A single white ladies’ winter glove sat abandoned on the table in the food court.
I could have ignored it, but considering that I all but ran the lost and found, it didn’t feel right to leave it. It was already left behind. But I felt self-conscious as I reached out to grab it. In my mind, someone would dart off the food line to run after me, snatch the glove from my hand, accusation written across their face. “That’s mine!” this imaginary person shouted. “I left it there on purpose.” On purpose? As though to claim the table with a single glove.
No such imaginary person ran after me, but I still felt a hundred eyes on me, though honestly I don’t think anyone noticed.
I logged the glove in the lost items file and tossed it in the lost items bin where I knew it would sit and live out the rest of its sad existence, because no one ever comes to look for gloves and scarves and plain black cardigans. And while scarves and plain black cardigans might live out a second life when we empty the lost items bin for donation, single gloves are about as useless as they come. The odds of finding a sister-glove is always incredibly unlikely. They go to the same place brother-socks go, with the occasional mismatched shoe.
This single glove set me thinking about other things, though. Someone out there may have been missing it or already buying a replacement for it. Gloves do not just appear out of nothing, just as cigarette butts, pink lipstick stains, bobby pins, and stray hairs do not just appear out of nothing. Each is attached (or was attached) to something. Each carries its own ghostly presence, each a quiet reminder of the existence of other people.
No matter how small or ugly or regular a lost item can be, it still bears something of a person I may not ever know or recognize. So I don't think you have to look at the cosmos to realize what a small place in the world you occupy. Instead just pause a moment to observe all the discarded and abandoned items in the environment surrounding you, a life somehow attached to each.
A single white glove - it doesn't really matter if anyone comes to claim it.
- Brenna Croker