It’s not unusual to lose things in a move. Moving every little thing you have, your entire life, from one place to another is a big undertaking in itself, and to make it a little more challenging, you often do it very quickly, in a matter of hours.
I’ve moved twelve times in my life, and ten times since (and including the time) I moved from home, to go to college. That time, I had no furniture to take with me, all I had was clothes and records. A few plates, and glasses and forks and knives.
And my VW Beetle.
A few years later, I moved out of the dorm, and stayed at my grandma’s attic for a few weeks, then moved again, and again, once back to the same apartment I had moved from with my parents, and then out of that place again, to Sweden, and then again, and back to Finland, back to Sweden, until I three years ago carried my life to a yellow house in a Stockholm suburb.
That time, I carried a lot of furniture, and a lot of stuff that was a part of my life, but not mine. Beds that somebody else slept in, bikes that other people rode on, and boxes of clothes that were several sizes too small to me.
There are certain things that Wife and I know we’ve lost in one of our four moves. There’s a framed photo that we can’t seem to find, and some T-shirts – although in those cases, I have my suspicions – and some other small items.
There’s also one thing that has survived all my moves. On my desk, leaning against a cannon ball stand a friend of my made in 1998 for a cannon ball I bought in Warsaw in 1997, there’s a small, plastic Donald Duck. He’s about two inches tall, waving happily to nobody in particular. Just waving to the world.
I don’t know where and how I got it, but I know it’s been with me before that first move. I haven’t always known where it is, and it hasn’t always been my favorite toy. I haven’t always carried it with me, and I didn’t fall asleep squeezing D. Duck in my hand when I was four.
A few months ago, though, I decided that it would become my favorite toy. After all, I had had it all these years, through all the phases of my life, so I decided that I would start taking photos with Donald in them wherever I went. Donald would would become my buddy. I would become The Guy With Donald Duck Photos, and Donald Duck would become a celebrity in my sphere of Facebook friends.
Son and Daughter loved it.
“Are you taking another Donald shot, Dad?” they’d ask me, and laugh.
I’d set the shot up, and just nod and wink. I took a photo of Donald drinking coffee, Donald in front of a dinosaur, Donald at the mall, Donald on an escalator.
For days, I walked around with Donald Duck in my pocket. Yes, for “days”. Less than a week after I had decided to make Donald Duck my trusty sidekick, and that we’d be together for ever and ever, I lost it. It wasn’t in my pocket, and it wasn’t on my desk. It wasn’t on my nightstand. Son hadn’t taken it, I asked. He said maybe Daughter had taken it. She hadn’t.
Donald was gone.
I felt stupid. For years, maybe decades, I hadn’t even known where the tiny plastic duck had been, but I still hadn’t lost it. It had still stuck with me, and, somehow, I with it. And then I started this cute game, and he only lasted four days.
And I felt sad. For years, decades, I hadn’t even known exactly where the tiny plastic duck had been, but I still hadn’t lost it. It had still stuck with me, and, somehow, I with it. And then I had started this cute game.
But, I gave up. I had been riding my bike all around the city with Donald in my pocket, or so I thought, and I could have dropped it anywhere. My chances of finding it were slim to none. I casually told Wife that Donald was gone, and then tried to tell myself that it wasn’t such a big deal anyway.
It was just a stupid duck. And I was just a stupid guy, lying on the floor in his office, sad and angry at himself.
And just then, I saw something blue under my desk, behind my camera bag. I crawled up a little closer, and saw something white. And then I saw a small duck in a sailor suit, lying on his back.
He was smiling and waving with his hand, like he was happy to see me. I waved back, picked him up, and carefully placed him next to the cannon ball stand so he could lean against it. And not move.