August 30th, 2019
We were almost home. The train had just stopped in Columbus, and we seemed to have no concerns. We had our bags packed, and it was only an hour to Milwaukee.
Karin looked into her handbag, and became agitated. She said,
“I can’t find my jewelry bag!”
I rolled my eyes. Karin often cannot find her things. We blame it on ADD, which seems to be the flip side of creativity. Karin is endlessly inventive, and she can never locate her car keys. It is not unusual for her to lose something. Fortunately, it has (so far) never been anything really important.
I waited for a moment until Karin had searched our entire sleeper room. Then I asked her,
“Did you forget it in the shower this morning?”
She immediately replied, “No! I had it here when we went to breakfast.”
We sat across from each other for several minutes, as the train roared through the corn country.
I asked, “What does the bag look like?”
Karin answered, “It’s just a little bag, like a purse with a clasp. It’s colorful.”
I asked her, “Do you want to ask the attendant to look for it for you? We could ask Donald to check around for it.”
Then she said, “There isn’t anything really valuable in the bag. It just had some earrings that you bought for me. That, and a ring from Oma (Karin’s mom). And a bracelet.”
Karin tried to keep a brave face, but she failed to do so. I had bought the earrings in Arlington, Virginia, at an immigration conference. The earrings were from Guatemala. Karin was right. Nothing in that bag was valuable in a monetary way, but everything meant something to her. Everything was somehow irreplaceable.
Neither of us spoke. We just looked out the window.
The train pulled into the station at Milwaukee. We grabbed our belongings and found our Lyft ride.
We never talked about the little bag.