*This is something I wrote in a creative writing course during my freshman year of college. It is loosely based off of some of the stories found in Paul Auster’s “The Red Notebook: True Stories.”
Just the other day, A had called me on my cell phone and left a brief voicemail stating his safe arrival at the airport. A was an old college friend of mine and had been residing in London for the past few years. Despite the years of work he put in during college, his degree in Communications had not helped him to find a permanent job in America – his only viable option was to move to England to find work. He now works various odd jobs as a writer/editor for multiple news sources in the city of London, and lives very conservatively.
It came as a bit of a shock that A had decided to even return to America in the first place. Even though I was delighted to see him again it struck me odd that he would call me once he was already at the airport here in Philadelphia. The short notice of his arrival left me in a bit of disarray, as I felt obliged to let him stay with me for the time being. I called him and immediately asked if he had made arrangements to be picked up or if he called me to pick him up specifically. He said that the reason was the latter, and I left for the half-hour drive to the airport. When I arrived at the airport he greeted me with a warm handshake and I drove him back to my apartment in the suburbs. During that commute I barely spoke, but A could not stop talking. He described to me the position that he was in with great detail – one of the news sources that he works for in London had requested that he fly here to do research for an upcoming major news report. I had no problem letting him stay with me for a few days, but I was still alarmed at how sudden this entire situation had sprung up.
After sitting around in the family room for a few hours, catching up on each other’s lives, we decided to head to a local restaurant for a late lunch. After spending an hour or so we decided that we should head back to my apartment, allowing A to work on what he needed to before heading back to London with his story completed. Because of his gratitude towards me he volunteered to pick up the check and pay for our meal. Suddenly, a look of disappointment and confusion appeared on A’s face – he could not locate his wallet, which could not be anywhere other than in his pocket, A convinced me. I paid for the meal myself and immediately drove back home with A, who was panicking because he was certain that his wallet was not there, but on the plane. Unfortunately, this proved to be true and A forced me to drive him back to the airport.
As ridiculous as this sounds, I had hope that A would be able to find his wallet somewhere in one of the terminals, or maybe it was even already recovered from one of the planes, which was extremely unlikely. I felt that his only option was to locate the Lost & Found Department and explain his dilemma. But what if it was on the plane that he took in order to get here? Surely everything in his possession would be lost forever, as the plane would long be gone from the airport. After talking with the two women at the Lost & Found Department, A concluded that all hope was lost. There was nothing that he could do.
As A and I were leaving the terminal to return to our car, we heard the unmistakable commotion of several planes taking off, in every which direction. As we were close to reaching my car, the noise of the planes grew extremely loud and almost unbearable. As A and I looked upwards and examined the sky, we saw one plane in particular flying much lower than the rest. A determined that he could make out the number on the side of the plane, 162, but I found that to be unfathomable for I could not even detect any number at all on the side of the plane. But A insisted that the plane flying low was the one that took him here in the first place. All of a sudden, the engine roared and the wind stirred up above us. A small, black object began to fall from the sky towards us just as the plane started to gain elevation and lift upwards. I stared at the ground intently as A bent down to pick up a black leather wallet, a wallet with all of his personal belongings in it. It was his wallet alright, delivered to him by the plane before its next voyage. And when A looked through it, not a single thing was out of place.