Loss

January 8th, 2015 § 0 comments

Today I took down the STOLEN BIKE sign from the barren pole to which it was last seen chained. I left it up for two weeks, without much hope that the vague description (BLACK DAILY 01 COVERED IN STICKERS) would yield any reports. Rather I posted the sign as a warning to other bike riders—shit still gets stolen. Every day I’m not mugged, I am one day closer to my inevitable mugging. Every evening, I chained my bike up and each subsequent morning it was still chained there gave me a false sense of security. The safety of my bike isn’t with compound interest—it’s a daily reprieve. The same goes for living here. The only guarantee is change.

There is an interesting gap in my reflexive comprehension when something significant has gone missing. When I’m walking to work, and I see a dog approaching, I think “perhaps this is my dog,” though I know logically that’s impossible. She’s at home, right where I left her. And the chances that the very person approaching me en route to my job not only stole her from my apartment, but also managed to lap me are statistically near impossible. But still, that is the initial thought. That same thinking searches for my bike among the thousands chained to poles, fences, racks, railings and scaffolding I pass by. Similarly, I search every man and woman I encounter, desperate to not miss a potential partner among the crowd. It’s hard to shake myself into the second and third thought, grounded in infinitely more logic: “My bike/dog/partner is not here.” The needle begins to skip and I seek an explanation that makes sense: How is my dog approaching me? Will I see my bike back where I saw it last? Where is my love? I imagine there will be some recognition, as there would be if I were to see my dog walking with another. She would strain against her leash, attempting to leap at me in a frenzied greeting. My bike would be slightly less recognizable perhaps, stickers peeled off, all evidence of previous possession erased—but I would know, in a gut sense. As for the woman of my dreams, I would know her before I knew her. But all stories can be untold: my dog could forget me; my bike could be completely redone; my love could be seeking someone else or no one at all. The city is erased each day and redrawn. All that I seek is seeking too.

So what is it I seek? I seek a life that suspends boundaries. One where the moment is a little deeper than it is now; where edges are slightly more flexible. One where I could come face to face with my bike and its thief and say, “It’s alright, I understand.” One where I could whisper in my future partner’s ear and say “Ready when you are” and then neither one of us gets to decide when we’re ready. One where I can watch two lives unfold at once. One where drums beat to footsteps and significant moments replay on the walls of our homes.

When we lose something that can’t be recovered, we must learn how to live with the loss. It’s just a bike, I know. But I’ve had little practice in the art of losing. Things and people somehow have a way of finding themselves back in my path. I know for certain I will have practice. I will lose my mind. My time. My mother. My father. The use of my arms and legs. I will lose friends. I will lose my dog. I will lose at winning. I will lose my money and my property. I will lose my job. And my life. I will lose things I don’t have yet. And I will find things already lost. The order in which these events will occur is unknown. But they spin around all of us, a roulette of loss.

When. When. When. When will I sink my teeth into life and taste only ash? Each morning, I am one day closer to loss and one day further away from lost.

Last night I dreamt that my bike was waiting for me downstairs, chained to the NO PARKING MON-FRI sign it was stolen from. There is something comforting in knowing that it takes two to lose, and two to be found again.

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