Julian packed his suitcase, checking each item off in his brain.

One shirt, folded. One pair of socks, rolled together. One pair of pants, rolled up (for space). One pair of underwear. Are they really a pair? It’s only one underwear, but that sounds strange. But it’s not two. It has two holes for legs. But a third for hips. A trifecta of underwear? Semantics aside: one pair of underwear.

He looked at the four…five? two socks, after all…pieces of clothing, neatly arranged. He turned to his dresser and began again. One shirt, folded. One pair of socks, rolled. Two pairs of pants were enough for a weeklong trip, and he would be wearing one of those on the plane. One underwear, now paired.

Julian repeated the process five more times, and a sixth for preparedness’ sake. he then went to the bathroom and packed his toiletries kit. One toothbrush. One tube of toothpaste. One travel pack of floss. One razor. One travel can of shaving cream, though he knew it was partly used and probably wouldn’t last the whole trip; he could improvise if it ran out. One stick of deodorant. He zipped the case, returned to the suitcase, and nestled the toiletries bag into the hole he had left among the clothes.

Looking down at the neat, tidy arrangement, Julian smiled and nodded. There was space for any knickknacks he picked up, and gifts for family and friends. And it was all clean and orderly.

He lifted the top of the suitcase over everything and zipped it shut. He lifted the bag and carried it to the door. Inside, the clothes were already a jumble.


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