Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Luggage (08/15/05)
TITLE: Can't Let Go
By Rick Willlis
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No nothing’s in it, but it’s all I have. See, I tied it together with bailing wire, you know what that is? Look, brass accents on the corners. It was something else when I bought it years ago.
You don’t understand-It’s very versatile-I use it as a stool, a pillow and sometimes, even here in Los Angeles, an umbrella.
No nothing at all in it. All I have are the clothes on my back and the shoes on my feet. I just can’t let it go.
Did I tell you it once held gold? Real gold. The kind you could scratch with your fingernail. The gold’s gone now. The promise of the gold was as empty as this old case is now.
You want a drink? No? I probably wouldn’t share a bottle with an old man like me, either.
One time, I used it to sneak my son’s dog into his hospital room, the case, I mean. I kept coughing all the way in the ward to cover the sound of the puppy.
You should have seen Ben’s face when Jake popped out of the case into his lap. That type of joy can’t be kept hidden. I wish it could be locked away and saved so easy.
Oh, Ben’s fine, he recovered, just tonsils. Has a son of his own now, Sam. They live out East somewhere.
Why? Oh you mean, like, what is my tragedy? Why am I a bum?
That’s okay. No, really, it’s okay. Bum is the correct description of me.
If I really had to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s this piece of luggage, this old case here.
You see, I traveled a lot. That gold I used to carry was someone else’s, and I wanted it for me. So I traveled, always seeing gold at the end of the rainbow. But I was never home, and I lost my family while trying to get that gold.
But the real gold, the gold I couldn’t see right in front of me, was my family. And after a while, I couldn’t find them either. The gold I was chasing was fool’s gold. And I’m the fool.
Don’t cry, missy. I’m okay, really.
So, that’s why I carry the case with me. To remind me of what I had and what I lost. I keep thinking, someday, they will come looking for me and forgive me.
In the meantime-here give me a hand up, I gotta get going. That’s it. Darn it, my foot’s asleep. There we are. That feels better.
In the meantime, while I’m waiting, I’ll drag this old case around with me. Sure, there’s nothing in it, but I just can’t let go.
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