The office was small, but well-lit, windows high in the walls. Reconstituted wood from the old barn that had once stood in the airfield lined the walls and desk, the color warm and reddish. As the head of the ‘Found Property Office’ at Majorca’s sole airport, Busby had been the purveyor of relief and disappointment for over 15 years, handing travelers back their prized possessions or the news that no thing fitting their description had been found.
It was mostly mundane items, jackets and glasses and briefcases, but he had also been witness to the extraordinary: a bag of glittery stones that surely could have been diamonds; a portfolio of intimate photographs of the famous; a carrier with the baby still in it, the mother so exhausted that anything but her own fatigue had ceased to exist. Busby had treated all as he thought they should be, as prized possessions that surely someone would return for once they discovered their absence.
He had never, though, been left with with a pocketbook that appeared to consist solely of a person’s identify – passport, license, something called a social security card, business cards, photographs, even a birth certificate and marriage license. A valuable treasure trove of materials to prove to the modern world that you are who you claim to be. Busby locked this away in a small safe for such things, certain that the woman who belonged to them would show up, her desperation being replaced with gratitude when she realized her documented self was safe.
Part of Busby, though, couldn’t help but imagine the sandy-haired woman in the pocketbook’s photographs intentionally departing from the airplane without her baggage. He pictured her striding forth, departing without her assemblage of individuality, striding freely into a world made new by her leaving on old one behind.