It was the middle of May when I went to the Hawthorne Comic Con in New Jersey. I went there mostly for the fun of it. I do a web comic but hardly anyone besides my friends read it so it’s not like I have fans or even that the public has the slightest clue who I am. But this little anecdote isn’t about that. It’s about when little things disappear and then reappear seemingly out of nowhere. Or at least it seems to be nowhere.

Since I was going to be sitting behind a table at the comic con basically doing nothing I decided to bring some art supplies with me. Among those supplies was my set of Copic brush markers. I have a wallet/case for them that is pretty nice. It’s black vinyl fabric, keeps the markers lined up in their slots, and has Velcro to keep it securely closed. A nice holder.

While at the comic con I didn’t do a whole lot of drawing. I mostly socialized with some of the other guests at the con that I know and talked a bit with some of the fans as they ambled by. I did one or two small things and brought the Copic markers out for a moment but they generally stayed in my art supply bag. I passed a pleasant afternoon and then went home.

I can’t remember when it was that I discovered that my orange marker was missing but it couldn’t have been too long after I arrived home. I probably put my art supply bag down on the chair or couch and then emptied it a little while later. It was as I was emptying the bag that I noticed the orange marker was missing from its designated slot.

It was not a big deal as I assumed it somehow slipped from the marker wallet and must be kicking around my art supply bag somewhere. It was after I searched the bag and didn’t find it that I became confused. I didn’t remember using the orange marker at the comic con. And the marker wallet was Velcroed shut. I even went out to my car to search that in case the marker fell out during the ride home. Nothing there. I figured it must have gotten left behind at the comic con somehow.

Flash forward to the end of June. A new Dick Blick art supply store opened up in Paramus NJ about forty minutes from my house. My friend Bob and I decided that we wanted to take a ride there to check it out and get some art supplies. I use their website a lot to buy art supplies so I thought it would be cool to see the store. There are only arts and crafts stores nearby and they have some stuff I need but it’s always fun to go to a real art store.

Since this past winter I stocked up on a lot of art supplies I really didn’t need much stuff but I decided I wanted to try some of Dick Blick’s heavy duty canvas stretchers. Stretchers are pieces of wood that form the rectangular frame over which canvas is stretched. Usually I use light duty ones (they’re a lot cheaper) and reinforce them with cross bars but the painting I wanted to do was forty eight inches wide and that is pushing the limit of light duty canvas stretchers.

In the past I’ve built my own stretchers out of lumber when I’ve wanted to make a large painting but I haven’t done that in a while. It’s a lot of work but cheaper. For two forty eight inch and two twenty eight inch heavy duty stretchers it was around forty dollars. I can buy a lot of lumber for forty bucks so you can see why I haven’t tried the heavy duty stretchers before. But I dropped the money on them this time.

And what was the only other thing I needed from the art store? Oh yeah, an orange Copic brush marker. I hadn’t even used the markers since the comic com but it bothered me that it was missing. It’s the collector in me. Sure it was a tool I used that needed replacing but it was also a collection with a hole in it. That slot was empty in my marker wallet. How annoying. Of corse I was going to replace it.

Then a funny thought ran through my head. Wouldn’t it be strange if after I bought another orange marker the first one showed up again? I had searched all over my studio so the only thing I could imagine was that someone at the comic con saw that I left it behind and somehow returned it to me. That was the only scenario I could come up with for my marker to return and it was pretty absurd. I promptly forgot about it and went and bought my marker and stretchers.

After I got home I put the new orange marker into its designated slot with a sense of satisfaction. All the colors were there. The marker wallet was now full and complete again. Things were as they should be.

Since the markers were now back to normal I didn’t give a single thought to the lost orange marker. That is until a couple of days later I moved my recliner and there was the missing orange marker. It was underneath the chair looking like a lost puppy. It’s not like I hadn’t moved the chair many times in the previous month so it was quite an odd sight to see the marker show up there.

I still don’t know how the marker got out of the marker wallet and my art supply bag but clearly it had fallen into the recliner and stayed there for a month until it was finally dislodged. It’s not a grand mystery or even much of a mystery at all but it is a story of a small and unimportant thing that disappears unexpectedly and then comes back unexpectedly. I find stories like that interesting. Everyone has one but they’re just mundane enough to go untold.

Even with the obvious explanation of it falling out of its case I still wonder how it happened. There were markers to the left, right, and on top of it so why was that the only one to fall out? All the others were secure in their slots. Why wasn’t the orange one? I know it happened but not how it happened. That’s the story of a lot of small things that disappear. They’re not that important so we don’t pay close of attention to them. Then things happen when we’re not looking. Ain’t life funny that way.

The ending to the trying of the heavy duty stretchers hasn’t quite been written yet. Y’see when I got home and went to stretch canvas over the stretchers I discovered that I had no canvas. Since I stocked up on everything else over the winter I assumed I had un-stretched canvas. I walked out to the garage where I keep the canvas and there was nothing there. I buy my canvas on a roll that is about five feet tall so it’s not hard to miss. I was a bit confused.

I now remember that last winter I bought a few medium sized pre-streched canvases plus I stretched a couple of large ones and was planning on painting on them before I bought more canvas. I made paintings on some of them but not all. Before I went to the new art store I was going to continue painting on the already stretched canvases but then I came up with a new image I wanted to paint that had different proportions than the canvases I already had. Somehow it didn’t occur to me to check to see if I had the canvas to go with the stretchers I was planning to buy. Life can be tricky as well as funny.

So there you have it. Two mostly meaningless stories about things disappearing. One came back and one was never really there in the first place. It disappeared but just from my mind.