Standing, hunched, in his bedroom, he would plan to pack the bare essentials—one pair each of underwear and socks, one t‑shirt for each day, one pair of jeans, a collared shirt—but would end up frustrated, confused.
Which underwear, for example, looked best on him? Which fit in such a way, or were made from such materials, that caused his genitals to sweat the least? And which, of these, might she be so familiar with that, even if they looked good on him, would look less good to her? She would likely only see him in his boxers briefly—before and after showers, maybe while taking them off.
He would distractedly abandon the half-finished “underwear pile” on the floor beside his bed, and regard the shoe box labeled “socks” which contained socks. One “exercise pair.” Two pairs of white ankle ones to wear with shorts. Would he pack shorts? It was ten degrees warmer there.
His trip would be five days including travel, and he, like an utter dement, would stand over the incomplete piles of clothing, then pace around his bedroom, sitting, stressed, on the edge of his bed, reciting the days he’d be gone—Wednesday, Thursday—quasi-vocally, in bleak, absently spurted syllables, staring blankly at a sock.
Then usually something would distract him—his roommate, the internet, oftentimes a text or phone call from her—for long enough, and until late enough, that he would decide to put off packing until morning, when he’d be so rushed, he wouldn’t have time to think about what he was, or wasn’t, packing.
Jordan Castro is the author of two poetry books, and is the managing editor of New York Tyrant.