lost and found by Ilka Mészely

Lost & Found

lost and found by Ilka Mészely

Illustration by Ilka Mészely.

I lost myself a little these last few months. Just a little, not a lot.

No search parties or missing posters necessary.

Lost, but just a little. Not a lot.

Lost like the set of spare keys you know are hiding somewhere, just not exactly where you thought you’d left them. Like the jumble of crinkled bus tickets, Burt’s Bees lip balms, hairpins and dust-coated soft mints rolling around in the crevices of a well-worn coat pocket. Lost like the button of a favourite jumper. Lost like the birthdays of friends I can never recall until the day after said celebration. Lost like the hours I’ve spent drying my hair and brushing my teeth. Like the days I’ve spent waiting for the Met line, for texts back, for someone to take notice. Generally, experience has shown, you have to find these things yourself. Search the lining; map a different route. Write down the birthdays; thread a needle with cotton and re-sew aforementioned button. 

So here I am. Lost & found. 

In the almost-four months since we last spoke, I have moved from a city to a small town, to a place where I can no longer simply hop on a tube that will take me from desired A to desired B. I moved house too – now, 60 miles beyond London, we have stairs (!) and a spare bedroom (!!) and a conservatory. (!!!???)

I started a new job, one where I get to call the shots (and the hours), that is in fact approximately 318 jobs rolled into one. I started a Master’s degree. I enrolled on a writing course (in hindsight, one commitment too many). I returned from almost ten weeks abroad on a continent known for its sticky-fingered humidity to a country so cold my bones began to creak like old pipes. I turned 27, or was it 28? Either way, I felt ancient.  

It’s been fun (truly) and tricky (madly) and overwhelming (deeply) and I didn’t realised until I did that I needed a little space from this space. I didn’t mean to vanish, in absentia, without telling anyone. I didn’t mean to vanish, period. But as time went on, and the Under Construction banner disguised my fluctuating ambivalence, I realised I did miss this home after all. More and more, in the face of algorithms and devastating data theft, and ADS ADS ADS all the ad-damn time, this ad-free just-for-me feels holy, and worth saving.

It was an email from my American fairy godmother, as I’ve come to think of her, that sowed the seeds of a return (a metaphor that seems fitting, in light of the spring that has blossomed in my absence). Is your Danube blog a thing of the past? Really under construction or have you killed it off? she wrote, and I thought, gosh, how do those who love you just know? I had been hiding behind that holding page, wondering what to do with this space, yet her question made my heart ache. A thing of the past? This long-loved, long-standing log of mine, named in honour of the happiest time in my life? To let it flutter out of reach, just like that? Too heart-breaking. I don’t do goodbyes well, if at all if I can help it. Then my sister said she missed it and, well, two dissenters to a self-imposed stay of execution was enough for me to grant parole.

So here I am, no longer quite so lost. I’ve settled in, to some extent, to this new home, this new town, this new job. I feel refreshed enough to return to this place. I haven’t taken a photograph on my proper camera for at least a month, maybe two, and I miss being creative for creativity’s sake. I miss writing for pleasure – and for you. Expect posts a plenty, but nothing fancy. I want to reclaim this arena as somewhere I can write what I wish, with no thoughts of perfection. I want to thrust words about this room as one might confetti on a wedding day, to take pictures of anything I feel like. Edwin Way Teale wrote, “All things seems possible in May.” And so they do. And here we are.  

Tell me, how have you been? (I’d really like to know.)