"Oh no, where are my keys?' I say. Macy's entry way, Lucy, Myra, and me, the three of us stare at my hands. Just a wallet and house key.
"Wait, look in the pockets," Lucy says, and we and feel for the invisible zippers of my coat. Agates, chapstick, quarters, a brass button, sand at the bottom, "Ugh, no. It's not in there." I finger through a wad of receipts in the other pocket.
"Are you sure? I thought I heard them," Myra says.
"No, that was just some change and a button I have in there." We stare hard at my paisley wallet -- wallet, house key, and beaded-pull all clipped together with a carabiner. Resignation finally falls across our shoulders. We retrace a tiny circuit of steps.
"Did you have any keys turned in?"
"Here let me look." Tic, tic-tock, a sales associate paws through a small box. We wait, try not to stare. "No. No we haven't," she says.
I sigh. A phone call to Craig, the words, I feel like such an idiot, the realization that he can't find the spare key, a ticking clock gonging each second as I measure the minutes until the baby's next feeding, the baby at home, the minutes ticking until Craig leaves for work, it's all a tic-tic-tic, tic-tock, the amount of time it would take him to come get me, the impossible fact that we can't take our car if we can't open it, tic, tic-tock.
We trace and retrace our steps. Down an escalator, the children's department, intimate apparel, linens, back past linens, bed and bath. We stop at activewear. Again.
"Did you have any keys turned in?"
Between desperation and dreamlike non-reality, we finally pray. "Jesus please help us find our keys. We can't make it happen. Can you help us?"
"Jesus we don't know where the keys are, but we know you do. Will you help us find them?"
Jesus, Jesus help, we pray in varying approximations. Help.
All that warm light and white tile, slate gray grout, we trace and retrace. Again. And again. I picture the white laminated tag on the keys, the one from when we bought the car that says the make and model of the vehicle. I wonder if someone would steal our car, and it feels like free fall. Lucy and Myra follow me. Their blinking eyes take in and measure my anguish.
Back past each shirt and sweatshirt, the tank tops on clearance, past the leggings space-dyed pink, past the purple shirt with the open back, past a rack of long underwear, there -- there, just a tiny triangle of white under magenta folds, there, the laminated tag and the KEY.
Relief gushes, waves almost like nausea.
I pluck the key like an agate on the beach then squeeze it in my palm. "Oh. Good," I sigh. Then splayed on all that white tile, we pray.
"Jesus, thank-you for helping us find the keys. Thank. You. We know you did that for us. Thank. You. Amen."
Thank. You. Our souls ring like bells of gladness.
"I'm so happy I'm almost crying," Myra says. I open my eyes and there she is all watery and grins. She wipes her eyes with the back of her hand.
We practically sprint to the car, the key still pressed into the palm of my hand and snow falling in huge clusters. As we chariot home, the car encircles us. I watch the road, but some part of me stares at the baldfaced relief there in the car. Jesus we don't know where the keys are, but we know you do. Will you help us? Myra's simple obeisance washes over me.
6205. Keys. We found the keys.
6206. Aloe vera. Skin soothing aloe in this dry, dry weather.
6207. Craig and the kids brine and cook a turkey. I make garlic mashed potatoes and gravy. We have a second Thanksgiving meal.
6209. Jack continues to provide our family with homemade pizza and pancakes. Jane makes buckets of popcorn.
6210 Lucy buys a chocolate bar with her own money for her and me to share.
6211. Leggings for running in bitter winter cold.
6212. We pick up playing chess again.
6213. I pray for the Lord to make me gentle and kind. I remind myself that like all virtues kindness and gentleness are best measured when they are hardest to give.
6214. I pray that the inevitable adversities of life will bloom with kindness, gentleness, and the character of Christ.