at it vigorously.

Today I feel the glasses won’t be that big an issue. I’m nearly positive I had them at the beginning of the walk. I didn’t have them at the end of the walk. Ergo, I must have dropped them ON my walk. Neighborhood children are playing in their yards or zip by on bikes and motorized scooters. One of them could easily have picked the glasses up. I will retrace my path only once, I tell myself. If I find them great, if not, then a kid probably has already squirreled them away in a sock drawer. No biggie. I think I believe my prediction.

Two brothers are describing tight little loops with their motorized scooters in their driveway. The smaller, much younger one shouts a question at me. I can’t make out what it is until he repeats the query twice.

“Is it hot out?” he asks me. What I heard the first time was, “Are you a cop?”

I need to commit to purchasing a hearing aid soon.

I pause before the brothers and consider the question. After a second, I decide it’s not hot out. Yeah, the black hoodie made me hot, but it wasn’t what I would call hot.

I ask them if they’d seen a large pair of sunglasses. They say no, and I continue on my walk, retracing my earlier steps.

I’m nearly at the halfway point on my little neighborhood walking loop. I see something sitting in the thick grass ahead. It’s when I’m only a few feet away from it that my suspicion is confirmed. It is my lost glasses. (My eyes have a head start on my ears with the deterioration thing – I’ve worn prescription eyeglasses since I was in second grade, more than a half-century ago.)

I grow old. I grow old.

But I’m wearing shorts today, so there is no possibility of rolling the bottoms of my trousers.

It feels good to find things we have lost. Doesn’t it? But why is that? What I would like to do is detach from all of it. How does one not care about the losing or the finding of such items? But how does one do that?

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