It Could Belong to Anyone

November 6, 2011
An ordinary backpack. It could belong to anyone. Just sitting on the floor. Alone. Abandoned? Waiting to be opened. At one point, it could have been a bright pink, but days, months, and years of being shoved into lockers, dragged across floors, and shoved under desks have faded the bag to a duller shade of the color. The front pocket alone holds various clues to the mystery of its owner. A collection of mints and stray pieces of gum are the first items encountered, waiting to enter lips that are waiting to be kissed. A single house key lies underneath the wrappers. The key to a home. The main compartment is full. Evidence of a life that is overflowing. Binders are shoved carelessly, pencils rolling about. Papers fluttering out are filled with song lyrics and hearts in the margins of hastily scribbled notes. Every so often, a page emerges with a poem or story written on the back. Carefully hidden in an inner pocket…an iPod. It is careworn to say the least. The touch screen has small scratches here and there, and smudges that are evidence of much use. The device is protected by a pink case, scratched all around and faded in spots where the user has often held it in her hand, trying to hold close the one thing that can drown out the rest of the world. Purple headphones have been carefully wrapped around, neatly wound, untangled. A scroll through the songs list shows a confusingly diverse selection. Pop hits, Broadway ballads, Indie jams, classic rock and old-style croons share the same space. But then, if you place everything back inside, return the doodled hearts, the iPod, the hastily written poems, all that is left is an ordinary backpack. It could belong to anyone.

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