and my metrocard friend.
She whose face and name I bear dropped me during a CAS scholar’s plenary session. Then, horror of horrors, she put me in her coat pocket.
She forgot to bring me to work the next day, so I wasn’t necessary until she couldn’t find my metrocard friend, who shares the same translucent blue pocket with me. I later heard that she replaced him with a nice collector’s edition card with a picture of Grand Central Terminal on it.
I heard someone search for me that first afternoon of separation, but I remained silent.
I wonder if she panicked the two days she was not home, when I was lost and separated from all the places she was living. I wonder if she realized all the things I held the key to: smooth campus entries, printing in computer labs, access to the publication lab that she must use every Tuesday night, free admission to MoMA.
I wonder if she felt as lost without me as I did without her, especially since the back pockets of the card holder I was in held the business cards of many important people I knew she wanted to contact.
She returned Sunday and couldn’t find me. She calmly suggested I was at work. I was pained that she forgot.
I cringed when I heard her talk about her struggle with the security guard to enter the Henry Kaufman Center for her marketing class after she’d already woken up late for her 9:30am class. I was devastated when I heard she’d spent $15 to replace me, but I was glad that she liked her newer picture better and that the card clerk had been pleasant and complimented her on her glasses. Yes, I bore her face from two years ago, when she had silver frames. She kept comparing her new picture with her work id, and I wonder if she missed me, the marker of her past, pre-NYU Shanghai self.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to shout from under the notebooks: “I’m right here, underneath the notes you never review, on top of the textbook you haven’t touched, on the desk you’ve never cleaned.”
I suffered three whole nights and days in the lonely corner under the papers. Then suddenly she found me as she hurriedly packed for school. She was half-mad. I think she was happier to see my metrocard friend than to find me, a reminder of an old self. She pulled me away from my friends and cast me into a dark desk drawer.
I will see the sun no more.