Short Story Sunday 138: Packing

            Jen and her boyfriend, Rick, were going away on their very first week-long trip together. They were celebrating two years of dating and thought it was about time they start moving things forward. Jen thought about moving in together, but before she could say anything, Rick suggested going away for a week. She agreed only because it would be good practice to live together and it would be nice to get away.

They were going to a cottage by a lake a few hours away from their hometown. Jen couldn’t wait to sit on the porch and watch the sunrise, lounge on a raft in the cool water, and snuggle up on the couch watching movies after dark.

As much as she anticipated it, she hated the packing part. They were leaving the next day and she still had yet to pack her things. Instead, Jen made a list of everything she needed to bring, plus everything she wanted to bring. It was more fun to make the list than it was to actually put it all together.

So, the following morning, Jen woke up extra early to get her packing down. She needed it to be done before Rick swung by to pick her up and he was coming to get her in two hours. That should give her plenty of time to gather her things together, right?

Jen opened her bedroom closet and pulled a large duffle bag down from the top shelf. She put it on her bed, unzipping the top main compartment. She pulled the side apart allowing the bag to open as wide as it could. She stared at the empty space with her fists on her hips. It was finally time to shove as many things as she possibly could into that one bag.

Grabbing her list from the top of her dresser, Jen read aloud to herself. “I need seven shirts, seven pairs of pants, seven pairs of underwear…”

She pulled open a couple drawers in her dresser and pulled out various articles of clothing. Jen pulled out seven tank tops.

No, what if it rained? What if it got chilly up there?

She put three tank tops back and pulled out two t-shirts and one light long-sleeved shirt.

No, now that didn’t make any sense. What if it was really hot the whole week they were up there?

She tossed the seven shirts she had into her duffle bag and took out the three tank tops she put back and added those back into her duffle bag. Ten shirts should have been plenty. But now that she was thinking about it, it probably was bound to get chilly at night by the lake. So, she went into her closet and pulled out a sweatshirt tossing that into the bag as well.

Now Jen needed pants. She grabbed four pairs of shorts, realizing that was all the shorts she had. She pulled out three pairs of jeans and then realized she would be far too hot in that. She put one pair of jeans back and pulled out two pairs of yoga pants. They weren’t shorts, but they were lighter than jeans. She tossed those eight pairs of pants into her duffle bag.

She grabbed ten pairs of underwear. Being a girl, she figured she might as well bring extras just in case. Jen only grabbed two bras. If they were going to be in the cottage most of the time, she probably wasn’t going to wear one anyone. It would be too hot and uncomfortable. She hated wearing them to begin with.

Jen looked back at her list and checked off her shirts, pants, and underwear. She added the sweatshirt onto the list and checked that off as well. Then she grabbed three bathing suits, three beach towels, her cover-up, and four pairs of pajamas.

On top of all her clothes, she looked down at her feet. “Well,” she said out loud to herself, “I’ll be wearing my flip-flops so I don’t need to pack those… I do need sneakers, though!”

Jen grabbed her best pair of sneakers in case they went out hiking or she just needed more support on her feet. Then she also grabbed a pair of her nicest flats and heels. What if they went out somewhere fancy? Speaking of that, she should grab a nice blouse and a skirt just in case.

Jen added another outfit plus the extra pairs of shoes. She smiled at her bag satisfied.

She used all her might trying to compact all the clothes into that one duffle bag. She pressed down using the palm of her hands as hard as she could. Jen grunted and groaned as she fought to zip the bag back up.

Then she realized something. Socks.

Jen sighed and upzipped the bag just enough to pack the socks in. She didn’t want to have to fight to close it again. She stuffed eight pairs of socks into her duffle bag and then closed it all the way again.

She stared at the fat bag sitting on her bed. She smiled and looked at her list again. Wait. She still needed to pack her hairbrush, extra ponytails, hairspray, her hair dryer, her toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash (she rarely flossed and used her mouthwash, but she figured she should bring it just in case!), her loofa, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, her razor, shaving cream… Well, pretty much everything in her bathroom.

Then what if she wanted to read a book? She’d have to bring a couple in case she finished the book up there or wanted to read something else. What if she wanted to write love poems to Rick? She was going to have to bring a notebook—actually, bring a few in case she filled the notebook up—and a couple of pens. Well, she would need about three of each color. A variety in colors was always fun and any of them could run out of ink.

She needed to pack a Sudoku book. What if they wanted to work on a jigsaw puzzle? She needed to bring her movies and she needed to bring a lot for a good variety of choices. What if they didn’t have a coffee maker? She might as well bring her machine along as well. She’ll have to bring the coffee. That would be easier than going to store up there and buying it. Oh, and her favorite mug! She’ll have to bring that as well.

Finally, Jen went back over to her closet and took out a suitcase. She was going to have to fill that one, too.

When the two hours was up, Rick pulled into her driveway. He beeped the horn for her to come out and when she didn’t, Rick unbuckled his seat belt and went up to the front door.

The door was unlocked, so he let himself in. There, sitting right in front of him in the mudroom, were five bags. He heaved a sigh.

“Jen?” he called.

Jen came clomping down the stairs with yet another bag, though this one was smaller than the rest. “Hi, Honey! I didn’t know you were here.”

“What’s all this?” he pointed to the bags

“Oh, I packed for the trip.” Jen grinned.

“Jen, we’re going for a week, not a month.”

“Oh, I know that! If we were leaving for a month, I’d need to go to the store and get some more bags.”

Rick sighed. Whatever. He wasn’t going to argue with her. He picked up two of the bags and nearly fell over. “Seriously, what did you put in here?”

Jen bit her lower lip. “You probably don’t want to know…”

“You do know I only have a small Camry, right?” Rick raised an eyebrow.

Jen pressed her lips together. She nodded and smiled sheepishly at him.

He sighed again. “Okay, let’s go… I think you forgot one thing though.”

Jen shut her front door behind her and her eyes grew wide. “Oh, no, what?”

“The kitchen sink,” Rick grunted limping towards the car with two of the five bags in hands.

“Oh, crap!”

“You’re not bringing the kitchen sink!”

“No, I actually did forget something…” Jen frowned. “My wallet is in the house…”

Rick stopped in his tracks and stared dumbfounded at her. “Well, go in and get it then.”

Jen looked down at the ground. “And, uh… My keys are in there as well.”

Words: 1,414

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14 thoughts on “Short Story Sunday 138: Packing

  1. Haha brilliantly written. You can feel her doubts and anxieties and need to be prepared from everything. Sometimes you just have to accept the unknowns you can’t prepare for everything.

  2. It made me laugh. Girls really do have to do a lot of thinking before getting down for any trip, be i for any number of days. 😀
    Though Jen probably did quite a lot of extra thinking. 😀

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