Key Lost Key Found



“Where the hell are my keys?”

This is my perennial thought every time I visit the Costco Gas station on Sepulveda Boulevard, day or night. I’ll stand beside the car, staring out into space, waiting for the gallons to fill up and my cash to drain out and think about keys. My keys. Specifically, the set of keys that I lost, without a trace, at this exact Costco Gas station eighteen months ago.

It was one of life’s little mysteries. I’d had the keys when I left the house: which I knew because I remembered locking up. And I still had half the keys when I left the Costco Gas station, which I knew because the car still started. But by the time I made it to my office- back at my old job at which it was necessary to have a bathroom key, somehow I no longer had one.

How does one lose half their keys?

I’d searched the car. I’d searched the parking garage. I’d asked at the building office if anyone had turned anything in. I’d called the landlady to make sure I hadn’t somehow dropped them in the driveway. I’d gone back to the Costco to check in the lost and found.

Nothing. Nada. Not a trace. The keys were gone.

It bothered me. Every time I went back to the gas station I thought about it, and every time I came away mystified. But somehow it felt… appropriate. The day I lost my keys was the day my life took a jog into unexpected territory: new friends, new interests, adventures in therapy, profound depression… it felt like a hex. It felt like my keys had been stolen by eldritch fae bent on inflicting misfortune on my life. Whom, I wondered, had I insulted to deserve this?

At any rate, they came back today.

In a twist of poetic symmetry, I had stopped at the Costco Gas today on the way to work, and I had wondered, as usual, where my keys had gone. It wasn’t that I needed them: I’d replaced them ages ago, but the fact that they were missing still bothered me.

“Maybe it was just meant to be.” I decided, as I usually do, and I went along my way.

I made it to work and sat in the parking lot to put on some makeup before walking onto the lot. I fished out the stub of an eyebrow pencil: by now, little more than the length of my thumb, and fumbled it. It fell… beside me somewhere: I didn’t see where. I hadn’t heard it hit the seat or the center console, but if Murphy’s Law had any influence, it was almost certainly somewhere down beside the drivers side seat. I couldn’t see it, but I could see something that glinted silver in the morning light. Reaching a hand down, I could feel something. I thought it would probably be too difficult to get ahold of it, but I managed to pinch it between two fingers and it came out easily. A set of keys. Two house keys. A key to an office bathroom. A mystery key I no longer recognized.

The missing keys were back.

I couldn’t help but feel like it was a sign. Of what? I didn’t know. It felt portentous that the keys had come to me on today of all days. That they had appeared on a day when I’d gone to the same gas station where I’d lost them. Maybe a sign that it was time to turn the key to open up a new chapter of my life. Maybe it was a sign that it was time to turn the key to close an old one. Maybe it is a sign that the questions that have mystified me for months will finally start producing some answers: answers that, in spite of all my searching, may have been within arm’s reach this whole time.

I could be happy with that.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 18, 2019.

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