Pack Light

This Summer, I lost my luggage somewhere between Calabria and Bologna on the worlds most unfriendly airline – Alitalia.  Really, I “voluntarily surrendered” it.  The luggage was more than 30 minutes late coming off the plain and  I had a choice between grabbing my luggage from the previous flight or making my connection. I chose the latter.  Where most women would be horrified by the prospect of having no luggage for an entire week, I decided to ‘go with the flow’ and not let the missing luggage ruin a trip I have been planning for months.  I found the local H&M, bought a few 10 Euro dresses, a t-shirt for sleeping and a few pairs of undies.  That was my uniform for the week.  I didn’t feel deprived.  I’m comfortable doing without.  Last week, I was traveling in the States and managed to pack one of those H&M dresses– along with 14 other outfits and 6 pairs of shoes. Why?  I didn’t wear most of it.  I prefer my Italian simplicity.


Last night, I brought home a heavy cardboard box from work.  In its previous life, it contained the new fuser drum for our copier.  I placed the box on the bare wooden floor of my living room and folded back the flaps so I could peer into the emptiness inside.  On the bottom of the box, I placed Sunday’s old newspaper, carefully folding it to fit snuggly into each corner.  On top of the newspaper, I placed my ex boyfriend, bending his arms and legs as needed to fit.  Around him, I stuffed in our memories.  I fit in the Sigg bottle we used on our second and third dates to surreptitiously drink wine, I added his England sweatshirt he let me borrow, the sweater he gave me at Christmas and my favorite photo of us that sat proudly in my office for over a year.  I squeezed in the dim sum we enjoyed on Sundays, the night I gave him a shower after his sweaty show and his tennis shoe print that is still on my driveway – even after all of this rain.  I folded in his personal ad and poured in his morning smell, as well as our first kiss in the bar, the day he taught me to fly fish, and all the tears I’ve cried these past two months.  I packed it all in until the sides of the box bulged. I folded the flaps down and pushed them together with my knees as tight as I could as I taped the box closed.  One long strip of tape across the length of the box and thee across the other way ensured it was sealed.  I smoothed the tape firmly with my hands and marked the box with a thick sharpie with the word “PAST”.  I wrote the word in large block letters on the top and all four sides.  I lifted the box, heavier than I expected, and took it into the garage.  By stepping on an old chair, I was able to hoist it into the rafters, but I could still see the word “PAST” on the box from my vantage point on the chair.  I grabbed the broom leaning on the wall and used the broom handle to push the box farther and farther back, as far as the broom would reach with me outstretched and on my very tippy toes.  I pushed the box back into the dark corner of the rafters with the thick layers of dust, the black widow webs and the big brown cockroach nests until I could barely see the tip of the box’s corner.  I stepped down from the chair, placed the broom back against the wall, turned off the garage light, locked the door and washed my hands in the kitchen sink.  It would soon be forgotten there.