the short story project


Jean Browne

The perfect purse

The perfect purse, she is elusive. She has an outside pocket so the key card is easily accessible each morning. She stands up even after she is thrown on the floor, the desk, the counter, the table. She handles it well when she is hung on the hook, the spindle, the back of the chair, the arm, the elbow, the shoulder, the man.

She is a good color. Your favorite color. A color that won’t show the coffee stain, subway grime, baseball dirt, the floor of the car goo, the movie theater sticky.  A color that looks good with all your outfits. A color that does not need cleaning, a color that cheers you up and makes you look slender. She is black.

She can hold it all and not break apart. She holds the permission slips, medical forms, chapstick, sunblock, 3 shades of lipstick, lollipops, tissues (old and new), the wallet, the granola bar, an apple, the phone, the chargers, sunglasses, water, receipts, the invitation, the card, the necessary and some change.

She knows where your keys are.

She is soft and it does not hurt to carry her. She knows how to sit quietly on the side. She does not get in the way of the winter coat, the baby, the holding of hands, the lunch tray, the grocery cart, the Other Bag.

She opens easily to reveal all her organized wonders: yes, she is ringing, yes, here is the phone, yes, you can meet for lunch, yes, here is the lipstick and compact, go freshen up. No, you can’t put your leftovers in her, your perfect purse does have her limits.

She is fashionable, she is put-together, she is good on a plane, on vacation, at work, at soccer practice, in the car and really, really good at paying for pizza.

She does not spill, not even your secrets, which is good because she goes everywhere with you. She knows you are angry, frustrated, sad, small and overwhelmed. She is forgiving when you put too much in her and on her. She gets heavy when it’s is too much. She can make you laugh, like when she coughed up that sock.

She is always, always, always right there by your side, which is why you need the perfect purse, which is the purse you have right now.








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