By Bobbi Olson
If she left now, it would save a lot of trouble. Fewer memories made. Less of an attachment. More time to recover. And she’d never be stronger. Weak as she was now, she’d just get weaker.
The suitcase lay on the bed. It wasn’t very big. It could fit in the overhead bin of an airliner, but now it could luxuriate in the huge trunk of her 1969 Catalina.
The hard beige case was tiny, compact. Which, really, was the way she wanted her life to be. Her life had grown bigger, more complicated. There were so many entanglements now that had grown onto her like invasive vines. Climbing, clinging, reaching ‘round her throat and already covering her mouth. Breaking free was the only chance she saw, even though those vines, once broken, could grow again, the roots would stay behind, ready to send out shoots on someone else. These encumbering vines that might still cling to her would soon die, cut off from their source.
She had packed the suitcase once already and then had taken everything out again. Not because she was changing her mind, but because she had been too ambitious about what would fit. She had to lose about half of what she thought she could stuff inside it. The plastic sides didn’t give, so there wasn’t any cheating. It would take what it would take, and not a bra or panty more.
This part she found comforting, though. She had always thrived when given the sparest of opportunities. She knew how to make things work. She could make dinner for two nights with three ingredients bought at a 99 Cents Only store. She could go a week on less than 10 bucks. She could write everything she wanted to say in a goodbye letter in a few words. If she had more – more money, more clothes, more to say – it would only make things harder to figure out. She hated the greater expectations of plenty.
Down to two changes of clothes, pajamas, sneakers, her notebook and a framed photo (the photo, really?), it was time to latch the dented clasps and put away the things she didn’t need.
Before she walked out to her old car carrying the even older suitcase, she wrote a note. Two lines.
I have to go.
I did love you.
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