When I was clearing off the motley of stuff on our bar — really relocating stuff that had been dumped on my daughter’s 1,000-piece puzzle, the same puzzle she threatened to put away because, well, there was just too much junk on it and it couldn’t be seen and valued — our pewter mug appeared, there, beneath mounds of school papers and staplers and books and receipts and church bulletins. There, still full of random pens, highlighters and whatnot. There, safe in it’s hidden spot, as though it were playing peek-a-boo beneath freshly raked leaves, where it’s been since .. I relocated it from another clutter-prone spot in the kitchen.
I pulled out a pen I hadn’t held in quite awhile. It’s a skinny-sliver of a silver pen, weighty like a Cross pen, scripted with “Four Seasons” and a nice little etching of a leaf on the pen’s top edge. I stole it [!] from a pew at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Austin, several years ago.
The story is this: when I first saw it, I imagined some fancy tourist, a fancy gentleman who decided to jaunt over to St. Mary’s from the Four Seasons, donate some of his wealth, and leave the fancy free pen from the Four Seasons in the little peg-for-pencils to the poor person who was going to sit there next (me). Oh, it was so intended!
I was surprised when I first found it — it fit perfectly in the little peghole, and fit perfectly in my little hand. This “perfect,” for me, translated into, “Oh, it’s perfect FOR me. I like it, therefore I shall take it. It’s no dole off this person’s rich back, since it’s obviously one of those hotel pens you’d happen to find in a bedside table drawer in a hotel room. Hotel pens, as I know, are usually cheap Bic pens, but this nice, silver pen just happens to be fancy because it comes from a fancy hotel. Oh, it’s just a throwaway. And it’s here, just for me! How lucky I am!”
I wanted to taste Ferrari, that’s what it was.
So many times, as I’ve drifted through life, I’ve kept my eye open for a talisman of what could be, a wish I couldn’t quite define or pursue, and if it happened to come my way, well, I was entitled to it. Maybe it was an attitudinal thing toward the wealthy. They have so much. If I could find a Ferrari hubcap, well, hey! Pretty cool! Let me rub it and hopefully a genie will pop out and I can be rich, too!
I must’ve grown up. Or given up. … I like to think the former.
I will take this pen, tomorrow.. and release it into the world, instead of keep it here in this pewter mug that’s been it’s armored protector all these years — so much so, that I hardly ever used it when I came across it. I’d merely write “This is a nice pen” on a random scrap of paper nearby. What was the point of even keeping it?
I would return it to St. Mary’s — I can probably think of a day I can make it out there — but, more than likely, I will just carry the dang thing around and use it for awhile, and let it accept the fate of every other pen I’ve ever possessed: it will get lost.
It will get lost and float out into the world for someone else to find and consider.
Hopefully, it will be a witness to a conversion like mine.