At Ossington station, I knew where I’d stood on the platform. But when I got there, it had been cleaned.
I don’t know how long I searched. I turned into a bag lady, right then, right there. A bag lady – including a shopping bag and muddy pants – and a howling banshee.
I now have full faith in the ability of the Toronto Transit riders to ignore everything around them. My sobs were bouncing off the walls. I was on my hands and knees, literally sweeping the floor with my hands, craning my head into any nook or cranny, and attempting to open locked doors. I leaned my entire upper body out over the tracks, searching below for the ring. TTC riders are amazing. They have practiced the Non-Gaze and eye-avoiding strategies and they’ve stuffed their ears with rehearsed indifference.
One parent actually ushered their children away from my end of the platform. I was surprised that security didn’t come to get me. But being in a state of total panic, a) I was completely self-absorbed in my own world of terror and assumed everyone else saw how wild-eyed I was, b) I had no accurate perception of the passage of time and c) Virus Me and Wimpy Me were both standing in a corner staring at Panic Me going, “No seriously, girl, what the fuck?”
Red eyed, I went up to the ticket booth. I told him my plight and asked if he had found anything.
“No, it was cleaned last night. If they find anything they send it off to the main lost and found at Bay.”
“BUT I HAVE TO FIND IT. I’VE LOST IT. PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME.” No seriously, I actually burst into more sobbing and moans.
Terrified, the TTC Man said, “Ok, ok, there’s a couple of pieces here that haven’t gone out yet. Are any of them yours?”
“Then you’ll have to call this number. I’m sorry.”
Does anyone else look like they have measles when they cry? In order, as I get more and more upset, and cry longer, I acquire: red eyes, red mouth, red nose, spots around my mouth, spots on my forehead, white rimmed eyes with bloodshot eyeballs, a purple nose, a purple mouth, purple spots around my mouth and cheeks. It’s nice to know I can still see what I would have looked like with smallpox.
Because of this little problem, people’s indifference began to become interest. They started glancing at me. People tried to console me. I think one woman thought I was going to jump in front of the subway and wouldn’t let me get out of conversation with her until the subway opened its doors and I ran away from her into another car.
I’m not positive how I made decisions on where to go. I tried to call Kyle and he didn’t pick up. I left a blathering message. Other people gave me tentative smiles, now that I wasn’t actively crying, which was very sweet of them.
When I ended up at King and Bathurst, very close to the climbing gym, I called my boyfriend.
“I don’t know how I got here!”
“What? What’s going on? Are you ok?”
“I lost it!”
“What is, what happened?”
“Why am I at the climbing gym? If I go in they’re going to stare at me! I can’t see Kyle like this!”
“You should go to the gym. You should talk to Kyle. Where are you?”
“At King and Bathurst.”
“Ok, so go to the gym and I’ll try to get out of work.”
“No! You can’t do that!”
“You don’t understand! You don’t know what’s going on? You don’t know if I’m crazy!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
“Why did I come here?”
“I don’t know.”
At some point I began to scream at him, very, very loudly. I screamed about how he didn’t understand and how could he know if I’m crazy if he’s not inside my head and he didn’t know anything and more and more and more about crazy this and that because at that point I definitely felt crazy.
I hung up on him too. Nice job, Panic Me.