“That’s mine!” I shouted, “take your grubby hands off it!”
The boy looked at me with sad eyes. “I’m sure it’s mine mister” he said, “my mother died young, my father was bitter, I had no friends in school, girls never liked me…” He pulled the drawstrings tight. “Yea” he repeated, “it’s mine alright.”
I felt badly for him. I knew exactly how he felt, and then some, which was the issue; the “and then some”.
“No wait” I said as gently as I could as I zipped open the bag’s outer compartment, “here, in the pouch; the sight of a naked nun.”
He jumped back a bit. “Holy shit!” he said; “I aint seen nothing like that! You’re right! That can’t be my bag! It’s really yours? What else is in there?”
I grabbed the duffel off the conveyor and swung it onto my back, its weight nearly dropping myself to my knees. “Oh nothin’ kid,” I lied, skipping the asylum and the arrest, the failed marriages and being sterile among other things packed inside; “mine’s pretty much the same as yours, ‘cept for the nun, and that was an accident. I can help you with yours if you want. It wouldn’t be the first time I carried someone else’s along with my own.”
“Nah” he said, “I may as well get used to it, I’ve got a long way to go, but thanks for the offer old man.”
I found a bench and heaved to while I watched the kid grab the correct sack and follow the yellow line marked “Next Foster Parents”. I had some time before the train to “Next Life” arrived. I thought it’d be nice to relax a bit, just an old man and his baggage, pondering the possibilities.