Vida Nueva

When you went away,

I dreamt of the sun drenched mornings we spent together,

and I thought of the smell of the sea in your wet hair and the glint of sand on your skin as I watched you drive us home,

the weight of the sun in my drowsy eyes and the tang of salt on my lips

as an orange sky followed us into the dusk.

When you went away,        

I analyzed every image of you in my head, the good and the ugly,      

the ones of you with your brazen eyes

piercing my skin over and over,

the ones with your lips pulled back over your teeth and your face twisted in mock disgust,

the ones where your face is slack

and the curve of your eyes shut and the smudge of your lashes against your cheek is a prayer spelled out from Sandman himself.

When you went away,

I agonized over every inflection of your voice over the phone,

remembering the taste of each syllable

as they floated from your lips.

A homily to my healing body.     

The drowsy 'tsss' escaping the night I fell asleep on your shoulder under fluorescent light,                       

you giggling in the picture as I dribbled on you

trying not to wake me.

The nectar sweet 'mhm' cascading down the morning that we went to the art store and I told you that the greatest masterpiece in the 10 mile radius was you.

The humid 'snif' airing out

the night you dropped me home before you went away,

when I watched you become smaller and smaller in the rear windshield

of my brother’s car,

until you disappeared from my eyes.

I spent my affair with another continent tossing the memory

of that night

when we laid on your porch swing in your backyard

after everyone had gone home and it was just you and me

and the lament of the crickets against the wash of a hole punched sky

They were crying because I was crying

because ultimately I knew it was going to be over as soon as my suitcases were

crammed in the backseat of my dirty, white minivan and

as soon as your mother appeared in the screen door,

saying it was time to go

I knew.

And I spent every second in the car

staring out the window

stumbling over dirt roads and the earthy taste of a language of my own filling my mouth

knowing that if you were here you’d fall in love with the lush green mountains of my homeland,

heavy with wet history and hidden ancestry

in the same way you fell in love with the freckles dotting my arms and

the way I lisped at night with metal in my mouth for correction.

Me enamore de mi pais,

but I was promised to another town, another life, another existence.

I was promised to the sound of airplanes flying overhead and the headlights of cars flooding my bed

as they passed by on my sleepy street.

I dreaded coming home because home was no longer the sound of your voice shyly tracing melodies on the radio in your car.

It was no longer the sound of your breathing after you finished laughing your heart out.

It was no longer the warmth of your hand in mine and the nervous smile you used to give me before you kissed me goodnight.

When I came back on a metal bird all I heard was the silence.

All I saw was the silence.

Home was silence.

When you went away,

I watched the flowers on my peach trees bloom and blossom and

the birds flood the skies as they returned home.

I watched stray cats circle the streets, marking their land and fending off intruders

making way for their little ones to mature.

I watched myself, a year bolder, hair longer and smile sharper, gain Hope.

After a year of absence,

and a year of wondering if things would ever be the same again,

my insecurities flooding my senses because you no longer have the time to

talk them away and

my uncertainties running rampant after what feels like a century of missing my best friend,

Hope is like the waterfall I let pummel me so I would know what it was like to drown in beauty.

When you went away,

I believed that you could only come home again.

Or maybe, you would become home.

But for now, this is it.

This is home.

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