goodwill towards men

We’ve been together almost eleven years. I can tell he’s upset as soon as I pick up the phone.

“I left your Christmas present on the train.”

“Oh no.”

“I know.”

This is what it is to be married: I drive through the rain to Fourth and King, furious because he has been absent-minded again, anxious because we were trying to have a frugal Christmas, upset because a gift he bought me is lost, distraught because he is probably more upset about it than I am, secretly rather proud that I am being a good sport, then on the edge of tears because I am tired and hungry and driving through the rain.

I park and walk circles around the station. The ticket seller wants nothing to do with me, and it takes ten minutes or more before I find the kindly station agent with the lazy eye.

“My husband left my Christmas present on the train.”

He takes a step back. “Gracious! Follow me!”

We charge through the train. We interrogate the cleaner. I slow down as we go through carriage after carriage empty-handed, and hope fades.

“We’re all out of train,” he says, looking sympathetically at me with one eye and compassionately off to the left with the other.

We walk back up the platform in the rain.

“I’m mostly sad because my husband will be sad,” I confess. “I should go to a camera store and buy a replacement and tell him I found it.”

The station agent is amused. “There’s a great camera store on Second.”


“That’s the one!”

As we’re leaving we pass the driver. The station agent says off-handedly, “You didn’t see a digital camera still in its bag, did you?”

“I was going to drop it off in San Jose,” says the driver.

It takes me a minute to process this. “You found it?”

He produces it from the engine room. I hold it in my hands and stare. I am dumbfounded, elated. My joy makes everyone laugh. “Thank you all so, so much! You’ve saved my Christmas!”

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