When I sold the last audio book, four CDs of the magic voice of Scott Tanner reading Joan Bochmann's novel, Absaroka, I ordered more, hoping to have them here by my next book sale at the Madison Valley Arts Festival in downtown Ennis, Montana. They didn't get here on Friday, as I'd hoped, but there was still opportunity if they came the next day. From the festival venue on Saturday, I called my post office in a town 16 miles away. Yes they were there. Should I go get them, leaving my friend and fellow author to take care of both our tables of books? A tiny voice said, "no," but I immediately hushed it and said, "What the heck? It'll only take a few minutes." After all, I live in rural Montana, where we are accustomed to driving long distances to work, to medical appointments, to get groceries, mail packages, or to visit a "neighbor."
I got the package containing compact discs for 20 books, buzzed right back to our table, filled the two cases I'd brought with me, and had them on the table for display in less than an hour. Though rainy and cool, we had a fun and productive day. People were not discouraged by the weather and the park filled with visitors. We sold a lot of books—but no audio books.
At four o'clock we packed up to leave. After loading everything in the trunk of my car, my friend did a double check just to make sure we did not leave anything behind. All was well and good—until I started to put the rest of the CDs in the cases I had at home. I couldn't find the CDs. "Hmm, where did I put them?" I searched the house, the car, all around the car and the house dozens of times before admitting they are not here. They have to be, but they aren't. Via email, my friend verified that she had placed them in the trunk of my car and even told me just where they sat in relation to other boxes.
So, yes, they have to be here. But they are not. And what's baffling is that there is no explanation for why they are not. They couldn't have fallen out of a locked trunk. They were not left behind. We didn't stop anywhere else. I emptied every box we brought home and put everything away. That box of CDs is NOT here! I believed for a while that it would "turn up." I no longer have any such hope. They have disappeared. Vanished. Ceased to exist. There is no other explanation.
I will have to order and pay for more and in the meantime, as I'm prone to do, I keep running a different scenario through my mind. My rueful look backward as I desire to change what can't be changed. It's my realization of what I SHOULD have done. In this lovely scene, I listen to that tiny voice that always speaks the truth, and do NOT go to the post office and get the CDs. In this dream, I pick them up with my mail on Monday morning and they are now safely in my possession ready to tuck into the audio book covers. That's hindsight, where my vision is 20-20. Maybe next time I'll listen. But haven't I said that before?