Backpack

Inside the backpack, there was a turquoise pencil pouch. Mechanical pencils, multicolored pens, erasers, and correction tape poured out of the pouch whenever she spread her things out on the desk to do homework. With the pens in her pouch, she took careful notes in a spiral notebook in her precise handwriting—blue for notes, green for emphasis, black for math problems, and red for corrections. A turquoise sleeve protected her laptop. The padding of the sleeve made a comfortable pillow for the occasional power nap. Half of an Ultimate frisbee sticker covered the lid of her laptop. She had trimmed off the bottom of the sticker and given it to him. The other half now covered his computer. Below the keyboard of her laptop, she had penciled his name in tiny letters.

A stuffed banana hanging from a keychain smiled through threaded eyes at the person walking behind. Her keycard was in the outermost pocket, next to the banana. She joked that she dreamed of unlocking the dormitory door by pressing her backpack against the scanner. But most days he would help retrieve the keycard after she fumbled behind her back.

Beige pouches highlighted the blue exterior of the backpack. A pink water bottle, dented from rolling down the stairs, fit cozily in a side pouch. A black and yellow umbrella was on the opposite side. Drops of water leaked from a tear in the fabric when the two huddled close together under the umbrella in the rain. She had told him that it was actually a parasol, not a rain umbrella, and that was why the umbrella was so small and had a hole. Neither of them minded.