It’s been said that everything eventually comes down to a moment. An entire trip’s worth will come down to a single, unforgettable moment. Here’s it with Tokyo, Japan – one in which was a personal, lifelong dream finally realized … but also the loss of a lifelong companion.
For the past 14 years, she has been a witness and sidekick to my childhood, girlhood, young adulthood and transition to full-fledged adult as well as become my very own travel buddy. We’ve gone Stateside and back together, Eurotrip, annual road trips as a kid and of course naturally, this trip too. Except.. On Day 7, she went missing. I’ve replayed my Tuesday morning over and over in my mind – of how I’d woken up late, crankier than usual because Eldest Bro’s snores had kept me awake most of the night and exhausted from the traveling (it’s really most fun only in the beginning) plus hungry as hell, I’d rushed out without much thought. I’d left her on the bed – not on the comforter, I remembered enough to remove her from that but left her on the mattress – and without even a second glance, left the room, off to my solo ventures.
In the past seven days, I would return to the hotel room to see her hilariously propped up or down on the bedside table or chair by the housekeeper. One thing’s certain: she would always be there. Until… Day 7, the last day – of all days and time! I’d happily spent the day in Shibuya and came back feeling gleeful at my purchases but one look to the left of the room and she… was not there.
You know that feeling of dread, the kind that sinks in with immediate effect – that even before knowing anything, your gut feeling already knows that it’s bad news? That’s what happened. Frantic, I’d stripped the carefully made up beds, looked up, down and everywhere else but could not find her. Like a loon, I’d then reported her to the front desk and requested they look for… “A soft toy – it’s a lamb and it’s small. White in color.” Forget feeling embarrassed, I tried to make them understand, the poor front desk folks who struggled to just hear me out in English, that oh hell no – the housekeeping ladies had to have accidentally taken her away when they were cleaning the room! Most importantly, that I leave the hotel at 530 AM tomorrow morning so they need to DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. Give her back to me. GET HER BACK TO ME.
Now it’s been 60 hours and the search (seriously, only in Japan? They took my case so seriously like I’d lost my laptop) has officially been called off… They’d even (hilariously, when you think about it in hindsight) printed the photo of Mel I’d emailed to them and showed it to the housekeeping ladies. In fact, they’d also called the linen company to check on their end as well as dug through trash and the laundry room. In other words, they’d tried their best.
Mel’s forever gone. Lost.
Was she lambnapped? Third Sis thinks so. I have my doubts – she’s a soft toy! Why would anyone want to take her?! – but I think this is what frustrates and upsets me the most, eerily like a reflection of losing a real person … This feeling of having been robbed of my goodbye. This is what bothers and pricks at my heart most painfully as it does now – I know it’s not forever, that eventually I’ll need to grow up and let her go, but I… wanted to do that on my own terms. My own timeline.
But now I won’t get to. Ever.
She’s lost in a place I won’t ever return to – unlikely in the near future – and so suddenly, too. I didn’t even look back and give the room, what more her, a second glance as I left that morning! I’d taken everything for granted and didn’t think to clean up my stuff in the room, those scattered near the bed.
Now she’s gone, forever. In another country. Forever.
I don’t ask you to understand, because the rational side of me knows I’m not just acting like a loon, writing this – I’m being one. But this little lamb… This little lamb that never grows old… Is my dearest, dearest friend. It’s my best friend, my happy pill, my comfort pillow and my one true friend.
Four-friggin’-teen years! Then poof, just like that. I can’t even remember the details of my last moment with her, ugh. My heart is broken and sore – there’s now a gap and I’m… grieving.
She’s gone forever. I’d thought I’d move on to Stanford with her, but that’s clearly and unfortunately, not happening now.
Thank you so much for the past 14 years. I loved you so, so much with all my heart and more. You will forever, mark my words, be in my heart.