Gone Back ‘Home’




It was a humid day and with the oven on, it was sweltering. A fly rushed through my kitchen window seeking food. My phone vibrated. “I boarded. Love you.” Sometimes you know when something will hurt, other times pain surprises you, no matter how much you prepared for it. The pain came like waves, washing over the pandemonium on York Avenue.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

It was clear skies in New York City. A beautiful day to fly. The kind of day that would have made me less anxious and transcended me to the beach. It reminded me of the way the sun browns my skin and paints me in freckles. The way my hair gets a little golden at the ends. But the pain in my chest reminds me of the present. My mom booked a one-way flight back to Florida. I realize I say that with such distance. Florida is where I grew up. Where I learned to swim, made life long friendships, experienced my first love, and where my soul was crushed over and over again. Shouldn’t I refer to it as home? Shouldn’t I had said, “My mom booked a one way flight back home? It doesn’t feel right to me, if it didn’t come naturally. However, it is home to her.  And that’s where she will live from now on. She’ll be there and I’ll be here. Oh Mami, how I miss you already.

I added tomatoes to the pot at the attempt at emulating her sofrito. I wept silent tears and drifted towards the kitchen window. The fly frantically circled around me.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Life changes so quickly. And when it does, it’s like time is suddenly suspended and you’re trying to understand how to move forward when the past (the memories made) keep holding you. Isn’t that life? In some way, whether through life-altering risk or simply switching out our toothpaste, we make steps in a forward direction. And every time we move forward, we leave where we were. Every day, we let go. Every day, we die little deaths. At least, that’s how it feels like lately for me.

A part of me always wants to go home. Home in some way will always be my mom, wherever she is. Whether that be Brooklyn, Queens, or Florida. To return to what was known, to get a sense of clarity, and however much she can drive me crazy, (whose mother doesn’t?) she is all of that for me. And yet, another part of me wants to be gone, wants to be here, precisely where I am. Making the unsuccessful sofrito, listening to my music, and knowing that in an hour I will have to go and pick up Ishaan from summer camp.

Ishaan told his friends, “My grandma gives me a surprise every time she sees me.” I was sitting on the sofa, a fly whizzed by again, as I gazed out the window, dusk was falling on the tops of buildings, and my eyes welled up with tears.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

She’s my safety net and she left. I’m sure it’s something rooted in loneliness and a bunch of uncertainties jumbled up in the air, but I miss my mom.



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