About ten years ago, I decided I want to be able to play the guitar. I went shopping for an inexpensive classical guitar to get me started. I found a guitar whose sound and action I liked. It cost 320 NIS at the time. The label on the guitar's inside said Serena in large, friendly letters. I liked the name immediately.
I love Serena. She's simple, beautiful, and comfortable to hold and to play. I never was much of a guitarist. I picked up basic chords alright, but once I realized I'm not a great guitar prodigy, I could not find the patience to withstand the frustration of practice toward slow and gradual improvement. So I've sort of remained at the "strum standard chords, avoid chords such as Cdimb7" level, and that's about it. I never picked up right-hand (i.e. strumming, picking, etc.) technique, either. But I can play a couple of songs each from Bowie, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and some Israeli bands, so I settle for that.
Serena was with me when I lived in an army base, and provided me and my comrades with company and comfort. Ever since my release from the IDF, some four and a half years ago, I have barely touched Serena. I played her a couple of times a year, perhaps.
Then she disappeared. Vanished, gone, pfft.
One day I realized that I can't find her. I tried to think where I had seen her last. I remembered taking her to some bonfire-on-the-beach thing with hattie and friends. But I was pretty sure I didn't forget her on the beach... I tried to remember if I'd left her at some friend's place or something. Nope. I searched my room and the house again and again. Checked and double checked my car's trunk (she did spend a couple of weeks in it, at some point), but to no avail. Serena was gone.
I was distracted by other things, and made a mental note to resume the search later. A couple of months later, someone, perhaps gaal, reminded me that during one of my business visits to the US, I lent my (company) car to a fellow employee, and that perhaps Serena was in the trunk, and perhaps that guy needed the trunk for some reason and removed her from it and forgot to put her back when he returned the car...
A little far-fetched, you say? Well, it made perfect sense at the time, especially since I had no other lead. I called him up (he was no longer with the company by then) and asked; he was surprised, but insisted that he never touched the trunk at all, and never saw a guitar.
At that point, more than a year ago, I pretty much gave up. I thought I must have forgotten her some place, and was saddened, and felt like buying a new guitar. But then I reminded myself that I don't really need a guitar -- I don't play it much, I practically gave up ever getting better at it, and besides, the new one won't be like Serena, to whom I am at least emotionally attached, as she's been with me for years, and to whom many fond memories are nonetheless attached.
So I didn't buy a new guitar. And occasionally, I would be reminded of her and feel a twinge of guilt and sorrow. Time passed.
A few days ago, I was looking for the aforementioned worn squash racquet of my dad's, which I keep in my wardrobe among shirts on hangers, right in front of the gateway to Narnia. The racquet wasn't where I remembered leaving it, so I brushed some shirts aside and looked into the left side of the rack, where the shirts-I-never-wear hang. The racquet wasn't there, either.
But Serena was.