Every time I walk this path around the neighborhood tennis courts I have a strong sense of my father. Every time when the sun’s angle is just right, sending blindingly bright flashes as I walk beside the fence. Also, I’m hoping, fleetingly, to catch the flash of gold.

In my memory, at least, this incident happened before my dad died because I wouldn’t have acted the way I did otherwise. That would put this pre-2007.

Lee and I had walked up to hit tennis balls. We were on the same courts I learned on when I was a kid, the same ones on which I played with my dad throughout my high school career.

I was wearing a gold, rope chain bracelet with a small half heart charm. The charm was part of a set that read “Best Friends,” and my college roommate had the other half. The bracelet, though, was a gift from my dad when I was a teenager. Always, my mom took care of everything Christmas, but occasionally my dad would buy one thing that would be “his” gift. I remember this bracelet was stuffed inside a white teddy bear, and it came from Eastland Mall.

I know I lost the bracelet that day Lee and I were hitting balls. It had already slid off my wrist once that day. The rest is foggy except I remember it missing shortly after. We looked for it, but I knew it wouldn’t be there. It never dawned on me to check the town hall or the police … and if it had, I would have been skeptical. There was no social media, or you know I’d have lit it up.

But now, especially since I walk Bella through there every day, I think about that bracelet every time. Every time, I imagine that I’m walking along the fence line and catch a glimpse of gold. Every time, I walk over to investigate and find it’s been sitting there all along, half covered by dirt and grass.

But that never happens. And in truth, it’s probably because it slipped off my wrist again on the court. And either someone came along and thought Score! or someone came along and did the right thing, but I didn’t know where to look.

It had to be someone from here or connected to this place because Huntersville isn’t exactly a tennis destination.

Do you know where it is?