Lost & Found.

Last week my Mayberry let me down.

I came home for lunch on a thousand-degree day, sweating and guilt-ridden from my 4 & ½ block drive, thinking to myself: I’ve been neglecting my bike. Yes, it is so hot that just to stick a toe out of doors has my pupils dilating and skin singeing. And yes, there is a hill on my way so steep I can coast down it in the Kia, starting at zero and ending at lightning-warp-speed, & can confidently confess I could never manage on my no-gear-cruiser. But, I brought it this far. And it’s beautiful. And it’s four blocks. And my gas tank is on E. And somewhere, there’s a puffin or a forest or something, and it’s shaking its fist at me & my lack of eco-ntegrity. There was nothing I could do; I had to bike back.

Unfortunately, when I finished my leftover bean burgers & cilantro & screeched out the screen door, the bike was no longer there.

That’s right, cheri. Some absolute scum of the earth swiped my bicycle while I was on lunch. IN MY HOUSE.

There are only three words that could describe my surprise. Who’da. Thunk. It. Did I not just post about Soapy and his one-eyed cat, the sidewalk produce vendor/barber, who exchanges groceries for bubblegum? There can’t be more than 75 people in this town, & I’ve answered “Fine, how are you?” to them all.

Later that evening, after the bad continued to pile on my day through several incidences at work, and a few minutes (okay, okay, maybe several minutes. Okay, maybe hours!) of pouting, I turned to the one thing I knew could get me through: baking.

Specifically, baking chocolate. Six rich, warm, blueberry topped tortes later found me feeling much better—& on the phone. I was talking to my aunt, telling her of my disillusionment in what I had thought to be the perfect place. She didn’t hesitate to say, “Don’t! Because that’s what you’ll find. In a place that seems perfect, there are still bad people. But then, you can go into some place expecting it to be completely awful, and come across a real pearl.”

I decided that was an idea worth holding on to. So today, I’ve donned my green-laced espadrilles—the ones with the tiniest pink & white stripes I’d always imagined were the perfect small-town shoe, my all-American distressed boyfriend jeans, cuffed, and the lightest sleeveless cotton blouse—so flowy & white it just screams summer. My small-town dreams of biking the streets in my candy-apple cruiser, newly purchased white-wire basket—perfect for holding farmer’s market steals or my bag, to-and-from work—included, may be over. But as for me—& my wedges—we’re holding onto the ideal. Because somewhere out there, a pearl is waiting.