Seven or eight years ago, The Missus knitted me a beautiful pair of gray wool mittens.
The mittens were more than wooly hand warmers to me–they were proof that I could be responsible enough to not lose something special.
See, if I’d received them in my teens, or my early 20s, I would’ve lost one, or perhaps both, within weeks of receiving them. Same as I’d lost jackets and bags and coolers and other keepsakes of varying value.
But as a person in his 30s, with real world responsibilities either on my plate or about to be served, I always made extra sure both mittens were accounted for.
And so we reached each spring–perhaps eight, in total, with the pair intact, each spring a two handed salute to my adulthood and successful acceptance of responsibility. (A stretch? Perhaps. But go with it.)
Until late December, that is. I noticed one was missing as I stepped onto the Grand Central platform. I bolted back onto the train and located my seat. A conductor told me the train was departing for the yard soon. I told him about the mitten. We joked that I’d had them a good, long time, and The Missus would not be mad.
It wasn’t there.
I checked my path that evening from the train at Hawthorne Station to my bike. Nothing.
I sort of forgot about the missing mitten over the break. The weather was warm, I wasn’t riding a cycle to the station each day.
Until this morning.
The Missus has been on a knitting tear lately, which is actually the best time to lose a mitten. She’d knitted a hat and a pair of gray woollen mittens (convertible ones that allow your fingers to go al fresco when the mood suits you) for Little G over the break and I, speaking from experience, told him to make sure both are accounted for when exiting the bus, school, etc. (While Little G loves his new creations, Little Miss C is not so enamored with her new knitted leg warmers.)
After he departed for the bus, I fished a generic crap-brown pair out of the winter weather gear box in the closet, a pair so insecure in their degree of class that they have a ‘Thinsulate’ tag sticking out of them, along with ’40 gram.’ (Is that a lot of Thinsulate? Who the hell knows?) I jammed them in my pocket (where the lonely gray woolen mitten was curled up, lamenting the absence of his longtime partner), and set out for the garage and my bike.
Climbing upon my trusty cycle, I went for the brown gloves. Alas, one was gone in the, oh, 60 seconds since I stuck in my pocket–sitting in the street in front of our house, a reminder of how easily gloves and mittens jump ship.
I made my way down to the station amidst the unforgiving tundra temps. Each push of the pedal was a painful reminder that I’d stepped on my Blackberry charger, prongs-side up, in stocking feet yesterday–tied for winter holidays 2011-12 lowlight, along with all 28 times I heard McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime.”
Did I secretly wish I’d find the Train Delay Cafe finally open, muffin steam coating the windows of the old train station. No, it was no secret–I’d expressed that wish to the Missus.
Alas, the future cafe seemed to be no closer to completion than when I’d last been at the station a dozen days before, though a pair of construction guys inside hopefully will change that.
I locked up my bike and jammed the dopey Thinsulate gloves into my pocket as I followed the path to the platform where my great old woollen mitten had, two weeks before, met his demise.