In spite of the fact that he had just been on the vacation of a lifetime, Samsonite (A.K.A. Sammy), was on the verge of tears.
He had good reason to cry. He had spent the past two weeks either stranded in rinky-dink airports in the middle of nowhere, or huge, bustling airports being tossed around and stepped on, or in pitch darkness, crushed underneath hundreds of pounds. Currently, the ninety degree heat was suffocating and he was so stuffed he felt ready to burst. A woman with three-inch spiked heels had just tripped over him, leaving a big gash on his bottom. And on top of all that, Big Red was still ignoring him.
Sammy had never felt so alone.
It amazed him that he and Big Red managed to stay together over the past couple of weeks. Sammy was glad because Big Red was his only sense of security in the midst of all the confusion. But Red didn't give him the time of day. He acted like he was too good for Sammy and didn't want to be seen socializing with a little squirt like him.
Sammy glanced over at Big Red and could have sworn he was puffing out his front. Other large, important-looking cases were gathered around, laughing as Big Red asked them, one by one, to pull his handle. When they did, he made an obnoxious scraping sound on the floor that was supposed to sound like a fart. Sammy rolled his eyes, more than a little tired of that stupid joke.
But Sammy supposed Red had reason to be proud. After all, besides having a great sense of humor, there was no denying he was a handsome case. His hard-shelled red exterior demanded attention. And Big Red's formidable size (about three times as large as Sammy) was intimidating. Sammy looked down at his plain old black cloth, now with an ugly tear on the bottom. He squeezed his sides together to prevent the hole from getting bigger. If he were a hard case, like Big Red, he wouldn't have to worry about rips and tears.
Sammy couldn't think of one single reason his owner, Kate, wouldn't take one look at him and trade him in for a newer suitcase. Maybe another large, executive case like Big Red, more durable, and roomier inside.
He felt the tear spread a little, in spite of his efforts to stop it. Nope, he wouldn't be much use anymore. He had nothing to offer except an apology.
He wondered if Kate had been looking for them. She had checked them in at the airport in California and was supposed to pick them up again in Mexico. But the next thing Sammy knew, they landed in a place called Africa. Since then, they'd been flown to several other destinations, ending up back in California, where they now sat with dozens of other suitcases, waiting to be claimed.
Sammy wondered what would be worse: staying here alone, indefinitely, or Kate finding him but then tossing him out anyway?
And then Sammy saw her. She breezed through the door, narrowed her eyes and scanned the various bags. Sammy looked at Big Red to see if he'd noticed. Red had dismissed the other cases and now stood, shiny and proud, waiting for Kate to spot him. Sammy looked down, tears threatening again. He was about to be rejected.
"There you are!" Kate squealed.
Sammy was about to look over at Big Red and watch the happy reunion when he was swooped up into Kate's arms.
"Oh look! You've been torn. We'll have to get that patched up right away."
Out of the corner of his eye, Sammy saw the shock on Big Red's face, which must have matched his own.
"Now let's make sure everything's here…."
Sammy felt himself being unzipped. Ah-----it was nice to get some air. Kate grabbed hold of something and pulled it out. Sammy felt five pounds lighter.
"Oh, praise God!" Kate exclaimed, holding a black book to her chest. She looked up to the ceiling. "Thanks for protecting it, Lord. I don't know what I would have done if my Bible had been lost. All of my notes and thoughts inside…"
Sammy noticed the book looked tattered on the outside too. There was even a rip in the corner. But whatever was on the inside apparently meant the world to Kate.
Maybe it wasn't the outside that mattered after all. Perhaps there was hope for Sammy, yet.
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