Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kenya: Getting There

“Get inside the bag,” my mother told me.

Lost, we drifted along in the sea of duffels. We’d pulled them off the shelves with reckless speed, emptying the shelves, and now they had us surrounded. The bag I’d bought myself was not good enough, my mother and aunt told me. I came to its defense, but they didn’t want to hear it. Even my best friend shook her head at me and sided with my family. The bag would have to be replaced. We’d been out shopping all day. My brain hurt. My stomach growled.

 “See which one feels bigger.” With that final order, my mother turned away to take a phone call.

I lowered myself onto the floor and got inside the bag.

Scrunching down to a size extra small, twisting this way and that, I did my best to get both my legs inside at once. My defiant limbs would not comply.

“It’s way too small,” I reported out. Mom was still on the phone. Val laughed and pulled the next bag alongside, hoisting me up out of the luggage by my wrists.
It's hard to take your own picture while in a suitcase.

“Ooo, much better,” I reported, enjoying the roomy sack. We took the blue one.

There is a certain irony to the tale of my mom asking me to pack myself in the suitcase, because it seems after a few days helping me prepare that she wanted most was to pack herself, to hide out in my luggage and come along.

She did. She packed herself in the tiny bottles she used to transfer all my liquids and in the unending stream of “Did you think of’s.” She packed herself in the long lists of supplies and in the way she refolded all my shirts. She packed herself and sent me off into the world to explore.

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