Prudence in Hell 034
Once, during our honeymoon in Paris, I saw him pack an impossible —because large and achingly detailed— scale model of the Bounty into a suitcase. It reached its destination —not a rope loose or a sail out of place; the ship unmutinied, as it were.
You can take stock of a man by how he packs, I learned. He rotates not just shapes, but textures; iron will, and ironed out. His spatial intelligence is non-pareil.
Everything clicks tonight: pieces of driftwood, silverware, ceramics, a side-set pair of shark jaws held by a hinge of cartilage, as if by a thong; a shadowbox, glazed, thinly framed in finely brushed, almost Phoenician-purple copper; pink quartz bookends; a quiver of porcupine quills; a bronze lamp for my nightstand; remnants of raw ceremonial tobacco; a can of Kopi Luwak that may or may not be stale, though we shall soon find out how civet coffee ages.
The list goes on. To some degree it’s endless: it must be. It caters to the way we live—collecting half-dead things that still retain an aura of exoticism, extinction’s mystique. To a sacrosanct extent, ours is a symbiotic stand-off with everything we love that has allowed our stewardship of it.
He also bought me jewellery today; more of it: amazonite on silver, shaped like flow[er]ing feathers, because I evoke plumes and blooms to him. Clusters of pearls, oceanic and riparian, garnished with semiprecious stones. Those travel on me: I am the carry-on with the long, lacustrine cleavage; the girl with the infinite fingers who can sport a jewel the way he packs a bag.
It is important that I die as precisely as he packs; with nothing left to chance and all the proper structural reinforcements.
Have I cried freely in front of you yet? Would you like me to?
Always pack a pair of scissors and a boxcutter. You never know when they might come in handy.
The first page of Lieutenant William Bligh's list of mutineers on the Bounty, 1789. National Library of Australia.