What he took with him when he left home:

1. Matches.
2. His cell phone.
3. His father’s leather bible, which every sunday, his father would clean off with a small bottle of Vaseline and a soft green cloth, his scarred and weathered fingers rubbing the jelly over the front and back of the book and then using the soft green cloth to buff it. Cleaning the dirt gathered along the edges with a wet q-tip and picking up the remainders with a small absorene dirt eraser, sanding away the marks and the smudges that were found on the pages inside. His father would miss it more than the very air in his lungs.
He took it from him.
4. Three blankets.
5. A pair of steel toed hiking boots.
6. A razor.
7. His sisters notebook diaries chronicling her six year struggle with anorexia nervosa, containing lists of foods that she ate or pretended to eat, lists of different ways to prepare a certain type of meal, etchings of stick figured shaped people doodled in the margins, lists of hospitals and programs she had attended that had worked, for a while, until food was found flecked around the edges of the toilet bowl, and plates and spoons were found hidden in the closet, the clothes hamper. Then new hospitals and new programs and even longer lists.
8. A bag of trail mix.
9. A bottle of Sunscreen.
10. A compass.
11. His inhaler which he hadn’t really needed since middle school, but for some reason, couldn’t help but carry around. In his right pocket, next to his keys and the tiny piece of mint gum he always had, weighty and reassuring against his leg.
12. A well read copy of the Catcher in the Rye.
13. A small piece of blue copper azurite he’d found in the woods three miles away from his high school.
14. His mothers eyes, they were always telling him he had his mothers eyes, the soft hazels flecked with specks of green that were always hard when she wanted them to be and soft when she wanted them to be. He hadn’t exactly mastered that, his eyes always seemed to be stuck someplace in the middle. A hard soft space with no room left for anything else to grow.
15. His sisters black watch.
16. His collection of ticket stubs.
17. A small can opener.
18. A yellow eared map of Venice which he’d shoplifted from the bookstore a couple blocks away from his house. A quiet, dusty place full of old books and wooden globes and bookends shaped like mermaids and lions. The owner was a grizzly old man who was always looking at him funny whenever he was in there, as if he could tell exactly what he wanted and didn’t like it. But the old man had to turn around sometime, and it was then that he made his move, shoving the map and the ribbon that bound it deep into the space between his jeans and his underwear.
19. His I-pod.
20. A package of plastic cutlery.
21. A mix CD he had made for his sister while she was in the hospital. He had titled it Oceans and Oceans and filled it with melancholic folk songs and catchy punk pop hits and old school rap and hip hop melodies, and all of the kinds of songs she had loved. She had smiled at him, her skin all diaphanous and pale with too many wires coming out of her arms and nose, and had kissed his hand and told him that she loved him and that he was her little tugboat, pulling her safely to shore.
She died just two hours later.
22. A pack of note cards.
23. A poster of the moon from his sisters room.
24. An invitation to his sisters funeral that his mother had printed up on fancy card-stock paper with her name and his fathers name and his name, and his sisters name in the middle. The ceremony had been big and quiet and his father had read a bible passage about the soul and the path of righteousness and his mother had told him to stop fidgeting, but he couldn’t stop. He was crying too hard.
25. A heavy wool jacket.
26. Sixty dollars from his mother’s purse.
27. A rolling suitcase.
28. A family photo of them all at the fair a long time ago when he was small and before his sister had gotten sick and before his father had forced his sister to read ten pages of the bible every night that she was home on leave from the hospital even though her fingers had been far too weak to grip the pages and eyes far too blurred to even read the words.
29. An empty pill case.
30. A drawing of a blue whale that he had made in the second grade.
31. A pillow.
32. A couple of fish from his sister’s aquarium.
33. A container with air holes to put them in.

#Short stories, writing, spilled ink, lists,
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