You’d be amazed what turns up in Lost Property at the station.
I’ve seen it all in my time: bags, phones, walking sticks, glasses, false teeth, and more umbrellas than a lifetime of rainy days. A couple of times, a glass eye. There was even a lost heart once, an animal one I hoped, on a bed of ice to keep it fresh, wrapped up in a box with a ribbon, like it was a gift.
I’ve not yet come across a dead body, not whole anyway, but there have been several caskets of ashes. You’d think people would be more careful with their loved ones.
After working here for ten years, I always said nothing surprises me anymore.
At least it didn’t until I came across Item 255.
I was busy shelving yet another orphan glove between a smelly umbrella and a toy gorilla when I saw it. At first, I thought, how funny, a hat exactly like mine, then I spotted the coat. I touched the fabric, same colour, same cut as mine. Then I saw the shoes, scuffed up like mine at the sides. There was even a backpack like mine, the one with the blue polka dots that was the perfect size for my sandwiches. I peeked inside, cheese and pickle on white bread, my favourite.
I jumped a mile as my face peered out at me from underneath the hat. There was a person who looked just like me, sitting cross-legged like a gnome on the lost property shelf. They even had my voice. Around their ankle was a label. My colleague had written, Item 255, with yesterday’s date and the route on which it had been found – the 17:52 from Manchester Piccadilly.
I have to say I backed out of there pretty fast. I went to find my colleague, but she was busy with a customer.
Up in the staff room, I searched everywhere for my hat, my coat, my backpack. So strange, I’ve never lost anything before. My mind went back through the morning. I remembered coming in, taking off my hat and coat, hanging them on the peg nearest the door. I’d put my backpack underneath, but only after I’d taken out my sandwiches and put them in the fridge. I checked the fridge, nothing, only the pasta salad that had been in there since last week.
That’s when I went back to the Lost Property room, just to check it wasn’t me in there, but the shelves were empty. All that remained was a label saying Item 255 had been claimed. The handwriting looked like mine.