I came to Mexico with two suitcases, not realizing that instead of nine months, I was to end up staying 17 years. I obviously did not pack thinking I would be out of the country that long. The time, however, has made my things multiply as if they were horny rabbits and I look around at my domain at everything with a bit of wonder at the amount of stuff I have amassed over the years.
A friend of mine will be leaving the country of her birth to marry the love of her life. And as the countdown to her departure strikes off the days, she is caught in the middle of a self-imposed vortex of attachment to everything Mexican.
To move everything that she can fit into a 2x2x2 space will cost her the grand total of $7000 USD. All of a sudden, everything that could be anything of the most menial value (but only valuable because it is Mexican) is being forced to fit into that space. She will not be taking antique 19th century furniture nor rare artwork. She waved her hand at two plastic containers, which she planned to take. At the top of the pile were five bottles of vaginal wash and a large bottle of water purifier. Beneath that were ten boxes of Cruesli cereal.
I, along with another friend, were beguiled. As much as it was going to cost her to send things, we thought she would have been a bit more selective with what was going into her luggage.
“There is vaginal wash in the States, you know.”
“No there isn’t. I checked in every store and couldn’t find any!” The same was true with her cereal. No store carried it. We joked that we would gift them to her as a wedding present. My friend and I tried to talk her out of taking such a large amount of things that, quite frankly, she could buy for much less than what she would have to spend had she sent them. After 10 minutes of telling her that she needed to let go, she cracked. It was then, through tears, that she explained how she wanted to taste every flavor of her country, eat Mexico whole before she left. That even if she never used something, she liked knowing it was there. That she wanted to take letters from her ex-boyfriends in the event that one day, if her children would ask her what were her previous boyfriends like, she would be able to show them the letters. But it went deeper than that: she was scared to leave. And her only anchor was to latch onto all the habits through the products of her beloved home.
As I held her, she sobbed. We told her that a set of Member’s Mark baking pans was not worth the trouble. That the States was where vaginal washes could be found in variety and that if she hadn’t used the bottle of purifier in the 10 years it had been sitting around in her house, what made her think she’d be using it when she got married?
When she stopped crying, she took a deep breath. We set her on a mission and for the next few weeks, her sole purpose was to take as little as she could. To leave behind the baggage. To not take the letters, the water purifier, the baking pans, the cereal. She will be writing new letters, buying new pans and eating other cereal.
And making new memories. The ones that will really count. She will not need her past because he will create their future.