I recently found a photo of a long-ago lover I had lost.
And then I lost it again.
I remembered being very happy that after a major move in which I thought I may have lost it forever, it had turned up, and then I remember putting it away somewhere for safe keeping. So safe, in fact, that I couldn't find it again myself.
Which bugged me.
I'm too old to be hiding things from myself.
I had a vague recollection of having slipped it into a book, even though I have a candy box full of photos of ex-lovers from other lives, and even a photo album for my best exes, which was given to me by an ex who didn't want to go into the box with the rest of the exes.
What's maddening when you lose something like this is that you know there are only so many places it could be. I humored myself a little and looked in a couple of drawers, riffled through a stack of papers I'd been meaning to file, even flipped through a couple of books I'd recently had out.
When I didn't find it I started to suspect something sinister.
I had obviously hidden it somewhere that when I found it I would get "the joke." I tried to think what the joke could be. Could it be tucked away in The Male Nude? Am I that obvious? Maybe in my dog-eared copy of Le Nain Rouge? Too obscure. I thumbed through a few more volumes. Nada.
I ruled out any volume of poetry on my shelf, because, frankly, as hot as he was, he had a smaller than average thingy, so it was not a romantic attachment.
But if it wasn't, why had I spent half the day angry and agitated over it?
Isn't it funny how we get attached to things? I mean, honestly, I hardly remember this little Romanian whore's name. But that picture. That's going in the giant World Whore Memorial I've planned for the great plaza to be erected in the Leather District upon my death. It's going to be huge.
Anyway, in the end, to make a long-ass story short, I found the photo as I had found its subject: by accident (although not on the street, and I didn't have to pay for it this time). Tucked into a little volume of poetry — The Oxford Book of Sonnets, of all places, sandwiched between two of my favorites by Edna Saint Vincent Millay...
OH, THINK not I am faithful to a vow!
Faithless am I save to love's self alone.
Were you not lovely I would leave you now:
After the feet of beauty fly my own.
Were you not still my hunger's rarest food,
And water ever to my wildest thirst,
I would desert you–think not but I would!–
And seek another as I sought you first.
But you are mobile as the veering air,
And all your charms more changeful than the tide,
Wherefore to be inconstant is no care:
I have but to continue at your side.
So wanton, light and false, my love, are you,
I am most faithless when I most am true.
I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far,
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.