There’s a meditative quality to it, I think, an efficiency. It’s like the rosette labyrinths on the floors of cathedrals: you think while you walk. You think while you pack.
I’m on the floor of the stateroom that’s been mine for a week — mine and my sister’s and our cousin’s. I don’t know where the other girls are, but I know I’m the first to pack; their clothes are still strewn all over the beds.
I fill my suitcase the way I’ve been taught. Shoes go on the bottom layer, stuffed with socks and bathing suits to save space. Jeans are next, rolled up and tucked side-by-side, with blouses following suit. Everything fits better that way. There won’t be an inch wasted when I’m done.
I roll up my week on the ship along with my clothes. My tennis t-shirt. The view from above Juneau. My lace shorts. The night I was brave enough to try karaoke. My flowered top. The dolphins off the bow.
Fold it, roll it, tuck it in the bag. Take only memories, leave only footprints. Everything has to fit. It’s an old, old ritual, but it’s one I never get tired of.
The suitcase zips up without protest.