In the Lost & Found
I barely picked it out from the shadows despite its brightly colored demeanor. Perhaps I added the scuffs and dirt in my own mind simply because it was lying discarded in the middle of the parking lot, forgotten in the dark and cold.
SIDE NOTE: I do things like that, imagining dishevelment where one might expect it or seeing more beauty where there might not actually be as much. Expectations tinge experiences. When my expectations aren’t met one of three things happen: I find myself disappointed, I find myself pleased, or I force reality to match my expectations through imagination, wishful thinking, and mind games. I’m certainly not the only one. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard friends lament going somewhere they loved as a child and being utterly disappointed in its complete lack of awesomeness (e.g. Casa Bonita). The question becomes was it ever really that great and has since deteriorated or was it always in the eye of the now changed beholder?
As I scurried past expecting to leave it lying, a sweet aroma caught my attention. Curious, I stopped. I glanced about to see if anyone was around, my conscience already guilty just for taking an interest. I reached down and, with thumb and forefinger, pinched the edge of the canvas, drawing it carefully off the ground at arms length.
The bag was a cool baby blue, thick string looping from its drawstring top to a pair white plastic grommets in its base. A white logo emblazoned on its side glowed under the dim yellowing light of the parking lot. The scent grew stronger as I pulled the bag closer, a slight earthen tang hanging on the air.
I glanced about once more, ready to wave the bag at concerned parties returning for it. Its size and weight indicated it wasn’t likely missed, but the deep bouquet said otherwise.
The lot remained silent, the only sound that of cars traveling down the nearby road, wind sweeping through the trees, and the gentle trickle of the adjacent creek.
Slowly, I drew the top open and leaned in, reaching with my eyes and nose into the darkness. A redolent warmth rose from the depths sweeping me from the barren winter landscape. It smelled of delight-haunted dreams, of snack-filled heavenly glory, carefully frosted with the purest of love. It tickled my nostrils and left saliva pouring from the deepest recessed of my mouth.
And yet, within the bag, there were none of the promised baked goods.
I reached in gently, looping my fingers through the contents of the bag: Two t-shirts, one pair of gym shorts and a small empty container from which the aromas emanated. Crumbs rattled in the bottom of the white lidded jar, dangerously taunting me with their bronzed sugary goodness. I closed my eyes, letting the fragrance wash over me, imagining the hand crafted goodies whose ghost beckoned from within.
The air hummed as I yanked the drawstring shut, locking away the secrets of the bag. In the darkness, I continued on my way, images of what could have been still locked in the corners of my mind.