Now that we seem to be teetering on the edge of lockdown, and still making up our minds about what is going to happen next, we thought we'd write about it. So, here's two responses on the notion of edges to fill your boots with.
Packing by Charlotte
“How on earth did I manage to pack all of this on the way out, and now I can only get half of it back in?”
“Well, have you tried rolling?”
“Rolling? Surely that takes up more space?”
“It actually doesn’t, it’s actually much more effective for packing.”
It was the end of a month-long holiday, and with their flight back to reality in four hours they really needed to be checking out of the hotel, jumping in a taxi and relaxing in the departures lounge with a last minute pina colada, before the seven-hour flight back. Sam was packed, Jo wasn’t.
Their clothes smelt of sun cream and sand, sweat and spilt margaritas from that night they’d got sloppy drunk at the beach bar and woken up on the sun loungers. It wasn’t just that they’d had a ton of clothes needing a desperate wash, there was also shoes, and books, and trinkets they’d picked up along the way, as well as a bottle of local wine which they’d discovered on the first night and gorged on consistently over the month.
“Sam, you know you’re great, right? So, organised and clever? Would you help me pack and I’ll go and get us a little treat? I was thinking, seeing as we’re still all-inclusive until we check out, we might as well have a few more drinks? I think the breakfast bar is still open – I could get us some pancakes?”
Sam smiled, he could have guessed that Jo would try and get out of packing. It was just like him.
“Sure, just this one time though. I ain’t your lackey permanently!”
“Of course, you’re not!” Jo smiled, and planted a kiss on Sam’s cheek. “Back in a bit!”
Deciding to start from the beginning, as Jo’s attempt had been hopeless and fruitless, Sam emptied the suitcase out. He folded clothes into piles, balled socks up and matched the shoes together so that he had a clear idea of what was to be packed. Then he took a sip from his espresso and plunged in. Socks went inside shoes, making sure that there was no dead space, then these lined the bottom of the bag – soles facing out. The gaps left by the shoes he plugged with pants that he rolled tightly so that the bottom layer was evened out and tight. He must really love Jo to be folding his dirty underwear, Sam thought. Next, he selected clothes of a similar thickness and made these into tighter rolls, and formed the next layer in the case.
The case was now about half full. In the large lid pocket, Sam placed the beach towel Jo had brought from home, and a few books that they wanted to bring back, so that the case would sit flush when closed. Then he laid trousers half in the case, so that the legs hung over the side and in the centre put the bottle of wine which had he wound with a lightweight shawl. Toiletries, shells, a half empty bottle of suncream, all the miscellaneous items he pushed into crevices and folds, tucking and securing them neatly within the nest of clothing. Almost there, cashmere sweater placed on top (Sam had no idea why Jo had brought this), and he pulled the hanging trousers legs up and over to lay on top. Pulled the lid down and Bob’s your uncle. Easy.
Espresso still warm, Sam extracted the playing cards from his own suitcase, and wandered out onto the balcony. Sea breeze, warm heat, good coffee – perfect holiday.
Departure by Anna
I can see the whole city from here. I’ve been walking away from it for thirty days. Now, its landscape, appears nude in front of my eyes. A living thing; inhabited by good and bad stories, some thought-through, some unsteady ones. But there they are, standing together as an accomplished whole.
With nasty blisters, from time to time, I’ve felt like turning back. But, I kept moving ahead. I’ve cursed the road and myself; I’ve found wild berries and acquired the company of an alley cat and hummingbirds. I’ve met Blanca and the dancing lovers, Roxy’s monarchic ambitions and Simone’s wrinkles. I’ve tasted Rita’s chicken casserole and I’ve looked into some of my own crevices.
I turn my head to gaze at it one more time, still walking forwards. It looks calm today, the city. Its anxious spirit could reach me, even from a distance. Each day at dawn, the anticipation of the next morning stepped on my heels.
With every new word, a step further, approaching the slope. Right, left, right, left, down the hill, the city is soon out of sight. Leaving its streets, saying ‘see you later’ to its people, sleeping outdoors; it’s been a struggle.
Red tiled roofs and the romanesque campanile; the body of my city vanishes behind the hill. I’ve walked with determination; thirty days, pushing forward. A few more words and it will disappear.
It’s been a challenge to build you, Señora. With a smile on my lips and a tear in my eyes, it’s goodbye for now, my dear city.