The suitcase will not shut, not even with Clare’s full weight on it.
“You’ll have to leave something behind,” says Amy from her seat by the window.
Clare slips from the bed. Hands on hips, she frowns and fists her toes in the carpet. “He said to bring everything.”
“If he wanted you to bring everything, he’d have given you a bigger case.”
With a sigh, Clare flips back the lid and scratches her head. “I suppose.”
Amy stands and strolls over to the bed. “Just start again.” She upends the case. Its contents mushroom across the duvet. “Make two piles: stuff you don’t want to take, and stuff you do.”
“All right,” says Clare. She begins to scrabble through her belongings. Her jeans, her tees, her silver-sequinned pumps. Her wash-bag, her hairbrush, the butterfly hair clip her mum gave her for her birthday. “Stuff I do.”
“What about these?” asks Amy, holding up a little black dress and a bunch of lacy undies. “Didn’t he buy them for you?”
“Yeah, but they’re not really me.” Clare takes them from Amy and starts a stuff-I-don’t pile.
Shaking her head, Clare drops the tote bag on top of the little black dress. “That’s all that the makeup he bought me. Makes my face sweat.”
Amy continues to peel items from the bed. Clare’s nightshirt, the poncho she purchased with her first ever pay-packet, her collection of bangles and beads.
“Stuff I do,” says Clare again.
The black stilettos, the 10 denier holdups, the red-leather box with Goldsmiths branded across its lid.
“Stuff I don’t.”
Outside, a car door thunks.
“Quick,” says Amy, grabbing an armful of clothes. “He’s here. Pack! You know he hates to be kept waiting.”
Finally, Clare manages to shut the suitcase, and, after the briefest of hugs, she waves goodbye, runs to the car and leaves Amy standing there with the stuff-I-do pile still in her arms.