Good Narrative Principles

I Know I Put It Somewhere


I know I put it somewhere, but where? Relax, I whisper to the air as I again comb my bag, my winter coat pockets, my out of control desk top.

Nowhere. My pen, my favorite pen, the one I just purchased a refill for at great expense is gone. Poof. Nowhere to be seen.

I had to go to the only stationary store left standing in my section of town to buy this refill. Not a Staples stationary store, but rather the kind of store where fountain pens are lovingly displayed in jewel cases. The light falls on each pen just so, the price tag tucked discretely behind, an object of beauty.

I purchased a refill for my pen but had underestimated the years that I’ve owned it. And so I had to go back a second time to exchange it for the correct one. I ran there between appointments, Literally, I ran.  I’m not a runner. And so I slipped several times and twisted my already compromised ankle. But the store was still open and the exchange was made. I felt foolish. But calmer once I slipped the refill in place and wrote a few lines of gibberish on a test pad at the store.

Allow me to describe my missing pen in the event that it’s slipped out of my bag and now lies forgotten behind your oatmeal colored sofa cushions.

It’s blue. A glistening azure blue. The kind of blue that reminds you of snorkeling in the Mediterranean, though now that I’ve said it aloud I wonder if the Mediterranean supports a robust exotic fish population. It has one of those delicate puffs of soft squishy plastic near the nib so that the random and jerky actions of my hands are smoothed and softened a bit.

A twist action reveals the pen point. Every now and then I have to pop open the chamber holding the pen refill from its base, and screw the refill back in. It’s the only flaw I can detect in this otherwise perfect pen.

You’ll note it’s not a fountain pen. Fountain pens carry too much baggage for me, reminding me of my dark, gloomy childhood in Northern England. I lie. I never have even been to England. That’s the truth. But none-the-less, fountain pens make me shudder for reasons that I care not to share with anyone including you.

My patient is waiting for me to open the door of my office and gesture for her to take her customary spot on the other side of the coffee table. I can hear her whimpering, sniffling. She’s working up a good head of misery that she’ll unload within the fifty-minute hour. I know I can help her. We’ve been making headway lately.

But can I really help her minus my pen which is now adrift, lost in the universe somewhere? Maybe it’s rattling between cars on the six train hurtling downtown or lodged near the black kick plate by the elevator in the lobby. The azure blue will undoubtedly catch someone’s eye. She’ll pick it up. Feel its grip. Figure out the twist mechanism and then slip it into her pocket with that lucky feeling bubbling up inside her.

It’s gone. My blue pen is gone.

Ice flows through to my fingertips. I stand in a patch of sunlight trying to regain my bearing as my needy patient ever so gently knocks on the door.

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