. . . Johnny served me a to-go latté without a lid. He just put a straw in it and handed it over the counter. I thought I saw some lids behind him, but I pretended not to notice. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Then I was sitting on muddy weeds near a see-saw in a playground when a tan-and-black mutt came growling at me.
I shook my suitcase at him, to spook him, and he stumbled past me like he was following an invisible bumblebee. Praying my fragile collection wasn’t in pieces, I set the sky-blue suitcase on its side and popped the latches. What was I thinking shaking it like that? Then the suitcase was open, and I was examining the vintage bottles inside one by one. One mermaid-shaped bottle, totally scratch-free. One Ken-doll-shaped bottle, totally scratch-free. One teddy-bear-shaped bottle, totally scratch-free. One crayon-shaped bottle, half-filled with pink water, and with a big chip in the cap-part where pink water pours in and out. Nothing but a worthless knick-knack now. Or was it? “Aren’t all bottles, in a way, even the chipped ones, sacred vessels?” I wondered.