The earrings were a series of filled, concentric circles, of thin silver wire. They'd come from the thrift store, like most of my jewelry, and had been 3 dollars in a set with 2 other pairs. On the first day I wore them, a list of "what women should not wear after 30" made its rounds, and my dangly earrings made the list. It was fitting: my whole wardrobe is not one which kowtows to rules. But as I unmade myself before bed that night, one was missing, and I was sad.
I knew where I'd been since I last was sure I had them on. They were not in the coffee shop, so I made the bicycle trip with my face glued to the ground. I scanned everywhere, making a note of where cars might have parked since the day before. No luck. On a subsequent ride, I checked there. Still no.
Sometimes, though, with concentrated focus, you can miss the bigger picture. As I went to the kitchen a few days later to get a drink, I noticed something shiny against the baseboard. It was probably in plain sight the entire time, and I walked past it each time I got out or put away my bicycle. It's easy to be thrown off your game when you make a mistake, but you risk not recovering from it if you lose focus.