Found and Lost

Things Roberta Morgan found while cleaning between and under the cushions of her couch on the day she disappeared:

  • Sixteen cents in change.
  • One blue fuzzy sock.
  • A plastic action figure of an unrecognized purple humanoid figure, its arms upraised and fists clenched. She cannot change its aggressive and angry position; the arms are locked into place.
  • Thirteen pounds of lint, which she packs carefully into several cardboard boxes.
  • Two crochet hooks (one size J, one size H).
  • A receipt for a large pepperoni pizza with extra cheese.
  • A dream she had forgotten, scrawled on a piece of torn notebook paper. Though the handwriting is clearly hers, she still does not remember it.
  • A pair of dark sunglasses. She puts them on top of her head.
  • A small black square – not a cube. A cube is three dimensional. This is definitely a square, flat and angular, dark against the underside of the light cushions. It is cold to the touch, and feels stretchy.
  • Ten small apologies, crystalline and fragile. Touching them brings to mind the arguments which spawned them, and then they break into sparkling dust beneath her fingertips. She sweeps the dust on top of the lint.
  • A paperback copy of a book in a language she does not recognize. The looping script and impressionistic cover art make her feel restless in ways she has not in a long time.
  • Time, in a small green glass bottle she stole from the mall when she worked in a shop there as a teenager.
  • Three glitter pens (she has never owned any glitter pens).
  • A pair of women’s panties. They are not her size. Sniffing disdainfully, she picks them up with the tip of a glitter pen and deposits them in the trash.
  • Five kernels of something – perhaps popcorn? But when has popcorn been so weighty, so momentous to touch? Perhaps they are kernels of truth. It’s as good a guess as any.
  • A handle, gray and hefty, unattached to anything. She grasps it tightly, feels more comfortable with it in her hand.
  • Her partner’s conscience, battered and forlorn. She sets it gently on a cushion of now-sparkling lint.
  • A star-shaped charm, painted silver and peeling a little on the bottom point. She throws it into the black square, and watches as the void brightens with countless points of light.
  • A splinter of petrified wood. She cleans under her fingernails with it, and then throws it away.
  • An art postcard from the Salvador Dali museum. One corner of The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used As a Table is folded down and hidden from view. The back is mostly blank, the address listed only as “To Be Announced”.
  • A cube from some sort of word game. She finds all the letters of the alphabet by turning it over and over and over. She puts it on the dining room table with the Y facing up. Now she can say she left a letter, ha ha.
  • A pocket. She puts the bottled time and the kernels into it, smiling at how neatly they disappear inside. It is tidy, and this pleases her.
  • The two of hearts from a card deck. It is torn nearly in half. She finishes the job and puts the pieces of the card beside the conscience.
  • One small safety pin. She uses it to attach the pocket to the side of her skirt, feeling quite practical when it is done.
  • Two very sad unsalted peanuts, which she throws away without ceremony.
  • A detailed scale model of a ship named Opportunity. It goes into the rapidly expanding square, chasing the stars.
  • Change, in the form of sixteen strange scents. She breathes deeply, rereads the dream, grips her handle, and jumps.


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