NEW 📗Story: The Greek

Tzipora’s ‘Every Day Carry’

Monday, Jul 20, 2020
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This article was featured in Issue #3 of the Atlantic Bulletin

Like a lot of girls of poverty, Tzipora was very possessive of her things. No food was ever left on her plate. There was a deep anxiety that whatever wasn’t claimed would be lost.

She was also naturally obsessive and material-oriented, keenly aware of the importance of objects measured by metrics in her own silly head. You can discover a lot about a person from their trinkets and toys — let’s discover a bit about Tzipora.

  • Her handbag is manufactured by Spaa S.p.A., a design firm in the capital. They’re a luxury item in the international market but readily available in Vekllei, since few other handbag makers operate on the scale of Spaa. Ayn picked it out shortly after Tzipora’s arrival for its colour, after Tzipora told her she did not own any red things.
  • Tzipora has a sweet tooth. Especially for soda, which she calls “fizzy drink”. On her person at any time, she carries a flavoured beverage from one of several brands capable of meeting her discerning tastes. She supplements them with a water bottle, since not even fizzy drink refreshes as well as water after phys-ed or a hot day. She also stocks her arsenal of snacks with good fruit picked off trees that overhang footpaths, as well as devastating salvos of Vekllei’s finest confectionary, including Fruit Tingles and chocolate pearls. Other girls in her class bemoan her childish metabolism as she drinks soda for lunch while they watch the scales.
  • The nostalgic whimsy of the sweets is tempered by two or three loose cigarettes that float around in her purse at any given time. She’s not a regular smoker, but she’s prone to attacks related to stress, and nothing helps as much as a drag. She carries matches, for not much reason other than that’s what Baron uses, and Tzipora is notoriously sentimental.
  • Tzipora has a rock collection that sits on her bedroom sill, and her recent additions sit at the bottom of her purse. She’s not a rock elitist; quartz from footpaths catches her attention as easily as igneous treasures like palagonite. Her favourite is obsidian.
  • She carries a small collection of useful books, including a contemporary paperback and a notebook. The paperback is for recess and lunch; the notebook is for language notes and phone numbers. Her Vekllei I.D. papers, which are both a passport and a reference booklet of key information and services, are carried on her at all times. It’s not really necessary in day-to-day life — but who knows when it might be, and Tzipora won’t be the one patting her pockets at the airport gate.
  • Finally, there are a few accessories sitting in the bag. Tzipora made a ring for Cobian in metalworking class, but Cobian is on a school trip to France at the moment and Tzipora is waiting for her return. She has a wristwatch given to her by Baron, which she wears sometimes depending on the occasion. Other items are more precautionary — a scarf for the wind, a handkerchief for sneezing, and a spare pair of socks for when she visits Cobian’s house or if she needs to double up in cold weather. As summer turns to autumn, she also carries gloves and a beanie.

With everything in its place, her handbag is her anchor in the world outside her small second-floor apartment. The decommodification of society has only intensified the social value of objects, and they remain as important as ever in the life of the ordinary Vekllei person.