It was my sunglasses. They were crooked.
My sunglasses. My favorite, purchased from a shady guy on 50th and Broadway two years ago for eight dollars, sunglasses. The ones I found on a random Wednesday after an exhaustive search for aviators that were just the right size, with lenses dark enough that my eyes were nearly invisible but light enough that the fingerprints that always seem to live on my sunglasses wouldn't drive me crazy every time I looked in a mirror.
The sunglasses that had accompanied me on one trip to Israel and then another. That came with me to a bachelorette weekend in Cape Cod and a Jersey Shore family vacation. That commuted with me to work. That laughed with me through a birthday snow day and hid my eyes through a month of tears.
The sunglasses that I took care of, that I carefully folded up and kept in a hard case in between wearings, that lasted twenty months longer than anything bought on the streets of NYC should reasonably last, were crooked.
I took them off and, right there in the Panera bathroom, I started fiddling with the nose pieces. When that didn't work and, in fact, made the problem worse, I played around with the ear pieces, hoping that if I bent them just right my sunglasses could reclaim their formerly straight glory, ignoring the fact that the screws holding them together had suddenly started rattling in their holes, causing the temples to bend at unnatural angles.
When I thought they were straight enough, I left the store, congratulating myself for resurrecting my favorite accessory. But my reflection in the car window told me that my victory was short-lived. And when I took the sunglasses off to give fixing them another try and they fell apart in my hands, I knew they were beyond saving.
And suddenly, I found myself standing in the accessories section of the Nordstrom near my house, in front of racks of sunglasses. I put on a few pairs and hated them all immediately. Thinking I would just buy my new ones on the street, right where I bought my old ones, I was about to abandon accessories for the shoe department when I saw them.
They were sitting on a corner shelf, almost by themselves, and I knew they were mine before I even tried them on. And five minutes later, after a surprise 25% off and a moment of indecision over a black or brown case, they were.
As I drove out of the parking garage into the blinding sun, I slipped my new sunglasses on. They weren't exactly the same as my old pair, and I guess they shouldn't be. They are a little bit different, and after the past few weeks so am I.
But together, we are going to be just fine.