Certainly, most if not all of the items in these photographs and stories were dropped accidentally and probably under the most mundane circumstances. We can all imagine it. We’ve all lived it. You get out of a car and the glove in your lap falls, unnoticed, to the curb. You reach for your phone to check the time for the 50th time that day and your mitten slips from your coat pocket. You’re transferring laundry to your car and a sock falls from the basket.
I get that. But with these pictures, I have no information about how they ended up where I saw them so I get to imagine less routine events and causes. I’ve already given you a couple of stories with heightened circumstances around an accidental loss. Now let’s imagine an unpaired item – another blue knit glove – which gets left somewhere quite intentionally.
Emma’s mother pushed the stroller up the sidewalk on the north side of Third Street. It was a sunny but frosty morning in early December and they were headed for the park. It was cold, but Emma had expressed a firm interest in “wooking at squirrels.”
“Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, squirrel,” Emma chanted. As they passed the old high school, the chanting changed. Emma’s mom listened for a moment. Three repeated syllables. “Zone, ants, raw… what on earth?” Emma’s mother said quietly. She leaned forward slightly and listened more closely.
“Zone, ants, rah, zone, ants, rah, zone, ants…” Emma was bubbling cheerily. Her two hands were in her one blue, knit glove, held out in front of her prayer-style.
Emma’s mother smiled and shook her head once as they continued past the formed concrete retaining wall of the old school’s courtyard. She turned to her left when a flash of blue caught her eye and was struck by the beauty of the frost-covered glove she saw perched on the last pillar of that wall.
. . .
Two days earlier in the late afternoon, Emma was rolling in the same direction on that same patch of sidewalk when she suddenly cried out, “Wonewy Wacey. Wooooneweeee!” Emma and Lacey, the young woman who was pushing the stroller, had just heard the story of the Lonely Snowflake at the bookstore downtown so Lacey was not surprised that Emma’s retentive brain had chosen this topic. But she also knew the tone in Emma’s voice was ominous. She stopped, stepped to the front of the stroller and crouched down in front of Emma to attempt crisis aversion.
“Are you lonely, Emma? I’m right here.”
Emma held up one gloved hand and pointed to it with the other. “Noooo, Wacey. Gwove is wonewy.” One of Emma’s gloves had gone missing a couple of weeks ago, but Emma had been happily putting both hands in the remaining one since then . However, the story of a sad, anthropomorphized crystal of frozen water had apparently changed Emma’s attitude toward the glove’s singleness. Lacey made a quick decision. She pulled out her own pair of blue knit gloves and handed one to Emma. “Here. Now your glove has a friend again.” Emma looked at the two gloves and thought for a moment before nodding judicially. But after just a moment’s hesitation she looked up and pointed to the glove Lacey had retained and said, “Wonewy.”
Lacey immediately chided herself for not getting that glove out of Emma’s field of vision quickly enough. She knew she only had a moment or two left before the crying started. She recognized Emma’s pre-bawling breathing pattern. She looked to her right and seeing the end of the concrete retaining wall, she began to ad lib. She carefully placed the glove on the concrete and ceremoniously intoned, “Go forth and find your blue fingered cousin. End its loneliness. End its pain.” She almost faltered as a lanky man strode by, looking at her with a bemused smile, but she continued, “Go forth. Make two ones into a pair.” Emma’s wide eyes made no move to notice the passerby and she continued to watch as Lacey completed the ritual with a small gesture of blessing over the glove. Lacey had to choke back a laugh when Emma said “Amen” in the solemn silence that followed.
“Stop the wonewy?” Emma asked seriously. Lacey nodded and waited to see if she had succeeded in her task. Emma scrunched up her face and said, “How work, Wacey?” Now in familiar territory of satisfying Emma’s curiosity about everything, Lacey continued her practice of weaving occasional fictions to stave off tantrums. She immediately said, “Cosmic resonance, Emma. They will connect through cosmic resonance and be together wherever they are. Cosmic. Resonance.” She said the last two words very carefully and seriously.
“Rah . Zone. Ants, Wacey?” Lacey nodded, consciously painting on her face the same judicial seriousness that Emma had used earlier. Emma thought for a moment and then said, “Okay” and smiled. They continued up the hill toward home.