I was getting ready for bed when I realised that my wrist was bare. Didn’t I wear my purple bracelet in the morning? I was quite sure I did and wondered where It was. When did I remove it and where could have kept it?Was it in the jewellery box where I keep my baubles? Did I absentmindedly shove it in my handbag? Did I even remove it when I rushed to the bathroom when I came home? I went to the bathroom and looked around. Suddenly I remembered taking it off at the Club, when I’d washed my face there that afternoon .
It wasn’t a very expensive bracelet: made a from glass and silver beads and a few dangly silver charms. But it held a host of happy memories, of a wonderful mid autumn day spent in Venice , using the vaparetto, walking on the Rialto and catching a glimpse of the snow glistening on the distant Dolomites from the top of the bell tower at San Marco.
Undoubtedly, I was upset and spent a restless night, tossing and turning, berating myself for my carelessness. How could I be so scatty and forgetful? How many things would I lose before I really learnt my lesson? Then another voice would tell me that it was only an object and weren’t we all going to leave everything behind us one day? And doesn’t everything in life come with a shelf life, a predetermined timespan to be in one’s life? Nothing really lasts forever.
But a part of me couldn’t accept the loss and the more I tried to console myself and accept it, the more I missed it. I kept wondering who could have found it and who was wearing it. Did that person also look at it from time to time and admire the deepening colours in the fading light of day? Did she marvel at the fine workmanship of the tiny silver charms that dangled in between? Or did it lie in some garbage heap tossed away as rubbish by the cleaning lady who found it?
A week later when I went to the Club I asked Jimmy at the Reception if anyone had handed over a bracelet found lying in the Ladies’ Room.
“Cant remember madam but you could check with the office.”
I walked to the far end of the club and was taken to a small dusty room . I immediately covered my nose with a handkerchief and followed the custodian. The room was lined with shelves filled with items left behind – sneakers, cricket bats, swimming caps , goggles and sweaters . There were dust laden umbrellas stashed away in a corner and a cardboard carton filled with scarves. I could even see a box of books! Obviously these things were not missed so why did the Club still keep them I couldn’t help asking.
“You never know madam,” replied the custodian with the resignation that comes with age . “You could try looking in here ,” he said handing me a wooden box filled with keys , phones and bibs and bobs like watches, wallets, membership cards.
He left me to search for my bracelet and I sat myself in front of the box. How many careless people were there in this world I wondered as I took out the things carefully one by one. If my bracelet was the latest addition to the box, it should logically be on the top, I figured but obviously it wasn’t. Should I give up, I thought as I felt a sneeze build up?
Rubbing my nose with the kerchief I rummaged among the lost items. Suddenly I felt the smoothness of a glass bead and I slowly pulled it out, my heart beating racing with anticipation and anxiety. Was it? Was it not? Yes! It was the purple bracelet , silver charms and all. Obviously, it wasn’t time yet for us to part.