I lost your lanyard.
I was rushing to the train, and I thought that I was going to miss it. After waiting around Montauk for six hours just for this train, I really didn’t want to taste the bitter shame of missing it. (Wait, so how did you miss a train that you had six hours to catch? Right.) So I rushed, and I ran. I made it with about ten minutes to spare and got seated. And then I looked down at my things and realized that my jacket wasn’t there. Fuck. My jacket was gone. Well, obviously.
I knew where it was almost instantly. On some stupid little side road on the way to what was the closest ATM to the train station. The girl in the restaurant assured me it was just a lovely little five-minute walk around the lovely little pond. I warily asked her if she’d actually walked this “lovely little five-minute walk” ever, but she admitted to only ever having driven.
It was a “not so lovely twenty-minute walk”, actually. Damn car-driving locals. And I was only going to that ATM because there wasn’t one at the train station. And I only needed an ATM because there was also no ticket machine at the train station, and you could only buy your ticket on the train and it was cash only. And the train station was nowhere close to the village, which is where they keep all the banks and pancake houses of Montauk. (Why would you want to put a bank or an ATM close to a train station, is what I always say.) And I didn’t buy my return ticket when I was buying my outgoing ticket, because common sense, what’s that?
But my keys were in the jacket. And the jacket fell off somewhere along that road. And then I had a decision to make: do I get off the train, go look for my jacket, and wait for two hours until the next train? Or do I stay?
I stayed. I’m so, so sorry, but I stayed.
I stayed because I was tired and lazy and wanted to go back to Manhattan and take a nap and get the sand out of my underwear. And it’s just a lanyard. It’s been five years and it’s just a lanyard. It was your lanyard, though. So it was never just a lanyard. I’ve carried it around with me since you died, did you know that? It’s been almost five years and I took it everywhere with me. Even when I went places where I wouldn’t need keys, I had them on me.
I only barely remember what the lanyard was actually for–some sort of school ambassadorship, I think. Being nice to all your fellow students and all that bullshit. I mean nice stuff. But I do remember that you lobbied to have the group be called Prefects, because I solemnly swear I am up to no good. I’m pretty sure if you could have had it your way, you would have had a robe with a “P” insignia patch sewn on the front. But the only logical step after that is getting an owl, and that probably would have been to expensive for our cheap-ass high school, so I can see why they compromised with lanyards that said “Prefect”. It’s sort of like an owl. Not really. But that a Catholic high school was letting you name a club after a book full of evil, Satan-loving witchcraft is pretty impressive, so we won’t hold the lack of owl against them. Baby steps, right?
You never really had a chance to be a Prefect; you died barely two weeks into the school year. Not that you need any reminding. But you would have been a good Prefect. Even without robes and an owl, you would have been the best. Percy can suck it.
I need to go get something new for my keys. But I don’t know what. And I don’t want to. I want my lanyard back – I mean yours. But I could have yours right now; I was just too goddamned lazy. It might be the only thing I’ll truly regret for the rest of my life. (Well, that and skipping out on seeing Mumford and Sons at the Horseshoe before they got too famous. I had tickets, but I decided to stay home. I know, I know: what a fool. I’d totally be married to one of those adorable vest-wearing Brits right now. Fuckberries.)
My only consolation now is that you loved Brand New as much as I did. Probably more. And even though I can’t remember if you ever wanted to go to Montauk, if I let it, it could be a fitting place for your lanyard. For you.
Did you know the nickname for Montauk is “The End”? As in: this is the end/ this story’s old but it goes on and on until we disappear/ calm me and let me taste the salt you breathed while you were underneath/ I am the one who haunts your dreams of mountains sunk below the sea/ I spoke the words but never gave a thought to what they all could mean.
I’ll meet you in Montauk,