My suitcase and I used to be great friends. It has rollerblade style wheels that made it really easy to pull at top speed while running through an airport chanting "I'll never arrive ten minutes before a flight again! I'll never arrive ten minutes before a flight again!" Those were the days before 9/11 of course - back when I was interviewing for jobs all over the country, trying to find a place that felt like home.
One time, while running late for a flight, my suitcase managed to pick up a gum wrapper in one of its wheel-sockets, causing a "Ffffff-wheeeee!!!" sound as I scrambled to make it to the proper gate.
My suitcase was always happy to be on the go. I'd spot it mingling with all of the other suitcases in airport lines, trying to look suitcase-sexy while glibly talking of travels overseas.
"See that ding right there? Got that one in Xi'an."
"Oh! That looks like it hurt."
"Nah, I've had worse."
My suitcase doesn't see much action these days. Moving to Portland was the best decision I ever made because it finally brought stability into my life, which means that, these days, my suitcase sits empty - merely taking up space. Since I live in a small downtown loft, space is at a premium - so - it's time for that sucker to find itself in my basement storage locker.
"You're gonna put me in a cage?!?"
"Yes I am - but not before I fill you with whatever else I'm going to abandon too."
OK, that was a bit harsh... honest as it may be.
I decided that today was the day I'd pack up the lingering woe of failed relationships and remove it from my home, and my life. These days, even though my love life isn't "Whoa! Wow! Whooo!", it's certainly not "Woe," so the lingering woe has got to go.
"I hope this'll be big enough" I thought while wheeling my suitcase into the hall. I'd never really measured my emotional baggage by volume before.
"Hhhhmmmm.... where did I put you all...? Oh yes! Here you are"
Tucked away beneath the bathroom sink, hidden behind a box of cat litter, a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner, a box of forgotten bathroom stuff ("I own a can of fake snow? WTF!") and a roll of emergency T.P. (for that moment we all experience: "am I REALLY out of TP?!? Oh shit! Literally!") ...behind them all sat my stories of woe from relationships past.
"Gasp!!! Ack ack!!! Air!!!"
"Thank god! You've come for us!"
Cough... "We could barely breathe in there!"
"Ack ack!!" ...cough choke, wheeze.
"Is it time for a pity party?"
"She dumped you, didn't she!"
"We never liked her!"
"All that happiness and cutesy cutesy stuff..."
"...don't think we didn't hear it all!!!"
"She was just using you for your... uh... uh... whatever it is someone would use YOU for."
"Hey hey hey! The only pity party going on here is yours. I couldn't be happier, which means I've no use for any of you. Seriously. I contacted the sanitation department, but they said I can't pitch woe, so you're getting abandoned in the basement."
"ABANDONED?!!?" [...shut up suitcase]
"As if being stored behind emergency T.P. wasn't bad enough" [...shut up woe]
I could sense their defeat as each story of a relationship's past prepared to lower itself into the suitcase. I inspected them one by one, woe by woe.
"Hhhhmm... there's not much woe in this one" I said, perplexed.
"She wasn't ready to be loved by anyone but herself, so it never went anywhere." the potential woe replied.
"Yeah, but she was nice and dating her was fun. No harm, no foul. And, hey," I said while inspecting another relationship that didn't happen, "there's no woe in this one either!"
"She was mean."
"And that's why we didn't date long! Thus, no woe! So, what about the rest of you? My suitcase has got to go... is there really NO actual woe for me to stow?"
"Ooh ooh! I'm the lingering heartbreak from love lost at sea! I said I'd never let go - I'd never let go - I'd..."
"You stole that from a movie."
"Surely there's got to be some honest to god woe in here somewhere!?"
And though I looked high and low, in search of the woe that had to go - the answer was inevitably no. There was simply no woe to stow, and I should know.
Had I reached an emotional plateau? (Well what do you know!)
"I guess you're all free to go."
As my stories of non-woe walked out the door, I looked back at the still-empty suitcase.
"Does this mean I get to stay?" it begged.
Sadly for my suitcase, the answer would be no... but there was still the issue of that can of fake snow...