The arrivals hall started to empty. Next to me there were only a few more travellers staring at the circling baggage carousel as they waited for their luggage. Somehow I had an odd feeling that my suitcase was lost and I would never again wear the clothes I had packed in it, including my treasured colored tie. At that moment I was sorry I had not put it inside my hand luggage.
Then two black suitcases, identical in shape and size, were disgorged from the top of the chute and fell down onto the still circling carousel. They were the last ones to arrive. I recognized my suitcase which lay last on the cold metal carousel.
To my astonishment, the other lonely traveler, who kept gazing at me, and who was the only one who did not have any hand luggage, grabbed my suitcase and started to walk fast towards the exit. I did not have any choice but to collect his suitcase, which was the only one left on the carousel and ran after him. He was faster than me. However, he stopped momentarily outside the airport. It seemed as though he was waiting for me. My suitcase was locked, and there was no use taking it without the key in my trouser pocket.
I looked closely at him. His stature was similar to mine; hence he would not have any problem to wear my clothing. His eyes were sad, his face looked cloudy. For a moment I thought he realized he had taken my suitcase instead of his, and that was why he was waiting for me, in order to exchange the suitcases. He looked straight into my eyes, but then started to walk away, carrying my suitcase. I still had his. I felt I had to follow and speak to him.
- Excuse me, please, why have you taken my suitcase instead of yours?
- Both suitcases are identical, so does it really matter who takes what?
- The suitcases are identical in their shape and size but they may contain different items.
- I see that you have not yet understood. I am interested in your contents. Take mine and leave yours with me.
- You won't be able to use my contents, as they are mine. Furthermore, my suitcase is locked and only I have the key.
- Just give me the key. That's why I was waiting for you. My suitcase is unlocked and is already in your hands.
- Tell me, please, what are you looking for? After all, my suitcase contains only covers which are covered by the suitcase. The jacket is to cover the shirts, the shirts and the trousers are to cover the underwear, the shoes are to cover the socks, and all of them are to cover my body, while the ties are only external decorations. I keep my real personal contents inside me, and those tangible materials related to my contents are in my hand luggage from which I never depart. I notice that you have no hand luggage…
- I am looking for contents. Covers have no meaning for me. Covers are not contents. I don't need your suitcase if it does not contain your contents…
and then he threw my suitcase into the deep river we had approached while walking and talking.
I watched my suitcase sinking into the water. All that remained of it was the useless key in my pocket.
Looking back in his direction I realized he had disappeared among the expressionless faces around.
I opened his suitcase, still in my hand – it was empty…
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