April 13, 2011

From the Luggage Department

I purchased luggage this past weekend - a seven piece set at 50% from Kohls. I called my mom, while I stood in front of it. "Do I get it?" "50% off is a hard deal to pass up on something you need." Something I need.

I packed my work bag the last time I hopped a Friday afternoon bus "home" for the weekend. Sacrificed lunch box space for a pair of jeans, two tops, and a t-shirt for bed. The driver tossed my bag under the bus with one hand. I rubbed my shoulder where it sat for only a block. When he handed it back to me, after the city skyline finally lit up the night and I silently declared myself home on a street corner that didn't recognize me, it felt twice as heavy as the bag I handed off to him. We walked the blocks to the commuter train together, my bag and I, both in protest - "I am not made for this."

I purchased the seven piece set. I have trips home. Friends to visit. Work travel on the calendar.

I dragged that suitcase set up the stairs. Stood it up in the corner. A perfect box shape with smooth lines. I glared at it.

It wasn't a backpack. I wanted one of those throw-your-things-into-one-bag-and-realize-you-don't-need-half-the-crap-you-own-and-take-off-with-your-entire-life-on-your-back-for-months-and-come-back-a-different-better-person backpacks. An explore the world backpack. A create your life backpack. Lumpy with hidden pockets. Ready for everything.

If I reach my arms out, I can touch both walls in my bathroom at the same time. I inspect the ceiling corners of my bedroom, waiting for the cobwebs to appear. The window doesn't open wide enough. The faces on my morning commute mimic roman statutes. I close my eyes and pretend I'm on the L, a subway I've declared fueled by this passion for life. When the freight train rumbles by at night, I jump the third car, climb on top and watch the stars fly across the sky. Awake early in the morning to pretend my coffee tastes just as it did in Galway.

A rectangular suitcase fits well. Accommodates. Keeps things neat and tidy.

But I'm aching for a backpack.

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