Mother’s favorite bag was a 1970’s whiskey brown Coach Crescent bag from New York which she used exclusively for their special walks in the woods.
She would cautiously line the raw leather interior with plastic wrap before each walk, preparing it for the most important job of transporting the forest floor trinkets they would find on their walks, usually things like a pine cone with an interesting growth, or a particularly sparkly sedimentary rock.
But yesterday’s walk was the most magical ever because Mother found something so exceptional she whisked it into the bag with a flash and a proclamation that it was worthy for nothing less a surprise.
The only question on the girl’s mind at 5:30 a.m. that morning was what was in that bag. But thinking about didn’t help matters at all, since she knew the only way she had any hope of knowing was by forgetting about it entirely.
Mother only presented a surprise when the surprise was practically forgotten. Not all the way forgotten, mind you, but certainly almost all the way. The timing of a surprise was very important to Mother, so the girl knew it was to her benefit to stop thinking of it as soon as possible.