My sunglasses were missing. I couldn’t recall the last time I saw them or when I’d worn them recently. But I suddenly found myself needing them that morning and realized they were not where they should have been.
Standing in my room with my blouse on but untucked and my work trousers unbuttoned around my waist, I scanned the surfaces around me, hoping to spot them staring back at me with a look of disapproval at my state of undress and my room’s lack of organization.
My nightstand stood by my unmade bed, a book I was trying to finish reading resting on top of it in front of my alarm clock. A lamp my friends decorated for me as a house warming gift when I moved in stood behind my book, surrounded by a thin layer of dust. But no sunglasses were waiting for me there.
A tall beaten bookshelf stood snugly in the corner of my room across from my bed. It had been my grandmother’s and I vowed to never let it be donated or sold. My grandmother, much like myself, had been an avid reader and her bookshelf was always full to the brim with literature and poetry, books of all shapes and sizes. As a young child I loved it; the smell of the pages and the piles of reading a delight to snoop through on warm summer evenings when I stayed with her. She would sneak in books for me along the bottom shelf and, like a game of hide and seek, I’d thumb through the stacks to find my hidden treasure. Finding it, the only children’s literature among the rows of fiction and classic stories, I’d scurry to her side where she waited in her arm chair, her knitting in her hands and yarn rolling about her feet. I’d wave the book at her, beaming proudly and she’d reach out to me into her lap and read from my find.
I scanned the ground, a smile on my face as I let the memory of my grandmother fade, and noted that a day of picking up the laundry and organizing my project folders might do me some good. After a steady glance around, ,y littered floor showed no signs of relinquishing my hidden glasses so I knelt down and began to search.
My hand scraped along the carpet, wincing as my skin brushed against the fibers. I unearthed a long lost book, a few dollar bills, a hair-tie and some mismatched socks probably considered long gone and lost in the dryer. But no glasses.
After spending a small chunk of time in a fruitless search of my room for the carelessly misplaced glasses that I desperately needed this particular morning, I realized I was getting frustrated. Soon the tears welled up and I could feel the hot pressure of anger ballooning behind my eyes. I stifled the streams as I pushed and piled things around my room in a hurried whirlwind of motions. I was now running late and the fact that I knew my sunglasses to be close by but could not find them was about to drive me mad.
Soon the pressure released with a small choked sob from the back of my throat and a streak of warmth ran down my cheek. Now I was crying? Over sunglasses?
But I knew it had little to do with my glasses and that I was searching for something else, something lost that I knew could never be found.
Suddenly I reached down and grasped a handful of clothing and tossed them behind me. I reached again and again, pulling up everything I could get my hands on and throwing them around in frustration. I was flinging more than just clothing. Curses and words of resentment flew through the air to pile on top of the useless items I had laying around. I sniffled and sobbed, grabbing at anything within reach and throwing them about, making what was already a mess even bigger.
The morning slowly passed around my flurry of anger and after awhile I found myself spent. My face was slick with sadness and my hair was sticking to the ruins of my makeup, a blonde streak of color tangled with in my view here or there. My back rested against the edge of my bed and my shoulders hung limply as I slowed my breathing and tried to stem the flow from my nose.
She was gone and there was nothing I could do or say to make it better. Trust had been broken, threads snipped and memories sullied.My family would never be the same.
My head was heavy and throbbed. I could barely breathe through my nose and as I lifted my eyes to survey the damage, a headache echoed through my skull. And there they were, sitting at the mouth of my handbag, glaring back at me with disdain and a hoity look of aloofness. My glasses had been there all along.
Standing gently, tears quietly dropping now that my tantrum was over, I reached for my cell phone and dialed the office. Sherry answered and expressed concern at my congested tone. I told her I was ill and needed a day off. She cooed and told me to drink tea and rest up, her honest concern for my health making my tears flow again.
Like a child, I wiped at my eyes with the edge of my silk sleeve, leaving a stained trail of grief and half applied mascara along my arm. I agreed to take care of myself and hung up. The phone leaped from my hand and made a dull smack as it landed in a soft pile of laundry at my feet.
Slinking to my bed, my unbuttoned slacks fell away and I pulled off my blouse in a single motion. Reaching down into the fray on my floor, I grabbed a pair of worn sweatpants and a tee-shirt from my varsity days. In a fluid motion, I dressed myself and then rolled into bed, pulling up my comforter till I was huddled deep beneath its folds.
And there, under the comfort and warmth of my bed, I cried myself to sleep.