The Epoch of Loss


Words || Jessica Thompson


The day is finally over as you briskly walk to your car. Back to back lectures have taken it out of you, yet you are relaxed as you make your way there Thinking about the assignment due next week, you reach into your bag without looking, expecting it to slip into your hand, and yet, it doesn’t. Your walk slows. Your stomach sinks, your ears ring, and your heart gets an extra shot of adrenaline.

Going pale, you drop your bag to the ground. You look insane as you smack every possible hiding place on your body, getting a good grope of your ass as you dig into the pockets. Nothing. Dropping to the floor you dive into your bag, pulling out muesli bar wrappers from last month, car keys wrapped in headphones that should have been chucked out years ago, receipts of regret and loose coffee change. Nothing. Tipping over your bag, finding assorted miscellaneous objects that you forgot existed, from chewed up typo pens to U-Bar vouchers. They are all in there, hiding amongst the overpriced tech and text books. Yet, to your dismay, your most prized possession is still missing.


You look up, hoping, uselessly, that you see it in the distance, perhaps it is glistening in the minimal sunlight, the clouds begin to go dark as if the weather is reacting to your heightened levels of anxiety. Maybe. Just maybe, karma will be on your side today. Nothing. Lost. Misplaced. Sacrificed to the light-fingered elves, take your pick. But it’s still gone. The realisation that you may never see it again sinks in. You think about all the good times you had together. How you took it for granted. How you didn’t give it the respect it deserved. Shoving everything back into your Mary Poppins bag, you begin to retrace your steps. Walking past Boost, you look near the straws, presenting your all your hope and yearning in your puppy dog eyes. The cashier sadly shakes their head. They suggest looking in your last class.

Rain starts to fall as you jog back to your lecture room, you can’t think of anything worse at this point. You have lost your most prized possession; the waters has soaked through your Nikes and you left your umbrella in the car. Surely no one has it worse than you at this point, right?


Shaking off droplets of water as you awkwardly trudge through the hallway, opening the doors to find a large theatre filled with caffeine deprived twenty somethings. As the professor drones on about who knows what, you begin to look between legs and bags, hoping to see it in the distance. Waiting patiently to return to your sweaty hands. Nothing but a 5 cent coin and enough chewed gum to hold the new law building together can be found under the chairs.

Briskly walking out of the lecture hall, a cold sweat causes the hairs on the back of your neck to raise. Pulling at straws you run to the closest bathroom, rushing past annoyed students to check the floor, sinks, toilets, anywhere it may have slipped past, on your knees looking behind sinks, you see something, almost shining behind the spare toilet paper roll, reaching your hand in a acrobatic stunt, you grab the object, to realise it’s a stupid trending holographic sticker with the words: ‘Winning is a habit, unfortunately, so is losing – Vince Lombardi’. Fuck you Vince. Apologizing to the queue, you drag your feet out of the bathroom and into the now pouring rain.

On the verge of tears, you walk back the way you came. Head hung low and defeated by the reality of your circumstances. Hands shaking with stress, you try to work out how you’re going to survive. You try to rationalise that it’s not the end of the world. You aren’t struggling to get by, you have food at home. Just the other day before Bachie came on (soul destroying by the way), you saw on the news how natural disasters were destroying people’s lives across the world and in Australia. What’s wrong with you? Feeling like a complete asshole, you make your way to the car, hopping in, blasting the heat to dry your soaked frame and sad brain.

Hold up.

All the sudden, out of nowhere, a light buzz, subtle but distinct. You come to a halt. Then suddenly, like a crazed Ibis you dive back into your garbage filled bag, attempting to find the source of the faint ring. Opening every pocket, no matter if you’ve already checked all of them twice. There, in that weird pocket you swear you have never used in your life, hidden down the side of your bag, you feel the vibration against your fingers. Quickly darting your hand into the pocket, you feel the cracked familiarity of your phone, barely alive as it dwindles between 4 and 5% battery. Not sure whether you will burst into tears of start uncontrollably laughing you answer the call from your mum, wondering where you are and when you’ll be home for dinner. Quickly ending the call, you take a moment to appreciate your life in the palm of your hand, thanking every God you can think of for letting you remain attached to you battered phone.

Coming down from the adrenaline high, you start the car, relief flooding your system. Looking both ways as you begin the journey home, you dump your phone on the passenger seat, it slides with each turn you make, until finally quietly slipping under the seat. You don’t notice as a banger comes on the radio, but your phone waits patiently for the next epoch of loss to start. But this time, you won’t be so lucky, because this time, the battery has run out.