Charlie’s Room: The Pocket

Isaac looked at himself in the mirror. He smiled and smoothed down the front of his new coat. It was a little silly to buy a new coat in the middle of winter, just as the weather was starting to warm up a little.  Especially since he already had a perfectly good coat. But he liked this coat, and it had been such a good deal.

He’d gone to the store for milk, but there was a display of marked down clothing near the register. As he hurried by, he saw the arm of his new coat sticking out from between a baby blue hoodie and a neon pink vest, as if calling out for help. He’d chuckled and taken it off the rack, planning on moving it to another spot where it fit in better.

Removed from the rack he could see the coat better, and it was soft and gray and soothing. It was his size. He tried it on and it was like wearing a hug. Somehow, he took it with him as he rushed away to find the milk.

It had tags, but no price sticker. They couldn’t find it in their computer. The employee, new to her job, gave up and called the manager. The manager tried to find the coat in the computer. It just wasn’t there.

Isaac almost told them that he didn’t really need a new coat anyways.   Then he looked down and it was reaching out an arm towards him, as if pleading for him to be patient. He waited. In the end, the manager pulled the hoodie off the clearance rack and rang that up instead.

Everyone at work complimented his new coat. Isaac was in a great mood by the time he got home. As he reached to take his coat off, he found an inside pocket that he hadn’t noticed before. How had he missed that?

It was the perfect size for his car keys. This way he wouldn’t forget where he put them. He slipped the keys inside the pocket and hung up the new coat. He gave it a fond pat as he turned to leave the room. Maybe Charlie would want to play a round of Scrabble?

That evening, they decided to go to see the latest dinosaur and space ships movie.   Isaac pulled on his new coat and checked the pocket. The keys weren’t there. He checked the other pockets. He checked the floor. The dresser. The hallway. The car.

Charlie and Marianne were already waiting by the door when he came back inside.   “I seem to have misplaced my keys.   Have you seen them?”

“Sure,” Charlie said. “They were on my desk. I’ll go get them.”

How strange. Had he taken them with him when he asked Charlie for a Scrabble game? He couldn’t quite remember. Charlie came back with the keys. The movie was excellent. The dinosaurs saved the earth from the alien invaders. Again.

When they returned home, Isaac almost put the keys back in his coat pocket.   He paused. He put them on the dresser instead. The next morning he forgot all about losing his keys.

As Isaac was leaving work the next day, a coworker was handing out candy to celebrate the birth of his daughter. Isaac smiled and congratulated him and tucked the candy in his inside coat pocket to give to Charlie later. Then he cooed over the pictures of the new baby and remembered when Charlie was that little.

Charlie met him at the door with a hug. “Thanks for the candy, Dad,” he said. “It was a nice surprise. You’re the best.” He grinned. “Maybe we can play Scrabble again when I get my homework done.”

Confused, Isaac reached into his inside coat pocket. The candy was gone. He checked the outside pockets. His keys and gloves were still there. This called for an experiment.

Carefully, he put his keys in the inside pocket. He patted the coat. The keys were still there. He waited a minute and patted the coat. Still there. Another minute. They were gone.

Walking past the kitchen, he could hear Marianne and Charlie talking. He continued down the hall and looked into Charlie’s room. His keys were sitting in the middle of Charlie’s desk. Well, that answered that question. His new coat was amazing.

The next day, before leaving work, he wrote a note. “Dear Charlie, I love you. I’ll see you soon. Do you want to play Scrabble again? Love, Dad.” Then he folded it up and slipped it into his inside coat pocket.