Hard shell. Soft shell. Molded plastic. Plastic-coated cardboard.
Their telltale shape declares what magic they contain. The gentle feminine curves revealing the carrier to be musically inclined.
I’ve seen them in cars, restaurants, airplanes. In all varieties of travel. I have seen them being held by the handle, cross shoulder by the strap, worn as a backpack.
As a child I remember my mom’s clearly. The small hinges intriguing to my small fingers, I would unclasp the buckles, one at a time. Sometimes I would forget the one on the bottom curve. Why won’t you open? Then my little mind would grasp my omission and I would unbuckle the last causing the case to open.
What was inside?
First, a big, wooden curved instrument. Pleasing prospect, the case matches its occupant. Delicate strings adorning its face. Gut or metal both able to resonate the notes needed. Plink! goes the string as I pinch one. I strum across the face, a nice tone emits.
Removing the instrument reveals a small hidden door. I lift it. Inside lurks extra strings. Aw, more treasure, some picks. Little plastic novelties. I choose one based on size and color. I run it across the strings, another soft strum occurs.
So much promise contained within a guitar case.