A Suitcase / A Woman

Just like any other of my kind, I carry things inside me that you would be astonished by. Things that would disgust you, things that would perplex you, things that would amaze you. And — just like any other of my kind — I also carry things that will comfort you. These are the pieces you reach for when you are lonely or otherwise lacking, desperately digging through me until you find what you are searching for.

Inside my chitinous shell, I hold objects that are both firm and soft, cold and warm. They jostle against one another in uncertain harmony when you pull me along; a mismatched and inexperienced choir learning its first song.

I am a vessel for everything you will ever require and a few things you think you won’t. A bundle of necessities tied haphazardly in trailing ribbons of possibilities and what-ifs. Sometimes, you will look into my depths and wonder if you should have discarded the parts of me that you were unsure of bringing, leaving them behind for someone else to find and claim. But one day, when the occasion arises, you will need them and you will be glad you chose to bring them with you.

You will take me with you to all of life’s important and not-so-important events. I will see weddings and divorces, births and deaths, holidays and business trips. You will cross cities and countries with me in tow and all the while, I will carry the things I was made to carry, because that is my purpose. Loyally and steadily, I will follow in your wake as your hand grips me and tugs me towards the unknown. It will not occur to me to try to change your course because I was designed to follow, to understand that I am being led to where I am being led for a reason.

You will do this for years and then one day, you will notice that my edges are becoming life-worn. It will barely be noticeable at first; perhaps some insignificant fraying at seams that were merely there for cosmetic purposes anyway. Small and superficial imperfections that do not affect my ability to function — a cruel but natural inevitability of time.

More years will pass and you will worry that the threads that hold me together seem to be becoming more and more tenuous, gossamer-thin tightropes that stretch and strain to contain all that lies inside me. You will agonise over past choices, reliving all of the times you rearranged parts of me so you could cram in more and more even though it seemed that I was already carrying more than I should be able to, and you will wonder if this is why I have begun to unravel. You will become excessively gentle when you handle me, taking care to avoid catching my edges on the roughness and hardness of reality and humanity. You will make well-meaning but ill-fated attempts to patch over my ever-expanding cracks and fortify my tightrope threads that you now tread with gut-curling trepidation.

You will do this for another month. Maybe even another month after that, if you’re extra careful.

Then, one day, it will happen. I will not be able to carry any more for any longer and I will burst open at my seams, years and months and weeks and days and hours and minutes and seconds of the things I have carried pouring out of me in an ecstatic and electrifying catharsis. My purpose fulfilled, I will lay empty.

And that’s okay, because even a suitcase that was built to last could never last forever.

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