Pieces of Luggage

Qualified Entry: Fiction Category

By: Raúl Gallardo Flores

Making my suitcase for Paris resembles more like writing short story than what I am ready to admit. I do enjoy taking out all my shirts, my jeans and sneakers without thinking about the weight or size limitations. The suffering begins when the analytical voice begins to attack me for all the excess. The shirt selection would imply a different pair of sneakers for each combination and the ratio between jeans and shirts is one to one, when in my personal traveling principles the minimum ratio should be of three to one. What seemed like a fun activity turns into the monday before going to school in which that uniform reminded me it was the end of dressing like I wanted to.

I achieve a fifty percent reduction in the amount of jeans, making each one combine with a total of four shirts and I could practically live with two pair of sneakers, but I take an extra one to fight the bad odors. There are no concessions in the underwear department, some say it is possible to reuse them or wash them, but I prefer to wake up knowing a fresh one awaits for me each day.

An hour has elapsed between the baroque and the minimalist suitcase, considering it is an eleven day trip it is an acceptable amount of time. I could blame this lack of productivity to the decisive moment when I had to select a jacket or a raincoat for a climate that could be described as winter and summer together. Due to the shirt selections there is really no other alternative than a blue jacket.

Just to plan my backpack it takes me thirty minutes. I couldn’t avoid a terrible discussion between my books and which one should join me in this trip. If I have two long flights the ideal partner should be a novel, but it can’t be more than three hundred pages or I could end up not finishing, also there is no way I’m going to walk on Paris with a heavy bulk when I have some poetry books which are designed for the lighter days on the city. Besides, the experience from previous trips has shown I’ve been carrying an extra book in my selection. If I should run short on reading material I would consider the entertainment choices available in the airplane such as movies and TV series, as a last resource I could just sleep. I want to write on this trip but my fountain pen has left me in the past in the middle of a sentence because it ran out of ink, but my gel pen seems less poetic. I have to take my laptop, but I can’t find the power coverters and a map I had of the subway. My cellphone won’t work in Europe, but I must take it for I am returning through JFK and I will get a signal there.

The first thing in my back is my passport and the money for the trip, I’m allowed to forget everything else. There is no way I’m taking that much weight on my shoulders so I have to send some books and notebooks on my suitcase.

In the end the time invested in getting ready for this trip is two hours and twenty five minutes. I still go to sleep with the feeling I´m forgetting something, so I look at my stats of  forgotten things on previous trips in which I remember a reading lamp, pajamas and prescribed medicines. I could take the risk of trying to remember the forgotten stuff tomorrow, if I have survived to previous trips, this shouldn’t be the exception.