I open my racquet bag that I once used a lot. In the side compartment I stumble upon two old frames. One has a broken string, the other one is slightly cracked at the top. I haven’t touched this bag in a while. In what seems to be a previous life she endured smelly kit, long flights and filthy conveyor belts. She visited many places and withstood versatile conditions.
Over the years she got to know me pretty well. She saw me through highs and lows and coped with the heaviness of shirts drenched in sweat or tears of defeat. Although her owner mostly carried her, she oftentimes seemed to carry him.
In better days her travel companions were five newly strung racquets wrapped with grips equal in thickness and colour. Other less enjoyable passengers joined the club too. Loudly screaming attention seeking Asics Gel Blade 4’s but also toiletries that barely spoke a word. Traveling with such a diversity of characters was tough. However, she had only one goal, to carry her boss to retirement. To see it through to the end.
The end finally came a year ago. After years of performing at her best she could finally chill out. Over the years her limbs had been stretched to the limit. She needed a less taxing lifestyle if she ever wanted to carry some weight again. Barely touched she lay in a room for a year.
First she slept and recovered. It almost felt strange nog being dragged from continent to continent. But soon she started feeling restless. Once in a while the door opened and her master would take her to the local squash club. There she would blow all her energy and tell everyone how many other bags she’d seen all over the world, only to be locked up again in that little room. Sometimes for weeks.
One day, after she couldn’t take it any longer, she “opened up” to a friendly brown leather suitcase next to her. Life in a box was not for her, she claimed. “What do you mean, life in a box not for you?”, the suitcase exclaimed. “I live my whole life in a box. I sleep in a box, work in a box, and hell, I even drive to work in a box! After all those years I can even say that I’ve become a box…”, the suitcase said looking at himself.
The racquet bag looked at the case, threw her handles backwards and said: “I will rather be stretched out, worn down, and taken for a ride than become a box”.