Next Year, After I Graduate
- I don’t care if I have a job or not.
- I’m getting a puppy.
- I’m taking my brothers to school and picking them up as much as time will allow.
- I’m taking better care of myself.
- I’m going to be happy. I deserve this much.
girl you’re my inspiration
And what bothers me is that even when we’re talking about how “curvy women” are beautiful, we still post glamour shots of them and style them in conventionally feminine ways. I don’t really think it’s the right way to go about proving the point.
I’ve been here for about 2 weeks now and I am still having the hardest time coming to terms with just being here. I usually cry my eyes out on the plane, land, and get right into it. But this time around I’ve been a sloppy absent-minded mess. More than usual, I mean. Texts from my mom, Jesus, summer pictures, send me into a fit of tears. I’ve been sad, homesick, and grieving my dad’s absence more than usual lately.
What on earth is wrong with me?
After 14 hours of travel, I’m back home in hot Santa Ana with its familiar streets and cookie cutter houses and apartment complexes. Though I only spent a week in Lagos, I miss it like I never imagined I would. It was strange spending time in the house where my mom grew up without my grandma’s small footsteps wandering busily around the house or waking up to her cafe con leche. The last time I was there her viewing and funeral felt like an emotional whirlwind, but at least I had an opportunity to come home to my mom and dad’s support despite the endless tears and heavy heart I returned with. This time, my little brother and I stayed in the same house, now devoid of the warmth and life it previously had, with my grandpa and his new partner (girlfriend sounds too strange…). Everything changed— my grandma was truly the heart of my mother’s family. It has fallen apart, and nobody is as close as they used to be. I walked away with such a such a soft spot for my grandpa’s companion who is adjusting to his illness, stubbornness, and mood swings despite my deepest conviction that it would be impossible to care for the woman my mother’s age who would replace myCane.
The most difficult part of the trip was seeing my dad’s family. I couldn’t contain the tears when I saw my grandma and grandpa or aunts and uncles who bore such striking resemblances to him. It’s been about a year and a half, but I hadn’t seen them since before my dad passed away and it was bittersweet to relive the heartache of his passing. I had an opportunity to talk through my pain and see his grave site with my little brother. His body was fortunately buried in his hometown instead of the cold country that never fully accepted him. It was so wonderful to hear about his youth— to hear that Lagos and the people who had known him welcomed him back with love and kindness, and that the support at his viewing, mass, and burial were abundant. I had a turbulent relationship with my dad, but I miss him profoundly and would give anything to hold him one more time. I hadn’t seen him for two months when he passed away because I chose to study in the east coast knowing fully well that in case of an emergency I would be far from home… but how could I have known that the time I hugged him goodbye would truly be the last time? It was a healing experience to talk to the people who raised him and those who grew up with him. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who bursts into tears when I listen to our music. Some of his brothers and sisters hadn’t seen him in 20 years, but would smile when I told them that Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, Miguel Bose, Roberto Carlos, and Rocio Durcal were the soundtrack of his life until the very end. Everybody kept bringing up “Playa Azul” (Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou”) which I remember playing and replaying with him… It’s one of those songs that’s sad to begin with, but was colored with a distinct shade of grief for me when I lost him. It had been approximately 21 years since he had seen Lagos at the time of his passing, and I know that he comforted his mother with this song when he talked to her on the phone—
“Saving nickels, saving dimes, work until the sun don’t shine
Looking forward to happier times on Blue Bayou
I’m going back some day come what may to Blue Bayou
Where you sleep all day and the catfish play on Blue Bayou
All those fishing boats with their sails afloat
If I could only see that familiar sunrise through sleepy eyes
How happy I’d be…”
It breaks my heart that it wasn’t until he passed away that he returned to Lagos de Moreno, but it also gives me a sense of comfort and peace of mind that we had an opportunity to lay his body to rest where he belonged. I never want to forget where my own roots lie; I love to walk the uneven rocky streets and marvel at the amazing colonial architecture that my mom and dad were surrounded by and lived in until they permanently altered the courses of their lives and decided to move to California. I feel so at home there and always so welcome. I miss it deeply and I sincerely this goodbye will only be a brief one.
Don’t wanna be a pretentious asshole but…
This was a ROUGH semester academically and I am so pleased with the outcome! I wrote 44 pages in 8 days with obnoxious chronic nosebleeds, a gross cold, an entire year’s worth of stuff to cram into boxes and luggage, and MOST IMPORTANTLY lost nothing at Boston Logan.
Successful year. Onto the next!