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Sunday Scribblings

October 11, 2010

#236 – Essential

She opened her duffel bag, her roll-board suitcase and her backpack. Annabelle stared around her living room, surveying.  

Everything was so quiet, so still, so silent until she broke the barrier, sprinting across the room to her shelves. Her eyes scanned the titles- was there anything that could not be re-bought? Her great-aunt’s copy of Gone With the Wind. Her first book on the Russian Revolution. The galley copy of her first- and only- novel. Lunging towards her messy workspace, she grabbed her favorite pen and a quarter-used five subject notebook. They were deposited in her backpack. She left her laptop, her Sony Reader, her tablet and her iPad. Across the great room, in the kitchen, she wrapped her grandmother’s hugging salt and pepper shakers in her favorite set of tea towels. The mug painted by her toddler niece was taken hastily as well.

Across town, Simon started in his bedroom, less contemplative than Annabelle. He unzipped two rolling suitcases and a messenger bag. He opened his bedside table and took all of the things he wouldn’t want his family to find when they came by, which they inevitably would. Only the very basics went into his suitcase: a pair of perfectly broken in boots, his grandfather’s fair isle sweater, his favorite scarf. Simon also packed a set of casual clothes- jeans, a long sleeve tee shirt. Several pairs of socks and underwear.

At his desk, he took out the small wooden box that held his mother’s wedding band and his father’s bible- for all he was not religious. His eyes glossed over his fancy DSLR camera and pulled out his hand-me-down fully manual 35mm from his older brother. His birth certificate, passport and social security card were tucked into the front pocket of the messenger bag. He pulled out the bank exchange forms- routing his bank account to what ever new one he and Annabelle chose. Ten thousand dollars in large bills went in after- their start-up money, wherever they ended up.

Annabelle had moved to her bedroom, hastily shoving clothes into the duffel and then pulling them out again. Only what was essential would come with them. She felt a trill of excitement up her spine as she re-packed. Two pairs of jeans, a short sleeve and a long sleeve tee shirt, a long cardigan. A pack of hair ties. At her jewelry box, she selected her mother’s pearl strand and her grandmother’s sapphire pendant. Everything else was left.

In her bathroom, Annabelle looked around. Was there anything essential? Her mouth-guard; she ground her teeth at night. Anything else she would need could be bought when they got there. For the long flight, though, Annabelle packed a small bottle of lotion, mouthwash and a sample antiperspirent into a zip lock bag. It would also be easier to bring her own large bottle of asprin instead of fussing with travel samples.

Simon pulled a box of photographs from under his bed- accumulated by his mother since childhood.

Annabelle selected a large, wool blanket from her linen closet and a full sized pillow, which she put a fresh case on.

When Simon’s bags were bursting, he wrote an email on his blackberry to his family, stating where he had gone, sent Annabelle a text that he was on his way to get her, turned out the lights, laid the phone down on the kitchen counter and walked out the door.

Annabelle sat on her front steps with the bags around her feet. Simon’s BMW pulled up in front of her. They exchanged conspiratorial smiles. He got out of the car, opened the trunk. Her bags were intermingled with his, now. The truck door shut.

They were off.

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