First, you have to lose it. You do this by walking in two minutes before your wife’s online class begins to an audibly frazzled baby who can’t figure out how to get two feet through one pant leg. You toss your wallet on the table. Then, you forget I said anything about a table.
You make the complicated recipe that your wife picked out for dinner that involves currants, peeled apple slices, and something called chutney; you bathe the baby; you wash the dishes; you roll your eyes with your wife at ridiculous things that can be said when education is distant.
You forget about the table.
You ask your wife the next morning, have you seen my wallet?
No, she says. Did you look in your pants from last night?
Yes, you say.
Did you look in the truck? Your truck is a mess. Did you look in your truck?, she says.
Yes, you say, it’s fine. I’m not worried about it. It’ll show up.
Look in these places when you get home: behind the nightstand; in the pockets of all your pants, even the ones you haven’t worn since you lived in Florida; in the crack between the gear shaft and the passenger seat; in Clara’s container of Lincoln logs; under both couches; in the box of envelopes Clara likes to dump out every thirty minutes; in the refrigerator; under the house; in Clara’s shopping cart; under the crib mattress. You must be very thorough.
Next, go back to Fred Meyer for the second time and stand in line at Customer Service for eighteen minutes. Ask if they could please check to see if a wallet has been turned in. Consider asking if there is only one customer service counter and one lost and found.
Park in the same spot you parked when you left that night. Look among the Monster energy drinks and cigarette butts for your wallet near the parking curb. Don’t worry about the stares. Retrace your precise steps to and from the side entrance by the produce.
You’re not going to want to do this, but you must if you want to find your wallet. Take the week’s three bags of garbage to the dump, and, one dirty diaper and cantaloupe rind at time, look for your wallet in the coffee grinds and leftover peas.
You’ve almost found it, but first you have to decide it’s lost. You must cancel all your credit cards and listen to the DMV’s five minute answering message before they give you their office hours. Talk to the customer service associate from Key Bank in St. Louis about how well the Cardinals are doing in the post-season. Tell him you’re from the Midwest.
Explain to your wife that if someone was going to steal your identity, they would probably also steal your money so we should be relieved that the bank account numbers have remained stable.
Buy a new wallet.
Lay on the couch and enjoy your sense of closure.
Feel the weight on your chest. That’s your wallet. You’re stunned! Ask, where did you find it, Honey?
She says, Remember how I didn’t get mad when we couldn’t find it?
Go ahead and remember this. Go ahead, now. There, that’s it. She’s a good wife.
Your wallet was folded into the crumpled tablecloth in the laundry basket on top of the dryer.
And that is how you find a wallet.