One moment I was having a beer with a friend, enjoying a good conversation. The next moment I felt my heart racing. The small shoulder bag, which I had placed carefully between my knees and the bar wall, was gone.
You know that question, “What would you take with you on an island if you had to leave right now and could only take one item?” Well, the one material thing I would currently take with me was in this bag: my Moleskine notebook… in which I had been scribbling the first draft of my new book over the last eight months.
I am only at chapter seven so far, mind you. But, carving out writing time for these seven chapters next to my day job and private turbulences had been incredibly hard. Most days, I would write during my morning commute to work, or on my lunch breaks…
After the initial shock and after making quick phone calls to block bank and credits cards came the moment when I hurried outside into the park right next to the bar. Phone in hand, I tried to open the flashlight app. But I was so upset that, instead, I took about thirty photographs of my feet and the ground before I managed to hit the right button.
I searched for hours. Checked in dark alleys, in garbage bins and bushes, under benches, in public bathrooms, and under containers… but there was nothing…
To be fair, I experienced a lot of kindness that night as well. I came back to the bar five times, making my rounds, re-checking all the convenient spots where a burglar might discard unwanted items. Each time, the bar staff insisted to give me yet another beer free of charge. Some guests inside the bar were genuinely concerned. People kept asking if I had found anything. Some of them even came outside for a while to help searching. My friend and I had planned to go to a concert. I spontaneously gave my ticket to a homeless guy who had sat on a bench in the park across the venue. He was over the moon and ran over to the entrance, waving the ticket over his head like a magic wand as he slipped inside to enjoy the rare treat. My friend went to the concert as well. Meanwhile, the bar security guard lent me his heavy-duty flashlight, and my friend came back after the concert to help me search further into the night.
Now, the weekend has passed. My initial depression as well. There is nothing left to do but to order new cards and IDs, buy a new bag and wallet, and otherwise hope for a miracle. Maybe the thieves DID discard my – for them – useless items in an accessible spot after all. Maybe someone who cares WILL stumble over them and will either ring me or bring my stuff to the lost and found.
I really don’t care about anything but the notebook. While writing, I had felt frequent moments of magic, when I had gotten the words just right to paint a strong mental image for my readers. There is no way I can re-write this first draft exactly as it was.
So keep fingers crossed for that miracle my friends!!!
If it comes down to it and I have to, I’ll try to write it even better. But, if I can actually manage to do THAT is in the stars…