Lost and Not Found in Jackson, Mississippi
Those of us who have traveled far and wide are not immune to losing things on airplanes. Somethings go missing, and are returned. Others go missing, and can easily be replaced; however, there are precious items that are lost that cannot be replaced, and they create a void. This is the story of the time the lost item didn’t come home.
It was a long day, and I arrived in Jackson, Mississippi. I gathered my luggage and all my belongings, and deplaned the aircraft. When I arrived at the hotel and collapsed on the bed, I felt ready to write in my diary about my thoughts and the events of the day.
I loved that diary. It wasn’t expensive, but it was a pretty blue colour with a Japanese cherry tree branch embossed on the cover. This diary, however, was special. I started writing in it shortly after getting my job as a flight attendant. There were a lot of firsts in that diary: first couple of years as a flight attendant, my first apartment, first time having sex… it was all in there.
It was all in there.
More importantly, I was learning new things about myself. Living alone gifted me the freedom to learn who I really am, and I loved the journey. I recorded everything that I may look back on this time of sweet self-discovery and smile.
As I looked in my bag for my diary, a wave of fear came over me; I didn’t see it. Maybe it’s in a different part of the bag, I thought to myself. I frantically searched, and looked through another bag. There was no sign of it. It can’t be lost! Not my diary! Not THAT diary!
I called scheduling, and even contacted the airport itself. No one had seen it. Scheduling offered to contact the crew that was taking our aircraft that morning. To say I was distraught was an understatement. I worked my flights that day on the verge of tears. I couldn’t believe I lost such an important part of my written history.
I lost the beginnings of becoming my truest self, letters of encouragement I wrote to myself, and general feelings that I wanted to keep private. Sure, I did write in it on flights, but no one else saw it. Besides, I was the only flight attendant; I needed something to do!
We arrived in Charlottesville, Virginia for the night. I was still out of sorts and hurting. There was only one thing that I could think to do: self soothe.
There was no sign of it.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I went to the nearby Kroger for some wine therapy. It wasn’t the best idea, but it wasn’t the worst idea, either. I just wanted the horror of this day to go away.
I started going up and down the aisles, looking for wine and beer. I found the wine, and before I really got to looking for something I wanted, the thought crossed my mind to go look at the beer section.
On every overnight, I look for my favourite beer. It’s made at a brewer local to a town in Pennsylvania (my home-state) that is close to my hometown. I had managed to find it in Chicago, but nowhere else. I still look, though.
Without looking long or hard, there sat a six-pack of my favourite beer. There was no mistaking the familiar golden primate and the big red V on the label. While looking for solace in the bottle shouldn’t be a default option, the song “Beer Can’t Fix” exists for a reason.
My eyes got wide, I squealed, and was running in place; I couldn’t contain my excitement. A man at the opposite end of the aisle stared, confused by what the fuss was all about. I snatched up the 6-pack, and practically ran to self-check out, just in case this moment and this beer disappears. It didn’t folks; the only place it disappeared to was my gullet.
As I left with my prize, I started thinking; there’s no way I can drink all of these tonight. You see, it’s a strong beer, and best not to go past three of them. I barely made it to three the first time I had it, and haven’t dared to go past.
You see, it’s a strong beer, and best not to go past three of them.
I thought of keeping it to myself, but came up with a much better idea: share it and make some friends. I kept three for myself, and gave three out to people I had just met at the hotel. Terry, was a guy that worked at the hotel. He was about to get off work, and shared a couple of beers with me. I met George earlier that night; he didn’t take me up on a beer, but he did stay out with us for a little while as he finished a cigarette.
Terry and I were up late into the evening talking about life. I told him how I had lost my diary that day. “It’s devastating to lose a diary; you should be upset!” It was nice to have a man validate how hard and sad it is to lose a diary. Yes, I could start another, but we can all agree that it’s not the same thing. The thoughts and the original sentiments behind them, would be lost if I tried to recall everything that was in it.
Even now, thinking of that diary makes me sad. It has been gone for about 3 years, and I still hold out hope that it’ll somehow find its way back to me. I saw the same book in the place which I purchased it, and felt a pain in my chest. I had to walk away, lest I start crying in the aisle.
While I know nothing can ever replace it, I wonder: would I have gone to find my favourite beer had I not lost it and had a rotten time dealing with the loss? Would I have gone the step further and shared a good time with people I didn’t know?
Would I have gone the step further and shared a good time with people I didn’t know?
It doesn’t make me glad that I lost my diary, but maybe it helped me discover something else: losing something that I thought I needed can help make way for something else. While there’s nothing wrong with having a diary, I was using it to live in my glory days instead of actually going out to live.
As I’m writing and sharing this story, it’s helping me to heal a spot that’s been sore for a while, and reminding me that I should go out and live. The best stories are the ones you create, and can write about later… oh, and make sure to write your name and number in things you want returned to you. I learned my lesson y’all.