|So long, and thanks for all the trips.|
Inside this suitcase is another, matching one, as well as a small carry-on bag. This set of luggage has seen me through countless voyages: four times to France, in and out of multiple apartments and houses, back home and away again for year after year of holidays. As I removed all the personal bits and bobs, I found an address label with my dad's name on it. Had I lent it to my parents for a trip? I also found an airport security label with Miss Chef's name on the smaller bag, though neither of us remember her using it. Altogether there were at least three different addresses on different labels, a testament to the big changes in my life.
Inside I knew I'd find a 15-year old small paper bag from Fauchon--which has helped me remember to put that store on my list for this trip. I didn't know I'd find the sonograms and x-rays I thought I'd lost, from my visit to the doctor in Brest when I thought I was having a re-occurrence of kidney stones. (One kidney is 3 cm. longer than the other. Good to know.) Or a friend's wedding invitation from 2005, as well as a Newsweek magazine I must have bought at the airport. ("Spirituality in America." "Iraq: Soldiers and Stress." Some things never change.)
All the items that pointed to me came off and out, except the large sticker that said "Mon pays: L'Europe." Pre-1990 PR for the European Union. I would have kept it, but it was now a part of the plastic I'd smoothed it onto over 20 years ago. Whoever uses this luggage next can enjoy creating my story from that piece of evidence. It can hardly be more satisfying than the one I've lived.
Yes, 23 years ago, my parents bought me this set of luggage for my student year abroad, right out of high school. Like I said, it's seen me through a lot. The girl who first packed these bags has learned two languages, studied a few others, earned a Master's degree, changed careers and lived in about four states. But now these bags are outdated and worn. One wheel is broken, a corner is poking through, and this old design tips easily when it rolls.
In spite of the scuffs and rips, the slightly stretched-out straps, it's a little hard to let go of the old beast. But with the promise of my flashy new luggage leading me into another few decades of fascinating travel, I can walk happily away from the past, dreaming eagerly of the future.
So long, luggage, and thanks for all the trips.
And, because I know you'll ask...
|It's big. It's shiny. It spins in circles. |
The old bag never had a chance.