Paper Trails

I found a piece of paper while I was walking home. It was lying on its side in the grass, still crisp and clean, folded twice. I could see from the ragged edge that it had been torn from a large notebook, not unlike the one tucked away in my oversized handbag.

I looked at this piece of paper in the long, green grass, wondering momentarily what to do. My curiosity won out in the end, so I picked it up and carefully unfolded it to look for a name or some identifying mark so that I might return it to its owner.

It wasn’t the scholarly notes I had been expecting, rather a vague kind of family tree. There were no names, just titles like ‘Mommy’, and a few nationalities: English, Irish, Scottish, Maltese; all scrawled onto the page in black felt tip pen. There also seemed to be a short chronology of events in the individual’s life, including years spent in Hong Kong.

I felt a little strange, like a voyeur observing the remnants of a conversation I wasn’t meant to hear, and would never fully understand. I was touched to think I had been granted this look at someone’s personal make up, a strange mistake that had worked in my favour. I felt special to have been given the honour of finding this intimate insight, lost on a slip of notepad paper, torn out and lost in the grass, folded twice in half.

In awe of the power of such a strange find, I folded it back along its crease lines; once, twice, then in half again, and slipped it into my back pocket for further reading at a later time.

As I continued on my way, I stumbled across another slip of paper, much worse for wear; torn and stained by old mud.

It was a receipt from Big W. The previous owner had bought chocolate and a doorstop. It wasn’t that interesting, so I threw it in the bin, where I felt it belonged, because it just wasn’t nearly as good as my other find, lost in the fresh, green grass.

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