On Hanging on to It

It recently occurred to me that I’ve had this bag for nine years. Bought online in the spring of 2007 from discount luxury retailer Bluefly it was, in my then twenty-six years of existence, the single most expensive item I had ever purchased.  My wallet felt the sting for sure, with the whopping $740 dollar price tag. (I was pulling in about $30K a year in my entry-level administrative job at the time, so this was no drop in the bucket) ‘It’s fine,’ I told myself, justifying such an exorbitant expense, ‘It’s classic and I’ll have it forever.’  How many times have we said this to sooth ourselves when making a non-essential purchase?  In the long run, it rarely ends up being true. But this time, for me, it was.  

As this bag stares down a decade of service, the brown leather on the handles has grown several shades darker, colored by the natural oils in the skin of my hands. The canvas, once licorice-black, is now a faded brownish-gray. The fob on the outer zipper has long since fallen off. A small dark splotch near the ‘e’ in Chloe is the result of a single drip from a cherry Sno-Cone at an Oakland Atheltics game.  The roundedly squarish shape lends a relaxed structure, like a caramel soft from sitting in the sun. The slightly oversized zipper teeth and footed hardware suggest a cosmopolitan ruggedness.  Like a fine wine and certain Hollywood leading men, its handsomeness has increased with time.

As I’ve carried this bag, so to has it carried me. It has held many a Macbook, doubled as an overnight bag, been a makeshift umbrella in a sudden downpour, and my carry-on as I've traveled the world (one of the reasons the black canvas has lightened so dramatically is from days spent sitting in the sun on various Mexican beaches). The scratches, marks and imperfect coloring endear me to it even more. We've been through so much together: changes in careers, changes in men, and traipsing through the streets of nearly a dozen countries.

But don’t rely on my word alone for its enduring style.  I receive just as many compliments on this bag in present day from strangers and friends as I did when I first bought it. Seeing their mouths form a perfect ‘o’ when I mention it’s age is one thing, but most satisfying of all is when I reply, quite truthfully, ‘Thank you. It goes with everything.’