At the beginning of this fresh, new year, a monumental occurrence shook up my life: I lost my wallet at a mini golf course.
I hadn’t realized it was gone until the morning after. I scrambled through my belongings in a panic. It couldn’t be gone; I’d just had it. Was it in my purse? Coat? Pocket? Under the bed? Somewhere, anywhere?
The answers: no, no, no, no, and technically yes, but not a “where” of which I had any knowledge. I imagined it forlorn, somewhere in the streets of Seattle. Or in the hands of some villainous mini golfer. I arranged to go back to the mini golf course as quickly as possible, hoping I’d simply left it behind.
It wasn’t until I was sitting on the cold pavement by the entryway of the mini golf place later that day, having just searched the entirety of the place’s interior, that I realized the wallet was truly gone.
Who could have taken it? Why would anyone want it? It didn’t hold any cash, and I’d canceled my debit card right away. The wallet’s only content of value was my Paggliacci Pizza ticket, on which I had garnered almost enough stamps for a free slice of pizza.
And my wallet, I knew, was objectively hideous. I’d gotten it in the fifth grade from Claire’s, a store for preteens with a fashion sense that mainly consists of sparkles and the occasional black leather hair bow.
Claire’s is probably the only store that could have produced a wallet littered with cartoon monkey heads floating upon a garishly hot pink background. Time had taken its toll upon the 10-year-old wallet. The part meant to hold coins had developed a hole, making it hard to keep anything smaller than a quarter from falling out.
Only a few weeks before the wallet was lost, a friend had teased me when I’d pulled it out to pay for dinner. My friend said it was the funniest contrast to see something so horrendous come out my (objectively) much classier Kate Spade handbag.
I’d laughed as well. For about five years, I’d been saying that I would someday get it replaced, but it was said in the same way that you would promise to burn an old diary.
The wallet was definitely embarrassing but also a part of who I once was — a little girl who’d been obsessed with monkeys and the color pink.
Besides, I’m terrible at throwing old things away. My mom would say you’d know that by having a look under my bed.
Life, mercilessly, throws a lot of change at you at once. The beginning of 2017 has meant a lot more for me than just a change of wallet.
I’ve moved into an apartment for the first time, I’m living with dogs for the first time in my life (one for each of my two roommates), and I’m starting to have to think about my plans after college graduation. I’m still getting the hang of bills and figuring out whether it’s OK to feed cheese to a dog.
The vanishing wallet was just another life change. There was nothing else to do but move on and get a new one.
The wallet had its fate a long time coming, I reasoned. It really was ugly. I don’t like hot pink anymore. And the little monkey heads were beginning to look a bit crusty with aged dirt.
I’m getting older, I told myself, and it’s time to think in a more practical manner. I just have to be a grownup and get over it.
Still, does everything have to change? Even amid the new apartment and dogs and the need for a life plan and a new wallet, I wanted my life to sound like mine when I told its story to somebody else. Many things have changed since I was 10, but pasta is still my favorite food and I still love monkeys. Manola is Manola is Manola.
I just had to find the line between what was me and what was necessary to change.
So one night, I ripped the scab off my emotional wound. I ordered a new wallet for a new year and a slightly older me.
It’s blood red and littered with images of lipsticked sock monkeys.
Manola Secaira of Tacoma is a journalism and English major studying at Seattle Pacific University. She is one of six reader columnists wrapping up their year writing for this page. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.