It was a small blue suitcase, nothing to set it apart from so many other suitcases left in the hotel lobby. But this one did not get claimed and by the end of the day Ana placed it behind the counter alongside the leather briefcase, the two umbrellas, and the blue stroller. She was having one of her bad days: too many guest complaints, too many angry phone calls and on top of it all she had a bad headache. It started as a twitch in her eye and progressed to a pounding pain stretching over the left side of her head. She couldn’t remember the last time her head hurt this way. Maybe it was the lack of sleep from last night or the drinks at the bar, in celebration of her engagement. She had tried to get out of it but Carol insisted, and she had just arrived in the city and would not take no for an answer. Carol was a difficult person but their friendship dated back to boarding school when she first arrived at this country and Carol had welcomed her into the group of cool girls. Oh well, she would figure out what to do with the suitcase later. It was getting close to dinnertime and she had to have that talk with the new girl about certain procedures at the National Hotel. However, by 8 that evening, and with nobody claiming the bag, Ana tried a different tack. She dragged the suitcase into her office, a small space at the end of the hall, to inspect it more carefully. Unfortunately, she tripped while carrying the suitcase, and it popped open, spilling its contents onto her desk.
Later, she asked herself why she hadn’t just stuffed everything back in, but she hadn’t. Maybe she could find a phone number to call or an address, some useful clue as to its owner. There were some clothes neatly folded, a baseball cap, two pairs of shoes, a map of New Hampshire, a flashlight, a cloth toiletry bag, some children’s clothes, and two stuffed animals. The clothes were all brand new, as were the large blue bunny and the small unicorn. The blue denim shirt and the cotton top still had the tags attached. The jeans and the black knit pants were rolled up and upon spilling, revealed a large amount of cash. In the side zippered compartments were a box of hair dye: dark ash blonde, and more cash.
–Elsa Calderon, August 17, 2020