Mamá

Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), The Bath Oil on canv...
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You lit candles in makeshift altars and prayed with the faith of a child while I entertained myself by melting striped plastic straws in the flickering flames.

You read Tagore and I wove his stories into the magical religion forced upon me at school.  The nuns did not appreciate this.

We ate sunflower seeds at the movies, sung funny tunes on our way to the post office and played card games while talking of ghosts and spirits and death.

I loved the way sunlight illuminated our little corner of the world, the smell of geraniums and Windex and Spring.  And you.

But all good things come to an end.  New adventures and misfortunes were waiting for us under the tropical sun.

And so, we packed our bags and left a life loved for the promise of comfort and fortune.  A new life that never was to be.

We learned new smells and sounds and colors, grew accustomed to the Panavision quality of the light around us.

Homesickness replaced by nostalgia.  And melancholia.  And despair.

We trudged along until words once foreign became normal and joy loomed in the background.

Soon we learned that fruits once sweeter than sugar, often rot and ferment, their noxious stench permeating everything

I didn’t like the new you, you didn’t like the new me.  We didn’t like this new life that looked so easy from afar

Spring and Windex and geraniums and even you smelled different.  Were different, as was I.

No more candles. No more altars.  No more playing cards or walking aimlessly, enjoying the city.

Under the glare of this never-ending sunshine only sadness and disappointment in the knowledge that we could never return

Our footsteps quickly disappearing behind us, pushing us forward.

Away from the simple happiness we once knew.

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