“Stop hitting it,” I said. “Be nice.”
I was in line at security, watching my royal blue knapsack glide down the conveyor belt. It had already been x-rayed. I was about to collect my bag, and was in the process of collecting its maroon sister bag, marooned in the gray bin, along with my sneakers, keys, tissues, ticket stubs, and lip balm, when the woman behind me rammed her gray bin into mine, banging into my knapsack.
It looked troubled. It does not like confrontation of any kind, especially with carry-on suitcases. The hard kind with sharp, jabbing edges.
My knapsack is a softie at heart. It has padding everywhere. Even so, I was trying to protect it.
We had been, among other places, in the Big Apple. We had stayed, among other places, at the Y, after my Non-Marital Spouse departed for home. He went with me to store my knapsack so that I could be unencumbered while we gallivanted. Actually, I would be doing the gallivanting as I am the primary gallivanter in our household.
I checked in. Too early to claim the key for the room of my own, so I told the security guard I wanted to store my knapsack. She unlocked the door to a large, wood-paneled room lined with backpacks and suitcases. Some rolled along merrily while others stayed still. I was sure they were meditating.
Plopping my knapsack down, I told it, “Behave yourself and don’t talk to strangers.”
“What if it wants to make a friend?” My Non-Marital Spouse said.
“Then it will have to find a way to say hi. As we all do,” I said, patting my knapsack goodbye.
After many hours in the Lower East Side, I returned to the West Side to retrieve my knapsack. Alone, it faced the corner. It had made many new friends, who had left on bigger adventures.
Later that week, I shelved it in the overhead compartment of the airplane before I flew home. Halfway through my flight, I opened the compartment to retrieve something from my bag. Darkness cloaked my bag in the bin. My knapsack peered through sleepy eyes at me.
Unsnapping snaps, unzipping zips, very gingerly I removed the very gingery gingersnaps my mother had given me.
They were nice. They did not snap.
Nor did my knapsack, woken from its nap.
Causes Eva Schlesinger Supports
Center For Young Women's Development
Alameda County Library Foundation