Lost and Found

Bouquet, Jan Brueghel the Elder
Bouquet, Jan Brueghel the Elder

I want to start July with a new notepad and a pen, with a fresh smell of coffee wafting through the air, with a curtain ironed by the sun light, with a fresh breeze playing with papers on my table, with the piercing cries of sea gulls above my house which is so close to the sky.

I am not sure how stories appear, they might be bookmarked somewhere a while ago and all we have to do it find the right page. Stories are like dream catchers. The are bright with feathers and threads and ribbons woven into them, different textures, lengths, colours. The wind is gently lulling them unwinding  the story or stripping them of feathers and ribbons leaving the story ragged missing some bits and leaving some characters in disarray.

At the door I always linger. I have been thinking of walking in for a while now but time, courage, motivation and money are the regular obstacles every person is aware of even if not all of those apply to the situation. Sometimes, even none of those but we still list them just to have reasons.

I dress up. Yes! It should be an important occasion since I have finally smoothed my  way to success. I smile and hold my head high. I even do not wobble on my heels and have a perfect air of “I know what I am doing” about me.

I come to the door and ring the bell. The smell of geraniums is strong already even if I see them high up on the balcony. I quickly go through a list of names I normally use on such occasions – Cheryl, Candice, Brielle, Jennifer, Daisy and Rose. I am rehearsing in my head how I am going to say my name, how I am going to pronounce it, whether I am going to fake an accent ( something I am not good at and it helps), how I am going to shake hands or look in a weird way at the outstretched hand as if I do not know what to do. To my disappointment no one answers. I ring again, I did not come all this way for nothing and by all this way I do not mean a couple of blocks I walked, I mean all this time it took me to get here, to collect myself, to finally be prepared. I am not even ready to be disappointed. I ring twice and then once more.

I look up at the house.  A stone balcony gives the building an air of elegance, flowers like colourful wigs of clowns are hanging from the balconies. I hear the click of the lock and then the sound of footsteps on the stairs. All right, I am not going to be surprised. I am just going to say…

– Hi, I am Brielle.

The lady looks at me through the thick glasses but does not say anything.

– I am Brielle, from the lost and found office, – ( or lost property office, if you wish. For me lost and found sounds much more positive because we find, lost properly sounds irrevocably sad).

The lady makes some room for me to enter. She looks as if I lost something, not her and I feel a bit the same. I should be more confident, there is something I have found not lost.

I look at her and at the long corridor ahead of me and how much I still have to come up with while walking through the corridor to make my story plausible. It feels as if all the objects inside the house are staring intently at me, right into my brain, into what am I going to say now and I hear myself thinking and then only thing I am thinking is ” I am thinking”. She does not indicate that I should come in.

– We did lose some things but I am not sure we need them anymore, – she finally announces.

I can see that she is not sure. If only we could get rid of what we do not need but we are too scared someone might pick it up.

– Could you please sign here that you do not need our services anymore, – I give her the list.

– Should I sign or also tick off what you should not bring if you find it.

– Please tick off as well, – I say,  -it will make our services more in line with the clients needs.

I look at the list before I give it to her. It is a regular form.

It takes her about a second to deal with the procedure. I take the form and put my signature as well.

I walk back thinking that it was almost too easy. Summer air is scented with verbena, rosemary and mint but somehow I have last days of summer camp feeling. Normally, I wait till I come home to look at the list. This time I scan through as I am too curious and  continue reading  it as I walk.  I have been working in lost and found since 1805 and still I am curious. Nothing new is being lost, however, and nothing new is being found. Why am I still curious then?!

The regular items on the  lost list are sleep, faith, hope, weight, something you never had, in poker, a friend, a dog, a job,  track of time… I turn the page over. We are lost and found after all, I look at the comments box about our service, it says, – ” I lost my way to your office once and I was wondering who can help me in that case”. I smile to myself. Valid point, who is going to shave the barber. I walk on.  I look at To find list  and the page is blank. All right, we lost a lot of things in that house maybe we will find something in the next one.

Observations.

William Merritt Chase  A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay
William Merritt Chase
A Sunny Day at Shinnecock Bay


They were unable to retrieve their steps because their footprints had been washed away by the sea. In vain they were trying to look for some marks on the sand among the pebbles polished by the tireless waves as if by a skilled jeweller.

I wanted to help them as I could see what they were looking for but I did not. I kept observing as I was gliding through the sky above the waves. Sliding through the clouds, playing with the fragile hot air balloons hanging almost motionlessly in the sky. They seemed to be so sure about their destination, so ignorant of what to come. The were happily unaware how gentle and cruel, merciful and merciless, pleasant and violent the sea and the wind could be. They had no idea about what they did not know.

I was looking at the blurry sand dunes on the horizon as the wind was playing with  the sand, changing the line of the horizon as if tired of the same scenery like a musician scribbling the notes while composing a new piece or a writer scratching out the lines and starting anew.

A little girl’s hat went flying in the air, I know in about a minute her cry carried by the wind would be heard by everyone. She did not cry, she looked up as the hat was flying higher and higher, white, light hat with a red flower and a red ribbon. She stood there looking into the sky, the expected look of regret was substituted by a look of wonder and amazement and I looked at the small dot in the sky with her.

– Look, Mommy, the wind likes my hat, it is trying it on. Silly wind, it does not know how to wear it. Let me show, – she yelled trying to show how to put an invisible hat on.  – Like this and the flower should be on the side not in the front. Her Mum laughs, the girl laughs, I laugh.

A couple was walking hand in hand along the beach, she had a light scarf in her hand and the wind was tugging at it trying to snatch this light, sweet moment away but they held the scarf together in their locked hands, holding on to the moment of happiness. The were turning into small dots on the horizon like grains of sand with a crimson tail following them, melding with the sunset.

The pages of an old newspaper were rustling in the wind,  hoping that someone would read them. Only the rain will finally pin them down and read what had happened while it was gone, to catch up, to wash away the ink  and make the news soggy and blurred.

There was no one else to observe, the wind got a bit tired too. Sometimes we are the best of friends but sometimes we are at odds with each other as he can forceful and moody and I am usually compliant and observant. Overall, we still prefer to stick together even when we disagree as we both realise that we are much lonelier than an average being, much older and lonelier and we have to stick together.

On Wondering and Wandering.

Marc Chagall Paris Though The Window
Marc Chagall
Paris Though The Window

 Paging through the pictures  and sepia postcards  is a pleasant activity once you are back from yet another trip. In all honesty, I do not travel as much in reality as I do in my imagination. Visiting tiny book stores where books are warm from the Sun as if they are just out of print, marvelling at colours which could be names of desserts: vermilion, titian, bisque, puce, smalt. You add associations to the chemical composition of the photographic developer and memories help to make your latent image visible, memories and a bit of light. It cannot happen without light!  Who would have thought bittersweet is a colour.  Flânerie is in full swing, you stroll up and down every street,  walk around every park,  from bench to bench, from page to page. Spring is uncontrollable, like unruly curls which are always in your eyes.  You are experiencing the city in a million different ways, sometimes  being unaware of it. Yes, it is idling but it is also the time when your mind absorbs, digests, organizes the changes brought by spring. Even if it happens every year, it seems we tend to forget how green, green can be, how deep navy-blue sky is, how warm the sun feels, how fresh the wind smells. We need time to observe and be reminded of these changes.  As the spring is taking its toll, flânerie flourishes and winter is somewhat reluctantly  setting the  birds free from its icy cages, the soft catkins curl up on the branches of trees and we walk, walk and walk on.

Autumn Sketches.

Small House at River in Chartres   Henri le Sidaner
Small House at River in Chartres
Henri le Sidaner

 It is a season which tastes like honey and coffee with soupçon of cognac. It is a season of yellow cats and burning leaves.

Lighthouses always  remind me of  some distant dreams. The light gives hope and creates an illusion of closeness. It makes you believe the worst storm can be weathered.

 No tricks just treats. It is warm and sunny, the air feels like velvet, the rain is preparing for the night, the sun is setting cautiously and the lighthouse is blinking standing guard as it always does no matter what the weather is. 

The rain falling on the asphalt and you can almost feel its bittersweet taste. The sound of falling drops is as if a piece of dry wood is being rubbed with a piece of sandpaper. Cotton candy clouds will soon melt away.

Burgundy, Crimson, Nutmeg.

The watercolour landscape seems a bit washed out by the rain and the picture of some dark foggy city is in sepia tints.

The apples are particularly poignant and the wind rustles my hair as if we have been friends for a long time. It is time to get ready to fly, to move, to leave, not to be afraid to look  through then last window at the back of the train.

Autumn is making everything look vintage, summer is getting old in front of our eyes. I can see million of dust ashes flying in the decaying rays of sun, they are moving upwards and going nowhere.

I put on my French looking jumper with buttons at one side of the neck.

I jump into autumn  headlong, hoping that the heap of leaves is soft and crusty. It is never easy to really part with summer, it is nostalgic, it is like leaving home, it is like opening a letter and not writing back for a long time.  It is rebellious, inappropriately colourful and frivolous.

Cleaning autumn leaves is like cleaning after the party – summer garden party;  colourful straws, popped balloons, plastic packaging, cups, knives, glitters from summer dresses, a bow tie from someone’s fancy party costume. 

The trees continue shedding their leaves, they have been doing it for years,  after a party a la Great Gatsby  all summer long, they are now taking off their clothes, throwing them carelessly on the ground. It looks like the party goes on, a burlesque of a sort where actors  have  5 minutes to change between the shows.

Meet Summer.

Kees van Dongen Corn Poppy
Kees van Dongen
Corn Poppy

My bag is begging me to travel.  It is somehow always in my way, getting under me feet, demanding attention.  Resistance is futile. I pack some objects at random maybe clothes or notebooks or cup. Not sure. It is more important that they are  indigo,cyan, fuchsia and magenta colours.

Summer could have at least sent a message that she was on her way. We have been friends with Summer for as long as I can remember. I am not sure how it started either because we liked the same books or not. 

She has arrived when almost all the petals from the tea rose were on the ground. She had a potted plant with her and one suitcase. I was very happy to see her, just as she was walking towards me, I thought how simple happiness could be and that during the moments like this we think it is simple.  Summer was going to stay for a while, I knew it, I could see it in the way she walked and smiled and the potted plant gave her away as well. Summer was going to stay.

There was so much to talk about that nothing was said. I made tea and focused on forever. This is how it is going to be now. The whole eternity of warm soft breezes, flowers, ice creams. Foam on the sea made it look like a cup of  cappuccino and we took a stroll along the beach. I felt like I wanted to breath in all the air there was and talk for ages. Happiness for no reason, just keep on walking, never ask a tightrope walker how he keeps his balance, never wake up a sleepwalker.  It seemed like Summer was watching it all from the safe distance.

The apricot coloured sun was about to set and we were still walking along the beach, the foam looked like lace on the sea and the air was slowly cooling down. How long can I actually spend here? One month?  A week? My whole life?  I think I will start with one day.

Back in the house, Summer unpacks and we drink tea. She talks little, I do all the tea talking and she seems to be fine with that. I am thinking if it is ok to ask her why she has come in the first place or why she has arrived later than usually and why her attitude is so cold but instead I am talking about long winter and new movies. I am afraid that all these pent up emotions will end up in the rain of tears during the night but it will be fresh in the morning.

Despite her outward display of friendliness, I sense, she was concealing something. “I am leaving soon, you know that, right?- she told me in the morning. I knew that all along, so my faked surprise did not fool her. “I know that”.

Glam.

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Day Dream
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Day Dream

The city looked like a chess board and this time I was playing black. It was my turn and I slipped into a cobble stone street between the buildings. If I had not been there, the street would be empty but you were there too and if only there was any power to erase the memory of your heart beating!  There is not such power… yet, there is a different kind, more known as glam. Something like magic but not exactly. It takes a second to perform it, it is like being electrocuted or like mixing two chemical ingredients.  I might not like the chemical aspect of this experiment but I do like the magical aspect of it. Magic is elusive, translucent and evasive. In order to perform it, one has to pay attention to the elegance of the detail. I am still not sure about my glam powers, I feel like they might backfire or betray me exactly when I need them the most. Like last night. Deep down I knew my glam was back, it was there burning hot inside of me. I know I need to learn how to control it, I cannot unleash it upon the world and let it run loose, enveloping the buildings, mixing up the cards that they have been perfectly arranged in someone’s hands, swirling in the air pretending to be autumn leaves or snowflakes or raindrops or dust in the sunlight. I have to be careful, I have to know more about it. The only problem is, sometimes I cannot wait, I used it and then have to pay for the consequences. Apparently glam makes you vulnerable when you are using  and it affects others at the same time. It affects you first before you can see its affect on others. I have not realized it yet but it happens in a split moment and it should be timed right. I have never timed it right so far, it either hurts someone else or it hurts me. Sometimes I want to get rid of it all together but apparently it is something you are entitled to, some might even say it is a privilege. I myself, am not sure whether it is a curse or a blessing. A couple of times it came in handy and I used it well but what I did not expect is what if someone has glam too and knows about it more than I do, what then? In some cultures it is seen as witchcraft but here it is a gift which you need to master and appreciate, you are not supposed to show it off and you have to be subtle and honest about it. If you have a glam you admit it humbly if no one asks you keep it to yourself . Apparently, I failed on all fronts.I have never experienced anyone using glam against me. It seems it is the first time ever that I happened to be a  victim of my own strength. I come home and sink into the armchair feeling utterly exhausted. This is strange, I do not even have an armchair. One more late night latte  and we meet at the bottom of the cup. I am trying to reassure myself that I am not afraid of this power anymore. I  am still not sure about its limits  but I  am  more aware of who I am.  Chestnut rain, woollen blanket and an empty sky full of crimson leaves from all over the world.

I walk around the city observing people, is it possible to tell who has glam just by looking at them? I doubt it unless I use a little glam myself ans see their true colours. Now, true colours is not just an expression it is more of the reflection of what is real. The expression true colours is spot on, when I used glam I can see people’s thoughts in colours, their inner state, it has shades, it has a certain palette, with more experience I will learn not recognise and identify it. We truly break in into other people lives with glam and then it is very difficult to let go or leave without taking anything.

I walk like this every day observing people until one day I feel exactly the same as when I am about to use my glam only I am not using anything. I turn around and do not  see anyone but the feeling continues. Glam, glam, glam it burns and I answer back, I sense static and it is a bit scary because it is much stronger than it normally is. I look around and still do not see anyone. I want to walk faster but I am glued to the spot. So this is what happened last night, heartbeat and glam and I was glued to the spot and could not do anything about it.

All I need is a little glam and then I can erase the previous night, the chess board, the heart beat.  Yesterday, I was a black queen on the chess board, today I am a white pawn, does not this happen to everyone? If I had not been there, would you still be there? It is something like magic but not exactly, it is a glam. Glam! And the lights are lit. Glam! And your coffee is hot again. Glam! And you are not alone. Glam! And you are alone when you want it. Glam! And you are gone to return when you want to be back. Glam! And the piece of paper is not wrinkled anymore. Glam! And I forget the heart beat. Glam, glam, glam, I guess it does not work every time.

Jack and Jill.

The treachery of images (This is not a pipe) La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe) Rene Magritte
The treachery of images (This is not a pipe)
La Trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe)
Rene Magritte

I never really liked colour white, it is empty and disturbing, it is for that reason that I feel uncomfortable in hospitals, too much emptiness and loneliness. However, in my line of profession you can not be picky, so I put on my white robe and shoes and go to interview a new patient. It is never easy with new patients, they are so certain they are right about the way the see the world, about how they see themselves and how things have to be or could be. The more I work here the more I realise that it is true for everyone even if you are in no need of special treatment and care.

He walks into the room slowly and we watch each other curiously, cautiously, methodically on my part, meticulously on his.

– Do sit down.

– May I?

– Yes, of course, please feel comfortable.

We talk but he does not feel comfortable and I even more so.

– You have amazing memory for dates and years, – I remark.

– It comes easily, I used to be good at mathematics just like you in high school.

This is not the first time he is using “just like you” in this conversation. I am jotting it down, shivering from the cold that these facts give me. They are like icy wind blowing through my brain. I look up.

– Just like me?

He switches to a different topic, trying to cover it up as a slip, I feel it is done on purpose.

– Were you good at mathematics yourself?

He does not answer, he slightly nods and looks outside.

The more we talk the more certain  I become about the fact that I am not interviewing him but it is the other way round and sometimes it is not even a dialogue, it is a monologue on his part about me. I regard it as coincidental imagination, thinking of all the fancy medical terms I can think of to give his state a name, I am frustrated even, I want to send him away.

– The same colour your wife liked.

I stop and look up from my paper.

– Which colour would that be? – I say impatiently.

– Why? Green.

The moment I felt I lost my patience, I lost it all. I could not handle this interview anymore. I sent him away. Looking though all the notes I have made so far, how neatly they stick together, starting from my high school days, up till my medical career, marriage, divorce and the fire the hospital I worked previously at.

Why was he transferred to this place at all? I look at his record realising that he escaped the same fire I did in the previous hospital. I pick up the receiver and dial my old acquaintance who went in a different line of work after our medical years but luckily we have not drifted apart.

– Hi, Jack. Are you busy?

– Hey, no no, have time for a cons ilium of you ask me.

– This is exactly why I am calling. I need your advice.

I tell him about today’s events rapidly at times chaotically, repeating myself to make sure it is clear. Jack is patient and professional about it, I can feel it. He listens and nods, I can feel that too.

– You need to take him to a different environment, rather than the hospital one, it might be that another environment is going to effect the way he is telling the same story differently.

I think about that trying to apply this advice and see how it is going to work in my case.

– Thanks Jack. Do not tumble down, talk to you later.

I look over my notes before I go to sleep and then do not got to sleep at all. Instead of tossing and turning, I’d rather be walking and jogging. I go outside. The air is heavy with the darkness of the night, it weights on me making my thoughts even heavier. I am trying to put it all in order.

Margaret loved green. I am good at math and the fire was no coincidence.

Next morning I make a point of calling Jack first thing but somehow never come round to that. I need to make a series of interviews with the patient in order to learn more about him and somehow myself.

– Tell me more about the fire.

– The fire was an arson organised by a patient in the hospital in order to escape, – he says without slight hesitation.

– What makes you think that?

– It is as clear as day, you set the fire to the building and escaped.

I feel like the room is turning around me. Is he accusing me of an arson of my previous work place?

– I was there, – he continues, – among other doctors.

That’s where heavy thoughts overpower me.

– I need to make a phone call.

– To Jack? You still call him, ha?

Up Jack got and home did trot,

As fast as he could caper;

And went to bed and bound his head

With vinegar and brown paper

I look into his eyes and see my reflection, it is a scary realisation of how glassy his look is, sober, straightforward and glassy.

– You may make your phone call, Jill. If you still like to be called that.

I dial again and again but no one picks up. He, however, picks up my white empty, lonely robe,puts it on and like all those times walks outside of the room closing the door silently behind himself and I hear him say.

– The diagnosis is the same.