Had I Lost Nothing

by on May 14, 2024 :: 0 comments

photo "Lit Lit" by Tyler Malone

The lakes are robust, and the water systems in Italy that were dry for many seasons are now in good shape. Today was the first brief sun we’ve seen in weeks, and now the sun weakens through clouds, with a rain forecast for afternoon, evening, and night. I had an eventful morning that merits examination.

The air was cool on my face when I rode my steel steed to a nearby town with my backpack precariously clipped on the back of my bike. I usually get away with the risky placing of cargo, but this time it fell off. I didn’t notice my pack was missing until I arrived at the library to return the books inside it.

A wave of panic hit me as I remembered they were expensive art books. I instantly mounted my bike, setting off from whence I came. As I backtracked the way home, my eyes swept from side to side, and my mind conversed with its lodger along the two-kilometer journey.

Perhaps the rucksack wasn’t with me. Could I have left it at home? There were so many things to do on the departure checklist that I forgot to take it. I don’t remember having it on the trip.

But, upon my frantic arrival at home, it wasn’t there, which meant it fell off my bike somewhere along the trip. I straddled the steel steed and scoured the roads, backtracking to my first stop at the herb store (Erboristeria) and later to the library.

Panic sporadically returned as I thought about the missing library books. I pondered the personal items in the backpack that I could lose, but not the library books, consisting of special hardbound editions of Dylan Dog and Tex, two noteworthy Italian comic heroes.

I asked trash workers walking around their trucks along the way, have you seen a black backpack?

Nothing, if I find anything, I’ll leave it at the bar. Thanks.

I returned to the herb store. I asked the store owner and clients. The herbalist said you didn’t have a pack when you were here before.

On my second trip to the library, I stopped the director and told him the story. Maybe someone will return it, I said. The books aren’t due for two weeks.

We’ll see then, he replied. It will probably turn up, he said encouragingly.

I rode back countlessly from the library to the herb store with eyes peeled along the pavement, asking this one and that one.

I met a peddler along the way. He gave me his sympathy, which reminded me of two Egyptians I met earlier near my house. Possibly, the backpack fell off at the other end of town, near the Egyptian men. The thought instantly propelled my feet on the pedals, and I methodically pumped my legs in that direction, seeing my backpack at the end of this final search. The kilometers passed trance-like.

The two Egyptians were working in the same place. I raised my hand and shrugged as I passed them on the bike, but I hadn’t found it yet.

Beyond the Egyptians, my eyes beamed in on my backpack looped over a fence picket. Grief became a joy. I coasted over and held it high in victory to the Egyptians. It was heavy with books; nothing lost, I was sure, but I looked anyway.

I coasted closer to the Egyptians. They were laborers. The thin one had wires in his hand. I smiled; they smiled. The chubby one had a gold tooth that twinkled in the first sun after weeks of rain.

I couldn’t help thinking most people are good.

I returned the books to the library and told the director the favorable news. After unchaining my metal steed, I dug into my pocket for my gloves, but only one of them was there. Here we go again.

My intuition guided me to the park I passed through on my way to the library. Sometimes, I remove my gloves to make certain bike maneuvers. My glove was on a footbridge half a kilometer from the library. I slipped it on my right hand and felt lucky.

How lucky? I ask myself.

Luckier than had I lost nothing at the beginning of this tale.

editors note:

Even when you start, you have more than others have. Step off with that thought and see where you go. ~ Tyler Malone

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