Those Who Lose Things
Charles Lennox

She packed her change of clothes and travel ready makeup bag and pocketed the bracelet from Vegas. She walked out, not looking back, and the front door stayed open after her. Her scent had settled in the apartment furniture and walls but in a day the smell of her was gone. I opened my home page and ran a search for Maps. I typed in my address to start and left the destination line blank. Then I clicked Go, printed out the directions, and began my journey.

I drove 0.9 miles down Flower Street and merged onto the southbound freeway where I trekked another 2.7 miles before taking exit 23A. I went east at the stoplight and upon reaching the bridge, per the directions, removed my seatbelt and leapt out of the moving car. My car continued straight on. It obeyed the four way stop, let two pedestrians cross, then turned and headed off to wherever it is that cars go when they are driverless and wild.

I got up. My scraped knees exposed through the torn jeans. Tiny asphalt rock embedded in my palms. A driver slowed and watched me climb the bridge rail. I jumped off and torpedoed into the lake and swam across it and when I crawled up onto shore a gaggle of nearby geese waddled over. "What are you doing here?" they said.

"Passing through."

The geese stood in a line, wings at their side. They stepped closer.

"Are you lost?"

"No," I said.

"Have you lost something?"

I sat and faced the black lake. The geese nodded and looked to one other and nodded again.

"Yes, yes," the geese said. "We lose things all the time too. Which is why we are always searching. Everywhere, always. Whether we are exercising our wings in the air or cooling off our feet in manmade ponds or singing to ourselves as we stroll through the park to entice people to toss wads of bread our way."

"How often do you find what you've lost?"

The geese laughed and flapped their wings. They honked and nipped my shirtsleeves with their beaks. "We never find the things we've lost," they said. "Do you?"

I thought about the geese's question for some time.

"Be honest," the geese said.

"I suppose not," I said.

"Well, then."

The geese rested their heads in my lap and looked at me with their charcoal eyes. I stroked their necks and they gently petted my thighs. Some fell asleep for a minute. When one goose got up for a drink of water the others followed. We decided it a proper time to say our goodbyes. Each goose took turns wrapping their wings around my waist then taking to the air, continuing their search for all the things they'd lost. I stood up and went on my way to do likewise.

Charles Lennox lives in Southern California. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Robot Melon, Dogzplot, Keyhole, Pequin, Yippee, SIR! and others.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of B-Tal.

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