No leathery touch that I usually would feel at the bottom of my bag. The bouncer looked at me quizzically. But it was just here! I thought to myself as I recalled the last time I saw my wallet.
I had pulled out a single bill to paid for the fare and dropped my wallet back into my bag. Michael ambled to the very last row in the bus. I chatted excitedly about various stories and joked about my eccentricities. Worried that my athletic shoes wouldn’t be well-accepted in the U-street corridor, I decided to change my shoes right there to my chocolate Brazilian flats.
I started telling story about the people I knew and the experiences I had in San Francisco. So engrossed in the story, I was surprised when it was our stop. Michael moved forward but my bag got caught in the railings. The bus driver must have noticed my idiocy as I tried to move forward but couldn’t. I struggled for a few moments and finally freed myself. Across the street, we went into Marvin—I wasn’t sure if Jen had arrived and texted her. The hostess led us around, but she wasn’t there. We decided to head upstairs where bouncers were checking id. And just like I always did, I thrust my hand in my bag to find the leathery box—it was bulging this week because of the extra cash and coins I had been carrying for purposes of travel convenience.
And it was not THERE.
Breathe, right now, I told myself. I checked all my bag compartments. My shoe bag. I squeezed the bag holding Toad. My ticket compartment. My feminine necessity compartment. My mini medicine cabinet compartment. Not there.
It was horrifying as the consequences dawned on me. I was heading to NYC the following morning—in less than 10 hours. And my flight? And my bus? My credit cards? I found another single dollar bill in a compartment, but that was all.
I had nothing…and needing to get out of the bar—the bar I had been waiting for months because of a special dish….all gone…
Going outside, I tried to think. The same bum that asked me for money when we went in…asked again. “Please,” he said. “I just need money for food.”
He repeated that again and again. It was not in a desperate tone. It seemed automatic. As I stood out there, he wouldn’t stop asking. I bluntly told him, “I lost my wallet. I am sorry.”
Maybe I wasn’t apologetic enough and maybe my tone was as dismissive as the times I would only say a “sorry” and not even glance at the face. Would it be ironic if I gave him my saltine crackers? Especially if I had nothing to save myself?
I called the numbers that was listed for the lost and found bus line. It rang and rang. No answer. Then I tried the customer service line.
“I am sorry. The number you have dialed is no longer in use.” A pleasant voice said with the familiar…disappointing…frustrating tone…
And a knot was caught in my throat…