It was a regular Sunday afternoon. I was in church.
CHURCH, MIND YOU. CHURCH! GOD’S HOUSE.
It was after choir practice and I was helping put music away. I had my precious, immaculate, white, brand-new iPhone XR in my hand. I placed it on a bench, along with my music folder, and turned away briefly to kneel down and grab a stack of music off the floor.
When I turned back, it was gone.
I tried not to panic. I thought maybe I’m mistaken. . . and walked to my seat in the choir loft. I bent and peered under the chair.
I went backstage. My phone wasn’t on the piano, wasn’t in my cubby, wasn’t on a shelf.
Bryce was still out front, collecting music. I grabbed him by the arm and lowered my voice to tell him the news. Immediately, he looked out at the congregation.
“Keep watch,” he reached into the breast pocket of his blazer, “I’m going to call it. See if anyone pulls it out.”
He called and I watched. It rang, and I watched.
There was a cluster of young, fidgety eyes hunched over something in a pew. “Check on those girls,” I told Bryce, “they’re hiding something. I’m going to search the back.”
We broke our huddle, and my heart pounded in my ears.
My phone was missing.
But so was my music folder.
I grasped onto the idea of the music folder with all my might. Find the folder, you find your phone. The folder was something seemingly dull and unimportant. Something I could recognize by the white scratches at the corner. Something a thief wouldn’t think would sell them out, but I knew better.
I went cubby by cubby, yanking out folders. Nothing.
There was a discard-box kept in the corner for music, and I dumped it.
With a sinking heart, I watched as my folder–the one with the white scratches at the corner–came toppling out.
And panic washed over me.
Someone had pocketed the phone and discarded my folder in this bin.
My phone wasn’t just missing. This confirmed it.
My phone was stolen.
I had to find the phone before it left the premises. I went searching for Bryce.
I found Bryce standing awkwardly, two pews behind those same girls. “I said check on them. Not hover!” I hissed.
“They’re definitely hiding something!”
Smiling, I approached the girls, hands clasped peaceably, and asked their guardians if they’d seen a phone–as mine had sadly gone missing–when Bryce launched his arm into their pew and began searching the hymnals. Shocked eyes turned to me for answers.
Trying to disguise what Bryce was doing, I awkwardly began picking around their general area, lifting a sweater or two—and got the heck out of there as soon as he was finished. We met at the back of the church.
“I didn’t find anything,” he blew out his cheeks.
By this time, my mom and brother were in on the hunt.
Bryce checked his Find My Friends. The phone was still located at church. It hadn’t left.
I went to the church office and let them know my phone was missing. Soon, the place was buzzing with the news, and I was out for blood.
I met up with Bryce again, and I told him we were leaving. I had a plan. I was going to go home and grab my laptop and my Apple Watch. I could keep an eye on the phone’s location from my laptop, and I could ping the phone with my watch.
In the meantime, I told my mom and brother to call and keep calling that phone. “We’re going to annoy whoever has it into giving it back.”
With determination (and murder) in my eyes, Bryce and I power-walked our way out of the sanctuary, only to be stopped by pastor. “Rebekah, are you looking for something?” he asked. The slow and pleasant tone of his voice threatened my gracious composure to crack.
My teeth were clenched. “Yes, my phone.”
He gestured for us to follow him and walked down the isle, to the left, and straight to his wife’s yellow purse on the front pew. In one smooth motion, he produced my beautiful iPhone.
My mom’s name appeared on the screen. I answered it. “Ma, hi. I found it. It was . . .” I looked up at him, “it was pastor’s wife who took it.”
We confronted her after service, and she apologized immensely. She said she thought it was her phone and tossed it in her bag to get it out of the way.
But we’re not too sure about this whole thing.
Bryce said it best. . . it would’ve been the perfect crime.
And she would’ve gotten away with it too.
(If it weren’t for those meddling kids and that dumb dog. . .)