A few weeks ago, I lost my jacket.
It was a nice jacket. The nicest jacket I've ever owned. It fit well, it was warm, I looked good in it, it was black and the pockets would fit a paperback or a Kindle. Everything that a jacket could be to a man, that jacket was to me.
It was my fault I lost it. When the train pulled in to Chalfont & Latimer, I was nestled comfortably in my seat, buried deep in some hacking and enjoying the subtle afterglow of the couple of glasses of Malbec I'd had with dinner. The stop took me by surprise. I rushed. I grabbed my laptop, my book and even felt a little proud of not forgetting my water bottle as I dashed off the train and plunged into the cold and lonely night air that seems to cling to country railway platforms. Meanwhile, that best of all jackets was in the rack above a seat no longer mine.
At this point, I lost my temper too. Were it not for Joliette's heroic patience and level-headedness, I would have haunted the station for hours, moaning incoherently at whatever staff I could find. Eventually, I became aware of her gently explaining to me that I should check in at Marylebone Station on Sunday, and again in two weeks time. Don't give up hope, she said.
I checked in on Sunday, and filed some paper-work. They also told me not to give up hope. I think I mustered a smile to pretend I wasn't going to. Two weeks went by, and I went in again and Joliette called them up, but still no jacket. I gave it up as lost, and started looking for a new one.
It was a nice jacket though, and apparently nice jackets like these are a bit like nice mangos, and cannot be bought out of season. After much browsing, searching and shopping, I couldn't find a replacement in my size. I even got in touch with the manufacturer, who said that it was no longer for sale and my best bet was to try their factory outlets. I don't have the money, though, and winter might end any day now.
Today, though, I received an email from Marylebone Station, asking me if I had lost a jacket. I said yes, and very kind lady at the other end of the email said that they had an unclaimed jacket, and that she'd used her brain and checked the pockets. In one jacket, she had found a print-out of an email that had something to do with boxing, addressed to me. They'd had no paper-work and were surprised I hadn't noticed that it was missing, after all, it was a nice jacket.
As I sailed out of Marylebone today, I'm sure I looked better than I had in weeks. Whether it was the smile or the jacket, I couldn't say.