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She looked down at her TUMI suitcase before her eyes shifted to the clothes she had carefully folded on her bed. And then back down to her suitcase.
Her right palm covered her forehead with her messy bun flopping to the side. She looked down at Sperry who was chewing a bone, only to rhetorically ask, “How’s mama going to fit all of this in her bag, Spairs?” Sperry looked up briefly before going back to the chewing.
“Hey Siri,” she asked in a different tone, “What’s the weather going to be like in Paris next week?”
After a brief beep, Siri responded, “The forecast in Paris, France is calling for a mix of cloudy skies, rain, and partly cloudy skies between Monday and Next Saturday.”
“Daytime temperatures will start around 48 degrees,” Siri continued, “and will head down to 42, with overnight lows between 35 and 42 degrees.”
She audibly groaned.
42 degrees wasn’t exactly the picture-perfect scene she had portrayed in her head. She wasn’t sure how much it even snowed in Paris, but the Miracle on 34th Street-esque scenario she had drummed up for the trip was looking more and more like a dreary and brown fall day. “I’ve been getting manicures every freaking Friday for the last two months?” she wondered. “For this?”
But her biggest problem wasn’t the weather that she couldn’t control. It was actually what she could control – what she packed. When she started laying out every outfit she wanted to wear in Paris after having lunch with Caroline, she did it without regard to the size of her actual suitcase. A peacoat here, a chunky sweater there, it didn’t matter how much room she had. What she knew was that she was going to look incredible.
Unfortunately, as the clothes began to pile up, she started realizing that traveling internationally for a week with less than 50 pounds worth of clothes was going to be a tougher hill to climb than she ever anticipated. Todd had already forbid her from the idea of bringing two suitcases, so her backup plan was to beg him to stuff things into his suitcase should she be over the limit.
Knowing he probably wouldn’t respond for a while, she picked up her phone and texted, “Todddd, I don’t know how I’m going to fit all of this!” Sure enough, a read receipt didn’t show up from him for at least a half hour.
Her move, she decided, was to go through everything she’d piled onto her bed and pick out the absolute-must statement pieces that would be deemed *acceptable* to be photographed in. The first was a camel-colored cashmere turtleneck sweater that her mother had given her the Christmas before. It was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect Paris sweater (but, more importantly, the perfect engagement sweater). She set it on a chair in the corner of the room before returning back to the bed.
Walking around the bed as if it was a display at Nordstrom, she saw a blazer that she hadn’t worn since Todd’s Christmas party last year. “Ughhhh,” she moaned, “perrrrfection.” Unsure if it would fit, she slid it on both arms and straightened out her shirt underneath it while posing in the mirror with that look-everyone-has-while-they’re-looking-in-the-mirror look. “Yep, still fits.” She draped it over the same chair where her sweater sat before returning to the bed.
It was in a stack of more sweaters that she found something she’d forgotten she had even purchased – a Tory Burch Fair Isle merino sweater. “It’s a little more The Holiday England countryside,” she thought to herself, “But tbh, this’ll do.” She threw it on the pile.
As the pile grew and grew, she couldn’t help but imagine how perfectly Carrie Bradshaw she was going to look while sitting at cafés drinking cortados, holding hands in front of The Eiffel Tower, and drinking Burgundy while looking through a window perfectly-adorned with raindrops that sparkled with the city streetlights. The last two-and-a-half years of her life had seemingly all boiled down to this one week, a week that she’d remember forever.
But it wasn’t just her who had gotten their hopes up for the week, either. It was the talk of Thanksgiving – a Thanksgiving she intentionally spent at home away from Todd for fear of him proposing too early, before Paris. Her mom had given her earrings to wear throughout her stay in Paris, her father had bestowed upon her the necklace he’d purchased for her mother on their first anniversary, and her high school girlfriends all snickered when she divulged their December plans while they caught up at Starbucks. There wasn’t pressure for Todd to propose at this point. No, there was an expectation.
She had gone from the productivity of packing to daydreaming while stroking Sperry’s head. It wasn’t until her phone buzzed that she was taken out of her lackadaisical daze and snapped back into reality. A text message from Todd that simply read, “Well, we’ve still got a few days to narrow everything down.”
She rolled her eyes. Silly Todd, she thought. In the back of her mind, she still assumed Todd would let her bring two suitcases. The $125 international additional baggage fee was a small price to pay to look good on the vacation of a lifetime, she figured.
She left his message hanging with no response and flicked her messages over to Katie. She had hardly spoken with Katie about it over the last few months and wanted to drive home that her engagement was going to be more picturesque than her engagement was.
“Katie!” her first message said. “Question.” she followed up.
She didn’t have to wait long for Katie’s response of, “What’s up, girl?”
“Do you still have my Himalayan khullu scarf that I let you borrow?” she asked. “I would love to get it back from you before I go to Paris!!”
Everyone in the world could feel Katie’s eyes rolling at the text message besides her, of course. Katie did, in fact, have it but was leaving town for the weekend and wouldn’t be able to drop it off.
“I meannnnn,” she followed up, “We could always go splitsies on a bottle of cab at Cork happy hour tonight and I could get it from you there?”
And with no actual excuse to get out of it, Katie responded, “6 o’clock?”