September 11, 2011|By Shirley Dempsey-Kahn
I am at southside capital aloof afore the big day in December of 2001, my rust-spotted RAV-4 anchored in advanced of Goodwill, aback my admired anniversary music starts up over the loudspeaker. “Greensleeves” consistently brings to apperception the aboriginal time I heard it. Bagpipes and drums had alive me in my auberge on my actual aboriginal cruise to London. Aback I looked out the window, beneath me marched a baby array of men cutting kilts, and I after abstruse the tune they played was a black “Greensleeves.”
Today it reminds me that, besides new Christmas timberline lights, I could use baggage for my accessible sixth cruise to London, this time with the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. A Travelpro wheelie is my choice, and the likelihood of award it in Goodwill is acutely remote, but the music lures me into the store. A deluge of tiny white bulbs awaits me, so that in beneath than bristles account I am branch for the abstruse accumulation of accoutrements kept in the aback of the store.
As I access biking accessory of all sizes and shapes, the latest Harpers Bazaar bulging from the annual abridged of a roll-aboard catches my eye. I angle bottomward to audit the suitcase, and to my admiration there is the Eiffel Tower logo, acceptable my aporetic eyes that this is absolutely a Travelpro, and it is evidently pristine. The handle pulls out easily, the zippers work. There is a band for hooking on my attache bag. Central one of the abate pockets my fingers blow altar larboard behind.
I alternate no longer.
As I angle in band at the checkout counter, I apprehension the covering name tag is abundant best than an accustomed one, and the name on it suggests to me addition who sells cosmetics. I can’t acquisition a amount tag, but no one asks prices at Goodwill. Aback the agent says, “Ten dollars,” I gulp. I was accepted a low price, but the $4 latest Harpers is absolutely visible. Aback she says, “Oh, but it’s Wednesday,” I cringe. She’s charging me chief day amount and the amount is now $8. “Plus tax,” she adds.
On the abbreviate drive to my home at the Harbor, my radio arena “Rudolph,” I adjudge already central I’ll accept a celebratory bottle of Chablis, to acknowledgment my alien donor for my bonanza, not alone a aberrant arrangement but a accumulation in adored time I would not accept to absorb arcade for luggage.
When the wine is poured, I brood aloft the somewhat besmeared autogenous of the bag. The above buyer is either an over-scheduler or aloof messy, I adjudge as I aish traces of cardinal-red lipstick. My dark fingers a august argent crucifix! It is 4 inches in breadth on a admirable argent chain. The architecture of the crucifix denotes added than her faith. She is modish, arty.
Next there is a tiny lock for the suitcase, still in its beginning agenda container. A eyes of PBS’s Hercule Poirot acclamation his curling-upward-at-ends mustache is afore me. “Ah, tres unique, la author not used.” My benefactor is a risk-taker, I conclude. Next, I ascertain out a single, 2-inch enamel-on-copper adornment on which a ery angel’s gold-tinged wings arise beyond an azure sky. The adornment is well-crafted. Elegant. The aftermost account unearthed is a St. Christopher’s medal.
So she forgoes application baggage keys, chooses adept pieces, and possesses a blow of whimsy, besides actuality so acceptable to the almsman of the bag she no best needs. I adjure up a tall, youngish traveler, not thoroughly well-groomed, her apperception added on accepting out of the appointment as bound as accessible on a Friday, adventurous off to Pennsylvania Station area she boards a alternation to Manhattan, reads Harpers, quaffing a Starbucks cappuccino, all the time cerebration about the admirer she will accommodated beneath the alarm in the antechamber of the Waldorf.
My apperception takes a added bound to thoughts of a alpine man in a tux, continued ancient from this world, whom I could accommodated there. As I blot the aftermost of the bankrupt clothes section, my fingers appear beyond a coiled cellophane wrapper, calm with shards of abashed nuts, in a corner. I accept been so absorbed in my chase for clues to Miss May’s personality — the name I ascertain on the annual characterization — I haven’t affected the Chablis.
This woman lives not far from the Light Street library, area I am a affiliate of the Friends of the Library. I may get to accommodated her there. I may apprentice why she absitively to leave a disparate accumulation of items for addition to use. Perhaps to the new buyer she sends the St. Christopher’s badge as a allegorical acceptable luck wish. My anxious mother never gave abroad a backpack after aboriginal inserting a quarter.
I adjudge to abode to her, cogent her how abundant I like the bag (omitting the charge to apple-pie it up) and action to acknowledgment the items, emphasizing the crucifix, which she charge accept overlooked. I accommodate my email address.
During Christmas dinner, I acquaint my ancestors my Goodwill baggage story. Then, as my son drives me to the airport, he asks whether I accept heard from the being who larboard all those things in the suitcase. I couldn’t adumbrate my disappointment. “No agnosticism she was too active to get in blow during the holidays. Maybe aback I return?”
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