It was lost. It was lost for about 5 months. I looked in every corner of the house and the Park Avenue. No trace. Maybe I left it on one of my jackets. I checked all of my shirts and jackets one by one. No trace.

Last days of February, 5 months ago. I couldn’t find one of the brooches which my wife gave me as a wedding anniversary gift. She bought them from the antique store in the Corn Town back in December. After my peruse at home and the car, I kept searching for it everyday. “Maybe I should recall the last day I put it on. When was it? Let’s see. Alright, it was the day I taught illustration at COD.”

Tried to remember what I did that day. After the class, I was going back to home, it was cold. “Cold” was not enough to give the sense of the temperature. With the windchill even colder. It felt like -4 degrees Fahrenheit. It was snowing. I needed to stop by the grocery store. Although I had a long and thick woven scarf around my neck and face, my nose was frozen and red, my eyes were in tears of cold. I walked to my car after shopping, put the stuff in the car, walked back with the empty cart, placed it behind the other one, got my quarter back and got back into my car. It was freezing. Maybe I dropped it at the parking lot of the school or at the grocery store. Then, I was reluctantly convinced that I wouldn’t be able to find it, and quit my search.  

Months later. A Tuesday morning. Two days after that Sunday when my brooch popped in my mind again without a reason. I decided to tidy up all of the art supplies we have. We have a tiny closed outside of our apartment in the hallway. Since I emptied my studio at the music building, NIU, I was having hard time to keep our art supplies because the lack of space. The more I tried to get rid of some, the more complicated it got. Even though I gave away some supplies, we still have a lot. Everything is packed like sardines in our closed; tool boxes, canvases and canvas boards, wooden boards, photo boards, storage boxes, brushes, all kinds of paints, toy train sets, brooms, cables, and materials from my previous shows. We decided to use those supplies which were waiting forever. I took everything out from the closet first. Then started to separate them, piled up papers, made stacks of canvases and canvas boards, took all of the acrylic paints from the storage box, and place them in another box, left the oil paints in the same one, made a bunch from the brushes. Well, a little bit more space in the closet now.

After stacking things back into the closed, I threw away some old and broken stuff. I was almost done with organizing our art supplies. There was a canvas bag filled with various sizes of wooden boards to be paint in front of the china cabinet in the living room. When I knelt down to put a bagfull of figurines, I felt a sharp pain under my right big toe. First, I screamed “Ouch!” And looked at my toe, it was bleeding. My wife was horrified with my scream and looking at me with questioning eyes, trying to find out whats going on with me. Then I shouted with joy; “My bird, I found my bird!” 

There it was. After 5 months of journey, my long-lost, copper-bronze colored, bird shaped metal brooch stung my big toe with its needle in the middle of our living room. It will be a mystery where it was hidden, and how it came to the point that I stepped on. Who knows, maybe it could fly when nobody’s looking. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019, Naperville