He hadn’t realized it was lost until he got to work. He took off his coat and left it on the back of his chair. Then he put his lunch bag in the corner of his desk as a promise of something nice for later if he could just focus for a little while now. And then Isaac looked in his wallet where he kept all of his important things. And it wasn’t there.
He’d quickly retraced his steps back to his car, but it wasn’t anywhere along his route. He checked inside the car, and he’d even looked under the seats and inside the glove box. He checked with the building lost and found. It wasn’t there, either.
Eventually, he had to start working. But it’s pretty hard to work when you’ve lost your motivation. He wrote emails and didn’t finish them. He wrote to do lists and color-coded them with highlighters. He filed the stacks of paper on his desk.
At lunchtime, he ignored his lunch sitting on the corner of his desk and drove straight home. When he arrived, Marianne was just leaving. “Isaac? What are you doing home?”
He shrugged. “I lost something. So, I came home on my lunch break to see if I left it here.”
She paused, with her hand still on the doorknob. “What did you lose? Do you need help looking for it?”
“I lost my motivation,” he said. “I had it yesterday, but it was gone today.”
Marianne sighed. “Oh, honey. Are you feeling down? Maybe you’re getting sick. Everyone seems to be coming down with spring colds lately. I think it’s the change in the weather. Maybe you should call in sick and take a nap.”
“I don’t think I’m sick, just having a hard time getting anything done. I’ll be fine.”
Marianne frowned. She looked at him closely, and then nodded. “All right. But call me if you need me and I’ll come straight home.”
“Okay.” He hugged her and smiled and waved as she left.
The house seemed dark and empty. Isaac looked in the front closet and inside his slippers before he changed out of his shoes. He looked in the kitchen cupboards and in the fridge and on his desk. He peeked under the kitchen table and under his bed. He checked inside his dresser and under his pillow.
He checked Charlie’s room. He found a small blue monkey stealing one of Charlie’s shoelaces. The shoes were too small for Charlie, so Isaac didn’t say anything when the monkey disappeared with the shoelace. Besides, he had more important things to do.
He looked under the rug and on the bookshelf and inside the desk. He couldn’t find it anywhere. Had it gone out with the trash in the morning? Had the blue monkey stolen it in the middle of the night to line his shoelace nest? Did a shoelace nest look like a bird nest or more like a hammock?
Isaac drove back to work. He did his best to finish strong, but his heart wasn’t in it. He was just going through the motions, putting his time in and feeling disconnected. It was not his best day at work.
When he returned home, Charlie met him at the door. “Mom said you lost something. Do you need help? I’m good at finding things. I found a dime on the way to school yesterday and three pennies last week.”
“I lost my motivation,” Isaac said. “I can’t find it anywhere.”
“What does it look like?” Charlie asked.
“It was a picture of you and your mom and I, it was about this big, and it fit in my wallet.” Isaac traced a small rectangle in the air with his pointer fingers.
“I know where that is,” Charlie said.
“Yeah, you were showing it to Miss Marta yesterday, and then you put it in your coat pocket,” Charlie said.
“Which pocket? Was it the inside pocket?”
“No, it was the outside pocket. That one.” He pointed to Isaac’s left side.
Isaac reached into his pocket. The picture was there. He’d had it the whole time. “I guess I hadn’t lost my motivation after all,” he said.
“Well, that’s good.” Charlie smiled. “I told you I was good at finding things. Can we go to the park now that the weather is nice?”
“That sounds like fun. Wait a moment while I put this away where it goes.”
“Good idea,” Charlie said. “You don’t want to lose it again, right?”