Surely suitcases are not merely about departures or memories? For they are also about arrivals! Suitcases are about landing.. Greeting. Unpacking. They bring with them the newness of visitation.
To remember my father at the age of nineteen, to recall him leaving home, is also to think in the same breath of the other nineteen year old, my son, his grandson. Even as it imagines the past, my mind also reaches out to the future. Whoever said that time is linear must have got it wrong. If time does move forward, as they claim, then it surely does so in spirals. For I see Jamie, my son, now unwittingly seek out his grandfathers footsteps as he goes off to university. The same university, even the same college. Both aged nineteen. Nearly seventy years apart. My son is getting set to go where his grandfather has already been. Memory leaps forward now, transposing itself on what is yet to come. I always knew that memories can fill the present, but I realize now that they can also map the future. The suitcase confounds the linearity of time. There is no break with the past. The past is right here, in the midst of the present. It defines the present and is inextricable from it. Like grandfather, like grandson. Like my son and my father or like J.D.P., grandfather and grandson
This suitcase that is here, in visitation, unfolds to me the wondrous loops of memory and time.
[Text by Parvati Nair, © 2008]