I left Genevieve’s on Sunday at 9 PM, backpack in one hand, bag with empty Pyrex dish in other, swore at Shorewood’s sparse yellow streetlights as I walked to my bike, plunked plastic bag with Pyrex into bike basket, hefted backpack onto back, turned on blinking head and tail lights, dug into upper left-hand pants pocket for my key chain, it wasn’t there. Dug into all six pockets. Not there. Felt from the outside, dug into the insides, still no keys. Looked on ground. Couldn’t really see. Must have fallen out of pocket somewhere. Returned to house, feeling foolish.
Genevieve and I went on a key search. Checked everywhere I’d sat or walked the past five hours, dining room, living room, bathroom, no keys. Outside with flashlight, peered into plastic bag with Pyrex, searched on ground. In the dim light every dead leaf resembled the Pick ‘n Save card on my key chain.
I gave up at last, five keys gone at least until daylight. Genevieve got her copy of my house key, and, leaving my locked bike behind, she drove me home and watched as I made sure the old key still worked.
Hard to get out of bed Monday morning to face six keyless pockets and waste time looking for what shouldn’t be missing in the first place. I did have an itinerary in mind. The last time I used the keys was in front of Astor Street Dance Studio, so they must be somewhere between the bike rack there and Genevieve’s. It would be an interesting challenge to retrace the erratic route I’d taken to avoid parked cars and moving cars and crowded sidewalks. I’d woven between sidewalk and street, between main street and side street. I could bike on the sidewalk going to the dance studio and in the street coming back so I’d have everything covered, if I remembered which streets I took on the 4-mile ride.
I switched a planned morning walk with Janet to the afternoon, didn't want to take a walk with a friend and think the whole time only about KEYS. So instead of walking I reconstructed the contents of my keychain (which took forever thanks to several unidentifiable keys in the drawer). Finally I googled the bike store phone number, better to replace if possible the two bike lock keys and to forget about lost ones, morning already half gone. . .
Then the phone rang and a familiar voice said hello. “Who is this?” I asked. Felt I should know, but didn’t, then couldn’t understand the answer, so asked again, and still wasn’t sure. “Who????” “Your cousin Selma.”
Oh, my cousin Selma! That IS really what the voice had said! My god, I thought she was dead!