Did you know that I saw you leave? I watched you from the upstairs window, like a ghost.
How strangely we perceive things. I never expected to wonder, of all things, how and when you packed a bag. What a strange first thought to have. When did he pack a bag? Where was this bag? How long had it been packed?
I don’t think I’d ever seen the bag before. A long, black duffle bag with thick, white canvas straps, and metal studs on the bottom to lift it off the ground.
We have a high shelf in our clothes closet, but it’s really my shelf. You never kept anything there, as far as I can remember.
The closet in our front hall has coats and shoes and some cassette tapes in shoe boxes, but I never saw that bag in there. There’s absolutely nothing under the bed—you’re fanatical about that. I remember the first time I kicked off my shoes in the bedroom and one shoe bounced under the bed. It was like the Princess and the Pea; you knew something was under there and couldn’t rest until it was out and put in its proper place. God forbid something be underneath us while we sleep.
Was it balled up inside your sock drawer, folded in on itself and shoved into the very back, where no one would see it? It could have been under a couch cushion, or better yet behind one, and I suppose I might not have felt it or noticed. But that doesn’t account for when you filled it, and where it lived after it was filled. It didn’t have to hold much; essentially, it was a go-bag. The house still has a lot of your things in it. I wonder whether you’ll come back to pick up everything else.
I watched you throw that mystery bag into our car, across the driver’s seat and onto my seat. You got in after it, and never turned around to look at our house. The car turned on and you drove away, and I craned my neck and held my cheek to the window to see if you would look back, but you didn’t.