The first time my partner saw it he asked me why I was wearing a curtain, but I loved it anyway. It was huge – long and wide like a pashmina, but thin, and it was such great quality. It had a patchwork of different coloured squares with pattern overlay, shiny and silky on one side and matt on the other. Blues, reds, greens, oranges, yellows. Maybe that was the start of a love affair with multi-coloured things. A time when I stopped declaring blue or purple or red as my favourite colour (I can’t even remember what my favourite colour was), and started loving all colours in equal measure, and all at once. 

That scarf was special. I loved it like I had never loved any other scarf, and I’ll probably never find a true replacement for it. I could gather it up and use it like a regular scarf, or wrap it around my shoulders, fold my arms into it and get lost inside that rainbow of comfort. It was like a blanket I could take with me anywhere. So in January 2010 when I wasn’t well and had to go to the doctors, I wore it.

I remember standing in my bedroom wondering if I should take it or not – I can so vividly remember the spot I was standing in, looking down at the heap of clothes on the floor, and debating on whether or not to wear it. I really wish I had decided not to.

But I did take it. Which meant when the doctor told me to go to A&E, I was wearing it. And when I was taken up to a bed on the ward, I had it. And when my parents took some of my things to the car out of the way, they had it. And then they didn’t have it. It wasn’t in the car, in the A&E ward, or anywhere in between.

Calls to the hospital afterwards yielded nothing. Nothing in the lost and found. I looked on the internet for another one but the shop didn’t sell them anymore. It was from Tie Rack. I even emailed them to ask if there was any hope of getting another one somehow. I sent them a picture: Have you seen this scarf? Can you help me get another one? Nothing.

There are similar ones out there, and I have one sitting somewhere at my parents’ house. It’s nice. But it’s nowhere near the same. It feels like a cheap copy. And I haven’t felt the same way about another scarf since.

Sure, there is my winter USA scarf  – stars on one side, stripes on the other. Stars and stripes and hopes and home. And my cosy red snood I got from my Secret Santa at work last year. But nothing else feels the same as that multi-coloured scarf did.

I’m beginning to think that scarf holds some kind of metaphorical meaning. And maybe if I did somehow become reunited with it after the five years it’s been missing, I still wouldn’t feel the same. Even if it was the very one I lost, it still wouldn’t make up for all the time in between. Because so much has changed.

I don’t even know why I still think about it sometimes, but I always seem to go back to thinking about that damn scarf.