I am sitting at Lisbon airport waiting to board my evening flight to Barcelona for a family visit – my nephew is celebrating his fifth birthday this weekend. As I was having a green tea at the cafeteria, I noticed that my handbag has a pretty serious fresh rip in it. That simple rip caused a whole slew of thoughts regarding the good old bag that has been with me for the last eight years.
I got it soon after I moved to Brooklyn, at the turn of the millennium, in a little shop in Carroll Gardens, Refinery (254 Smith Street), one of the first boutique outposts on the main strip, where a woman makes and sells beautiful, stylish and sturdy bags. The bag has traveled with me since, to all the six continents I’ve been to. I don’t even know how many planes, buses and trains it’s been on… I stopped counting… but in the process, it became a part of me, as if we were tied with an umbilical cord. That’s not to say I didn’t try to cut the cord. I kept on buying bags – a super-cool Berlin piece made of recycled material, several handcrafted Buenos Aires bags, and many more. I’d wear them for a while but the enthusiasm would wear out and I kept on returning to my Brooklyn bag. It was my only true love, unconditional in a literal sense. However many holes it had, however flimsy it was getting, I kept on lugging it around the world as if it’s the last bag left on the planet.
Then after all these years, I took it back to the woman at Refinery who added a new zipper and fixed the inside lining. I was so happy – it felt as if I was reborn together with my revamped bag. That was about six months ago and after a lot more traveling, the bag is finally giving in again. I won’t give up on it though. As soon as I’m back in Lisbon, I’ll hand it over to my friend and neighbor to fix with his sewing machine. We’ll see if that makes it live a little longer. Strange how we get so attached to things we travel with. This bag has been the only companion on all my journeys. My little fellow gypsy… I’ll miss it when it falls apart.