“What are you doing,” Alicia said with her eyes half closed to her husband. Savian, sat with his knees to the floor, surrounded by crumpled pieces of paper and folders. Alicia was exhausted after a long day of student orientation. She was responsible for counseling students into the right path for their careers and the beginning was always difficult getting into the flow.
“Trying to find… something,” Savian said, mumbling to himself.
Alicia sighed. “Can you clean up when you’re done. I’m tired of looking at this mess.” Alicia had witnessed her husband go through changes over the years in their marriage. But several months ago, he woke with a vision in the middle of the night and dashed to his office down the hall to scribble down his dream as it dissipated into nothingness.
Savian had spent countless nights after that dream, piecing together his memories with old pieces of papers he collected as he was a kid. Alicia thought for a moment that he was a pack rat and she was fine with it, so long as it was out of the way. But now, Savian was taking all of his papers out and sorting them. Her environment soon reflected her mental state of mind.
“Hello,” she droned on to grab his attention. Savian looked at her with his hands shuffling papers. He hadn’t stopped once as organized his project. When Alicia didn’t respond, Savian resumed his work and buried his nose deep in it.
Alicia scoffed. “Anyways, what are we having for dinner?”
“Uh, whatever’s clever,” Savian continued, surfing from one piece of crumpled paper to the other.
“Could you just tell me what you want,” Alicia demanded after a loud sigh of contempt.
“No,” Savian said firmly, “because once I do, you’ll change your mind and then I’ll get more aggravated.”
Alicia nodded and bunched her lower lip up, dropping her bags in the hallway, ready to rip into him.
“Honey, please,” Savian said calmly. “I’m really into the flow right now.” Alicia began to boil inside. She had been patient through her husband’s expedition into this cryptic journey for the past summer season. And what she was hoping wouldn’t happen, was beginning to happen. She wanted someone to take care of her when she returned from a long day. A foot massage would be desirable. A glass of wine. Those sweet scented oils that filled the air. A warm bath. But she had to return to a trash bin.
“This is really exciting,” Savian said, placing the papers in a specific way on the floor. He stood on his feet and observed the image it made on the wooden floor. He stepped out of it and smiled. There was an empty space in the center where he knelt, which caused him clap very loudly at his discovery. His wife wanted to strangle him.
Savian crouched at the nearest filing cabinet and opened it, flipping through the folders looking for…
“I can’t find it,” Savian said after a few moments.
“Find what,” Alicia spat.
“My folder,” he said frantically. “It had a gold star on front of it. A big one.”
‘Yeah. Have you seen it?”
Alicia already played the last twenty four hours in the time machine in her head. She remembered the folder perfectly. “Baby,” she began softly. Softer than her tone she used when she first arrived at home. “I have something to confess.” Savian rose to his feet with his eyes fixed on his wife. The despair built slowly across his face. “I threw it out,” she said finally with a guilty face.
“What?!” Savian’s heart dropped through the floor.
“I’m sorry I was cleaning,” Alicia cried.
“Where is it,” he screamed.
Savian was already throwing on his jacket and leaping into his sneakers before, springing out of the entrance and tumbling down the stairs.
“Savian,” Alicia called out over the bannister. “They already picked up the trash!”
Savian tripped over his own feet and somersaulted back up and leapt into the dumpster. His shoes echoed upon landing. Empty bin. Savian cursed under his breath and hoisted himself out and started the car from afar. Within seconds, he was peeling out of his parking space.
Savian recklessly punched in a search for the name of the wasted disposal company that was responsible for trash collection at their apartment, all while speeding down the freeway.
“Disportation Services, how may I direct your call,” the voice says on the other side of the phone.
“Please listen to me,” Savian began. “I live Blossom Hill Apartments. I had a very important document that was discarded and I need to retrieve it. Everything I’ve done in my life is connected to this piece of paper. Please tell me what I can do to get this back.”
“At this time, all those trucks have gone to the Freedom Landfill. If it was thrown out yesterday, it’s probably getting incinerated now.”
Savian hung up the phone and sped as fast as he could and drove onto the property with his car, peeling around mounds of trash and odors. The crew waved their hands in the air, trying to get his attention and slow down, but Savian screeched to a halt and tossed the keys to one of the staff as he fumbled through his words, asking for where the incinerator was. One of the men, pointed to where his destination was.
Savian’s heart beats through his chest as he located the conveyor belt and at the end, emanated a fiery yellow glow from the furnace. Savian knew his wife’s favorite color was purple and she accented her wardrobe down to her environment. She knew that if he located a white trash bag with a purple rubber band, he’d be set.
The crew stopped their workflow and stopped the conveyor belt, but Savian dashed towards the end because his eyes fell upon the last bag. He leapt in the air, with fingers outstretched, Savian grabbed the bag he needed and careened into the hard, hot corner of the surface.
The conveyor belt stopped and Savian was soaked in sweat from running. Savian shoved his thumb into the plastic and tore it open and laying there amongst the garbage, lay his folder with the faded gold star in the middle.
Savian leaned back against the metallic legs of the furnace and began weeping. He was reunited with his missing piece.