We’re about to board. The four of us are flying to America. My mother’s side of the family waves, cries, and wails behind a gate. Don’t forget to write. Don’t forget to call. My father’s side isn’t there. He wears a smile, a leather bomber jacket and a tweed hat, like the ones worn by cab drivers. He’s light on his feet and quick to move like he’s stealing away, chasing some dream. Hurry, he tells us.

We follow.

My mother’s eyes are swollen. My sister sniffs into a handkerchief. I make my sad face, but prance alongside my father because I’m wearing a new outfit. A polyester green pant suit with legs wide enough to be dresses, a purple trench coat, and shiny red mary janes on my feet. You’re so lucky, the neighborhood kids said. Don’t forget about us.

I am almost four.

On the plane, scrambled eggs are served. My sister can’t finish her food. I can. I eat the rest of hers, too. I’m not hungry, the food isn’t good, but my seat is next to an American. She smiles at me. She winks at me. She smells clean. I want to show her how good I am. So, I eat.

Then, I throw up.

The eggs cascade out of my mouth onto her coat. The stewardess removes it to clean. Not a drop on my new clothes, but I’m tired and don’t care about the American anymore, so I close my eyes and listen to the drone and fall into a dreamless sleep.

My passport picture taken in the winter of 1973.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

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