March 18, 2016
The bathroom renovation unleashed the faeries.
This is the only explanation I have for recent events.
So back in October…our landlords were finally forced to concede that our bathtub was about to fall through the floor and renovate the bathroom.
And while this resulted in a near-100% reduction in giant insect encounters in the apartment, an unforeseen but pleasant surprise, we are now forced to wonder if something…else hasn’t been released from the ancient walls of the building.
Back about six weeks ago, a friend of mine was going to be visiting from out of town, so I was cleaning up the apartment. Nothing drastic…sweeping and dusting, taking trash out and putting away piles of clothes.
Shortly thereafter, I went looking for my incense burner one day, and it was nowhere. And it’s only ever two places: on my bedroom dresser, or on the kitchen table. Those are the two places I use it.
Mystified, I mentally tried to retrace events: the last time I knew I used it, the last time I knew I saw it…cleaning day. I’d taken everything off my dresser to dust the top of it, then put it all back and then made my bed. I couldn’t distinctly remember putting the incense burner back along with everything else.
I checked all the dresser drawers, in case I’d just knocked it into one while putting something else away. I thought I might’ve left it on the bed and subsequently flung it somewhere when I changed the sheets. I checked underneath and behind all relevant pieces of furniture. I emptied my purse and backpack and computer bag. Nowhere.
Both roommates denied borrowing it and forgetting to return it. I wouldn’t have minded; I just wanted to know where it was.
I only half-jokingly accused my friend of swiping it just to see how long it would take me to notice it was gone.
We don’t have cats.
I didn’t care about the cost; it was only about an $8 incense burner. Its value is sentimental; I got it on a summer break trip to San Francisco with my best friend in college (leading one roommate to suggest that if its value wasn’t its cost, I should just buy another one…which would guarantee the spontaneous return of the original, in the manner of TV remote controls lost in the sofa cushions).
I was just thinking about it again this morning, being mad about it, planning another deep excavation of all the dresser drawers–again, its only real value is the memory of when I got it–and consoling myself as I often do at the loss of various things with Rena Grushenka’s line from White Oleander, “You want remember. So just remember.”
…When Emily #2 texted me at rehearsal to say she’d found my incense burner, but did I know where her incense was?
The box of incense was probably on my dresser in the aftermath of a bookshelf rearrangement, but where did she find the burner???
Inside our little kitchen sideboard where we keep the cookbooks, and oddly, lain straight across the top of one cookbook (of traditional Greek cooking). There’s no way it got put there by accident.
I had looked in that thing. Multiple times. I had taken out cookbooks since then. I could swear it was not in there.
…Until it was.