Charlie’s Room: The Suitcase
When Isaac got home from work, Marianne was folding towels. “Can you take these socks to Charlie and see if he’s done packing?” She asked. “Tell him to hurry. If we leave tonight, we can get a better campsite.”
Isaac looked at the pile of neatly folded, clean laundry. Where were the socks? Oh, there, behind the tee-shirts. “Should I take Charlie the rest of his clothes?” Isaac asked.
“Oh, might as well. Then come back for yours. And it would be great if you could put away the bathroom towels on your way. I’ll have them folded by then,” Marianne said.
‘Okay,” Isaac said. He carefully stacked Charlie’s clothes in a pile, with the lumpy sock-bundles on top, and carried them down the hall to Charlie’s room.
“Here’s your laundry,” Isaac said. “How’s the packing going?”
Charlie looked up from the book he was reading. “Hmm? The packing? Oh, I’m done with that,” Charlie said. “I just needed some socks.”
“Well, here’re the socks,” Isaac said. He looked over at the suitcase. It was empty. “Charlie, there’s nothing in the suitcase.”
Charlie rolled his eyes. “Haha. I’m not going to forget packing my suitcase, Dad.”
Isaac looked in the suitcase again. Still empty. “Okay then. Why don’t you put these socks in and I’ll put the rest of these clothes away.”
“Okay.” Charlie put a bookmark in his book and set in on his desk. He took the socks and turned to his suitcase. “Did you just empty my suitcase? That’s not very funny.”
“It was like that when I came in,” Isaac said.
“Dad, I remember packing it. Where did you put everything? Back in the drawers?” Charlie tugged the drawers opened and sighed. “Now I have to pack all over again. Just hand me the clothes, and I’ll put them away.”
Isaac gave him the pile of clothes and went back to the living room. Marianne and her clothes were already gone. He grabbed the bathroom towels and his clothes and left to put them away.
Marianne was just closing her suitcase when he went in their room. His suitcase was on the bed, closed. “I already packed for you,” she said. “you’ll just need to pack your toothbrush and razor and such.”
“I can do that,” Isaac said.
“How was Charlie doing?” Marianne asked.
“He hadn’t quite finished,” Isaac said.
Marianne frowned. “He should be done by now. Can you check on him again when you’re done packing? I need to double-check my list. We’ll have to stop for matches and batteries on our way.”
“Sure,” Isaac said. He packed quickly and went to check on Charlie. Charlie was putting a stack of shirts into his dresser drawer. He slid it closed and sat down and picked up his book.
Isaac looked over at Charlie’s suitcase. It was empty. “Charlie, why haven’t you packed yet?” he asked.
Charlie looked up and frowned. “I just finished packing.”
“I just saw you put your shirts into the dresser,” Isaac said. “And your suitcase is empty.”
Charlie jumped up and checked his suitcase. “That is so weird. I know I packed it. I don’t remember putting anything into the dresser except my laundry.” He lifted the suitcase and shook it. “Maybe the suitcase is broken. That’s too bad. It worked fine the last time I used it.”
“I don’t think suitcases work like that.” Isaac thought for a moment. Charlie shook the suitcase again. “Charlie, are you wearing your lucky socks?” Isaac asked.
Charlie put the suitcase down and lifted a pant leg. “Yup. Everything else was in the wash.”
“Hmmm,” Isaac said. “Maybe we should wait to leave until morning. I’ll go talk to your mom. Start packing again and see what happens.”
Isaac found Marianne in the kitchen, mumbling over her list and a group of bags filled with supplies. “I’ve been thinking,” he said.
“Mmmm-hmmm,” Marianne said.
“I don’t want to drive out to the middle of nowhere at night and put up a tent in the dark. Besides, it looks like it might rain. Can we wait to leave until morning?”
Marianne paused and looked up. Her mouth scrunched up on one side. Then she took a deep breath. “We’ll leave as soon as it’s light out?”
“Of course,” Isaac said.
Marianne nodded. “Okay. I was a little worried about the rain, too.”
“I’ll go tell Charlie,” Isaac said.
Isaac went into Charlie’s room. Charlie was sitting and reading. His suitcase was packed. Isaac smiled.