Ella and the Backpack

Everyday for over six years, my backpack has lived on a chair in the back of the kitchen. Sometimes, I keep a pair of shoes tucked underneath, and one or more of my purses hangs off the back. It’s “my chair,” and no one else is allowed to mess with it.

About a week ago, when all of my family was arriving at my house, my dad removed my backpack so people could sit in the chair. It was a totally reasonable request–I’m not heading back to school in the fall, and I don’t have anything hefty that I need to regularly carry around on my back–but it made me really angry. That was MY chair he was messing with. It was MY territory with MY sacred things, and I might have well stuck “Keep Out” and “If You Touch This You Will Suffer a Painful Doom” stickers all over it, the way I did with Post-It Notes on my dresser when I was nine.

I suppose I’m angry about moving that backpack because removing it would feel like the final admittance that everyone is leaving. As long as my backpack stays on that chair, it just looks like I’m home on break and that soon it’ll be time to go back to school and catch up with everyone about what they did over the summer. All my binders are exactly the way I left them on the last day of school. I haven’t touched a single paper. I’ve raided the pencil pouch a few times, but I always put everything back the way it was because it still feels like I’m going to need it for class later.

I say that I’ll deal with everything in the backpack when my parents buy me a file cabinet–I need some place to put all the paper, because those 250-word reactions I wrote about democracy quotes are going to be really¬†important to have at some point. But I don’t know if even then, when everything is all set up, if I’ll have the heart to do it.

I don’t want to let go of high school quite yet, no matter how much life tended to suck while I was in it. I was always surrounded by such lovely, lovely people who made me so happy; I got to see my friends everyday; I had really great teachers and fun classes; I got to be a part of amazing clubs with awesome people; and I had finally become friends with every secretary in the school, guaranteeing me preferential treatment in every office. Things were wonderful when I wasn’t dealing with mental illness.

And now all of that’s gone. Some people have already left for college and by the end of the month it will be everyone. Even if I still keep my backpack on that kitchen chair, my sham will be utterly destroyed.

My lie to myself becomes more and more obvious as time wears on, and I find myself become more and more withdrawn. I spend even more time than usual on the internet reading. My research of various topics becomes more and more intense, and I’ve begun to let my room get messy. I owe Cecelia a bunch of letters. I talk to the cats more, and one of my favorite parts of the day is when the AC starts blowing. But I will not move that bag, no matter how ridiculous it’s getting.

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