Along with the bookbag are the clothes I had bought for my post doc and potential new job. Running shoes I won't wear for those long runs I miss doing. New boots I'd bought at a sale at Macy's. Clothes still in their dry cleaning bag.
It reminded me of when my mom was sick. I remember sitting on the side of her bed talking to her late at night as she struggled with such decisions as figuring out whether or not to keep her dentist appointment to replace the crown that had fallen out or whether she should have my sister return the brand new dress she had just bought. I remember how terrified I would feel at the conversations. She would say something like "I don't know whether or not I should keep my dentist appointment. I don't think I'll need to get the crown replaced." Or, "should I return that new dress? I don't know if I'll ever wear it." I knew what she meant. I would leave and drive back to Oakland where I was living at the time hoping against hope that she would decide to keep her dentist appointment and keep the red dress. I had this magical wish that if she kept the dentist appointment that somehow it meant she would live awhile longer. I knew what it meant if she decided to cancel and return the dress. I remember coming back the next day and overhearing my sister saying she had canceled mom's dentist appointment. My heart fell to the floor in pieces.
I don't know what my future is. I can only hope. It does remind me that you never know when the last time you ever do something is going to be. Sometimes you get lucky and you know and you can say goodbye painful as that may be.