The Trunk of Life

The Trunk of Life

Her grandmother had a trunk. It had photos, life and travel memorabilia, old sarees, newspaper cuttings, stationery and God knows what else. Often, when the house was napping on lazy Sunday afternoons, her grandmother sat quietly in the balcony with it, sifting through its contents. As a young adult, she had recommended getting another suitcase, but her grandmother had refused to part ways with her trunk, citing it to be one of her last links to her mother and her companion through her life. Ever since, the trunk had fascinated her. She would often sit watching her grandmother empty it every Sunday, spending considerable time with it before packing it all back in. 

A few years later, she flew the coop and landed in America. Life in a new country held promises like a fresh rainbow. There were so many firsts and new adventures. Her first bank account, apartment, roommate, job, road trip, boyfriend…. the list was endless. She would relay her overflowing excitement to her close ones but felt it wasn’t enough. She felt glorious alive and wanted to record these milestones somewhere, have all these collectibles in one basket before time made dust of it.

One fine day in a thrift shop told her exactly how. 

In a corner, lay a trunk, calling out to her to make it her home for her autobiography. She laughed remembering her grandmother and promptly adopted it, feeling joy in her heart as she carried it home. 

Home. Her apartment. The first in many. Just like her adventures. Her trunk bore witness as she would drop in something that signified a beginning, journey, or a culmination. Journals, photo prints, gifts, travel trinkets, valentines, anniversaries, …. It kept filling. It witnessed her career as it did her relationships. It witnessed her travel and her bucket lists. It saw her face light up with love and witnessed her collapse from a heartbreak. It saw her eyes carry dreams before it welled over and lost steam. Sometimes, she hugged it seeking comfort. Other times, she would wistfully go over its content. It watched her grow with time even as the light in her eyes grew dimmer.

Over time, with every move, she appeared tired lugging the trunk around till it lay forgotten in one corner of the room, barely touched, or remembered.  She even stopped filling it, its content now a past life that seemed gangrenous. 

And then, one day…. 

She emptied the trunk, but did not fill it back in. It watched as she packed some papers and trashed others, tore some pictures, and segregated the sentiment gathered. The trunk, now as empty as her heart, was carried back to the thrift store.

She didn’t look back after she left it behind, all the sentiment already a lost memory. The trunk didn’t hold it against her. After all, no one knew that how heavy time could get it to be. 

Sometimes, you needed to travel light to learn how to live again. 

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One thought on “The Trunk of Life

  1. Lovely writing akshata! After a very long reading your beautiful writing! Message was loud enough and it touched my heart!

    Also your story reminded me of my grandmother and her wooden trunk. It was one of her priceless possession which she fondly remembered as her dowry. She had lots of emotional attachment to it and it was her hobby cleaning it on and off!

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