Photogtaphy by Alec Holtforster
My purple suitcase sits quietly in the corner of my room. Shafts of moonlight seep through my blinds just enough to create an obscure criss-cross pattern on the bags’ surface. It sits innocently, unaware of the journey it will soon be making with me.
I’ve packed and repacked too many times to count. Tried to envision the damp weather that awaits me and how best to be prepared for it. I outwardly stress about not bringing the right number of socks, or how durable my new rain jacket will be. I blame the emptiness of my suitcase on my wardrobe anxieties, but I know the real reason I lie awake late at night watching the moonlight dance across the floor.
When I began to pack a few days ago, the first thing I noticed was the thin layer of sand that coated the bottom of my suitcase. It serves as a reminder of the trip we took together just months before. The sand was the same sand that we laid on underneath the stars, while we talked about life. When I saw it, I felt a pang of guilt at the thought of leaving you behind this time. From that moment, everything I tried to pack reminded me of you. The shirt that I wore on the first night we met. The shoes I wore one night that hurt my feet so badly you carried me home on your back. Everything I tried to stuff into my medium sized, Disney-themed luggage was connected to you somehow, yet it would never be enough to fill the void that was sure to arise in your absence.
I expect that in the months I’m away that things will become different, and this is what I fear most. I expect to learn things about myself that will alter how I perceive the world around me. And although I have great expectations for what awaits me, I can’t ignore the reservations I have about us and what lies ahead. I know you worry too, which is why I’ve decided to make a promise to myself, and ultimately a promise to us.
I promise that I will change. I promise that I will learn new things about the world I will explore, and share them with you as I learn them. While I can’t promise I will be back to see watch you graduate, or to see you turn twenty-three, I promise that I will be thinking only of you in those moments. And although I can’t tell you when I’ll be coming home, I promise that when I do come home, I will come home to you.
The summer really isn’t that long, you know.