Noun. The favorable or appropriate occasion to do something; the right moment.
You carry your own baggage downstairs to the front door. Two black suitcases with crimson ribbons tied to each handle, an attempt to differentiate from others that look identical in overhead bins and on claim carousels. One that meets carry-on regulation size. The other, too large not to be checked. A matching set rarely used simultaneously, but you are finally headed on a journey that requires both.
You filled each with what seemed necessary. Later, after driving for nearly twelve hours, when you have surrendered to the first "vacancy" motel in view, you will unpack and discover a scavenger hunt bounty of things that should have been discarded or destroyed long ago. A three quarters-empty tube of whitening toothpaste. Two ties blemished with coffee stains, yet no collared shirts. Six pairs of underwear, each with a small tear in the seat. Practical but dated black loafers with scuffed heels. Disintegrating navy blue Nike Cortezes. Grey, faded Missouri State sweatshirt that fits a bit too snug. And not one, but two pairs of her jeans that you mistook as your own.
Today, she is also wearing jeans, and what is likely one of your white undershirts, sitting on the far end of the couch, legs tucked and back turned. You study her outline, searching for the familiar, but the only visible detail is a spine that seems to be out of alignment.
You listen for sounds - a scream, a shout, a sob. Any word. A sigh. A single breath. Instead, just the faint but bouncy chimes from an ice cream truck roaming the neighborhood, looking for any takers. Bells so distant, you wonder if your mind is deceiving you, and simply manifesting something you want to believe is true. It's the end of September, far too late in the season for such whimsy, indulgent nostalgia. But your mind drifts to bomb pops, chocolate-dipped vanilla soft serve cones, toasted almond bars, and you realize how truly hungry you are. How starving you have been.
You reach for the door, then stop to check a watch on your wrist that does not exist.
Because you have always known what time it is.