Throughout all of history, hearts have laughed at what the hands try to carry.
I always overpack. It all seems so necessary, so “I can’t live without it,” until I have to drag it from car to hotel to car again.
I write the stories of my hometown daily. I have them with me, even a country, and what some may call a lifetime away. Truth be told, driving into town yesterday, almost none of it is there. The pool were I learned to swim is gone. My high school is an empty lot. What’s left of my middle school is part of the courthouse. Washington Elementary — condos. Even the old public library — empty. So why do I still hear the words? Feel the splashes? Raise my hopeful hand in a class that isn’t there?
Waking up in the Best Western, I certainly can’t call this home, can I? My bursting suitcases try to make the case, with things that I brought from France. Things I picked up in Minneapolis. Duluth. Brainerd. Vintage shirts purchased from the Alex thrift store reminding me of when I was a Cardinal. I suppose we’re all trying to gather in the proof that being here matters. (Wherever that here may be.) And we struggle to drag that proof beside us. And the funny thing is, I know the answer. I have written it. Painted it. Lived it. What remains may only be in the heart.
Sitting with friends yesterday in memory’s laughter of burned pizzas, and chances taken, tears shared and future plans, everything is still alive. Pools and teachers and libraries and mothers. Everything remains. Brushing against arms. Leaning into hugs. I know my heart is the only suitcase I need. And it fills, even when full. It’s all that matters.