What Would You Bring?

My English teacher is really good at asking uncomfortable questions.

Which is her job, obviously. And she really is a good teacher.

But all of it tends to make you think – sometimes too much.

Her most recent: “Pick five things you value. No people.”

  • My teddy
  • My fountain pen
  • My favourite book
  • My favourite notebook
  • My pets

“Okay. Now imagine this: You’re fleeing your house in the middle of the night.” She holds up a girl’s small backpack. “You can take five things with you. They all must fit in this backpack.”

  • My teddy
  • My fountain pen
  • My favourite book
  • My favourite notebook
  • My family’s hard drive (with all my family photos, all my writing etc.)

“You’re running, trying to get to safety. At some point in your journey, you have to drop the backpack, and can only continue with one thing that you can carry in your hands.”

I chose the hard drive.

I chose to drop my beautiful fountain pen with the teal ink; I chose to drop the book that changed my life; I chose to drop the notebook containing my best writing; I chose to drop the teddy I’ve had since I was 1.

She asked us to reconsider over the weekend what we might take. I changed my mind; in an apocalypse, there probably won’t be a chance to plug in a hard drive.

The hypothetical served a purpose. It made me realise the hardship people go through for real, when they actually have to choose.

Still, the whole thing made me feel uncomfortable. Unsettled. Which I’m not a fan of.

NB: In the end, I chose tampons. Case closed.

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