Happy Monday?

She approached one of the three men with wide eyes. “Did you see my keys? When I sat everything down, did I happen to leave my keys?” Her voice quaked.

“No, I didn’t see anything,” he said without emotion. “Check with John.” He nodded toward the buck passing recipient’s direction then continued his task of sorting papers—he didn’t even look at her. If he had he would have seen she was in real distress. Maybe he would have walked with her to go see John, just in case her legs failed her.

“Please tell me you’ve seen a set of keys, or someone has found them and brought them to you,” she said with the most hopeful tone she could muster. She was desperate to not allow the sinking emotional storm to surface.

John looked on the table where she had signed in. He even made a half-hearted attempt at fiddling through some papers in a tray as if the keys would magically appear from his disinterested search. “No. Where was the last place you saw them?”

“Here,” her voice strained under the pressure of holding back tears. Her boys were at home alone and she was stranded on the other side of town. Yes she had friends she could call, but with no way of getting her car home, how was she going to get to work the next day?

“Nope, I don’t see anything here,” John shrugged and went over to help Sam.

Nancy stood motionless in her spot as she watched him walk away. Her mouth dropped open a moment. Then she turned around, retraced her steps, taking deep breaths to keep it together.

Back to the table where she sat. Nothing. Back to the ladies’ room, to the stall she hastened into at the conclusion of the meeting. Nothing. She went to the front desk.

“Oh I’m so sorry, dear,” the lady behind the counter said. “Did you retrace your steps?”

Nancy nodded. She couldn’t even speak as the oppressive reality of the situation hit her.

“What about your bags? Did you check them?” The lady’s voice was calming and soothing, it helped Nancy maintain her shredding grasp of composure.

“I’ve checked them three times.” Nancy took a deep breath. “It’s not so much the keys as it is the miniature visa check card attached to them. That’s to my bank account!” Nancy pulled out her cell phone and her regular bankcard out of her purse. “I’ll have to call it in as lost and hope whoever has my keys hasn’t had a chance to use the card yet.”

The woman behind the counter had very kind eyes. She seemed to feel Nancy’s panic. Her face gave away her thoughts of wanting to do more to help Nancy but also realizing there was nothing she could really do.

With shaking hands Nancy placed her purse on the counter next to her large tote, the one too large for it’s scant contents.

There was a sound.

Nancy opened her eyes wide and drew in an apprehensive breath. She reached into the pocket.

There they were! In her dash to get seated at the meeting on time, Nancy must have slipped her keys and sunglasses into this convenient pocket rather than methodically placing each into their rightful spots in her purse.

“Can I leave this here for just a second please?”

“Sure, hun. I’ll watch it for you.”

“I found them!” Nancy called as she approached the men in the meeting hall. She held her keys high to show them.

The three of them barely glanced at her and then returned to their task of sorting paperwork. Nancy lowered her head and returned to the front desk to retrieve her belongings. “Thank you so much for your kindness,” she said to the woman behind the counter and flashed an appreciative smile.

“I’m glad you found them. Have a good night.” The woman returned her smile.

Nancy walked toward her car, loaded down once again with all of her bags, her keys gripped in her hand. Once seated behind the steering wheel, Nancy let out a sigh of relief. “You are coming off this instant,” she said to the tiny card on her key chain.

After starting the engine, she sat for a moment and reflected on how helpless she felt and how uncaring the staff, her colleagues, had been. Am I in the right profession? Nancy put her car in gear and drove home.

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Aside

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