If the expression “cold hands, warm heart” is true, I should be saintly. But I’m furious about my lost gloves and mittens that almost lasted a whole winter.
I wish I could track my hand coverings like a stolen smartphone, but they’re gone forever in the land of misplaced hats and glasses.
My blue leather gloves were the color of the Virgin Mary’s robes, the shade she wears in stained-glass windows alongside the angel Gabriel. I bought them three years ago for $10 in a Job Lot store that sold everything from rugs to rugelach. A friend was with me. When we rang up the miscellaneous loot in our respective carts, each of our receipts totaled exactly $106.18. Every time I donned the soft, elegant garments, I relived that shopping expedition and my flicker of synchronicity.
In February, I peeled off the gloves in an uptown pub and got absorbed in the stories of loved ones and strangers. I left with my head full of ideas and my fists in my pockets. I ransacked my apartment later that evening. Then I waited for them to turn up, the way lost things sometimes do. When I retraced my steps and returned to the bar a week later, a server told me sad news: “They were right here. But now they’re gone.”
Then on a fiercely windy day in March, I removed my black mittens when I was pouring milk into my coffee at Starbucks. I wanted a hot drink to hold. But I got distracted by a customer carrying an adorable Pomeranian named Bruce. After rubbing noses with Bruce, I dashed outside with bare fingers and a steaming paper cup. When I returned to Starbucks the next morning, the manager brought out a set, but they weren’t lined in faux fur like mine.
I’m heartbroken about my blue gloves and plushy mittens. Now when I see mateless pairs on the subway or on the sidewalk, I sigh. Children’s mittens hit me the hardest. Do I pick them up and take them to lost and found at Penn Station? Or do I leave them there with the hope that the owner is only a block away?
Hands are personal. What covers them becomes sacred. Victorian novels like “Little Women” go on and on about lost gloves. Before mass production, no doubt clothing was handmade or expensive.
Yet my blue gloves and plushy mittens were dear to me — even on this first day of spring.
I wag my frostbitten finger at the new owners, especially if they didn’t need them. But if they did, many blessings.
Ann Votaw is a freelance writer in New York City.