The Things I Lost on My Vacation

A Leuctthurm 1917 notebook, 249 blank pages, hardcover, dotted, colored anthracite.

A waistband travel wallet with elastic strap and all its contents: drivers license, debit card, and 100 Euro in cash.

These are the things I lost on my vacation.

The notebook is gone for good. I took it thinking I might set up my next Bullet Journal during some slow afternoon, but there were no slow afternoons and it got left behind when we moved house the first time, when I failed to perform a final sweep of the room. I know just where I left it.

I also know just where I left the travel wallet: on the window ledge of the downstairs bathroom of the third place we stayed. We were three hours away (for good) before I realized that I’d left it, when I reached for it to pay admission at a castle.

That sinking feeling when you’re standing in a medieval castle and you realize you’ve left your wallet behind and there’s no retrieving it . . .

I only just replaced my drivers license too.

So I phoned the owner of the house from the second floor of the castle’s great hall, fully aware of the human juxtaposition inherent in using a cell phone in a castle. I left a message: I’ve left my wallet, can you please mail it to this address, where I will be in four days. Here’s my phone. Here’s my email. Cheers.

Two hours later I called again, and this time he picked up. The wallet was already sent. My message was a bit garbled, so he looked up the address himself. He’s only just posted it. He won’t hear my offer of compensation.

You lose things on vacation. Some of them you get back.

An American woman I saw in the gift shop of Trinity College in Dublin was not so lucky. While others sized up sweatshirts and Book of Kells souvenirs, I watched her enlist security staff to look for something. I don’t know what it was, but at one point she turned to me, a complete stranger, and announced in a sort of half-plea-half-apology, “I’ve lost something.”

The next day I saw her at the airport, just behind us in line at US customs, and I know she never found it. She said to her two kids in shaky breaths, “I don’t even know what I lost.” When we passed one another in the zig-zagging line, I looked away.


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