On the First Day of Pride
My favorite bag that I travel everywhere with is a small black backpack with rainbows all over it. It’s been through a lot, has traveled via train, airplane, road trips, from one house to another since 2018. It’s held books — more books than it probably should, really, notebook books, small changes of clothes, pens, meds, Dr Pepper cans, and whatever else I can manage to squeeze in it.
But one of the straps started coming loose last year. The zipper cover is getting even more frayed and I don’t how much longer it will hold the things I need it too. So for now, it’s sitting empty in my camper, just hanging out, reminding me of my grandma.
She was the one who bought it for me. Our conversation went something like this:
“Oh Ashley, look. You like rainbows don’t you?”
“Yeah I do.”
“Okay, let’s buy it. I like it for you.”
A year later, one month before she died (June 14, 2019) she told me, “I just want you to be happy, granddaughter. Whether it’s with a man or a woman or both. I just want you to be happy.”
So now, when I look at this bag, I realize it was my grandma’s way of loving me, of letting me live out loud, even subtly, in a small town in Texas.
Today, I’m going to stare at my backpack for a while and just let myself cry some more.