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the immigrant and the exile

The expatriate remains patriotic - loving their country from a distance. Their loyalty does not waver.

The immigrant is a foreigner that works in another country as a result of some form of escape, some desperate act.

The exile does not love their country, and it can be said that their country rejected them.

Which one wakes up homesick?

Which one can shrug off the betrayal, the long shadow of the dream of a better life when it sours and fades?

There are days when  I see no difference between the immigrant and the exile, two sides of the same coin. The expat is a blind romantic, their decisions set as young men and women, their senses dulled to nothing. I have started to understand I am not an expat any more, as I do not love my country. I tolerate it.

rainy days and mondays (run and find the one who loves me)

The streets are wet. E's red raincoat is short at the wrists. There are stray dogs slogging through the puddles, their fur a grey mess the same color as the sky. She looks up at me, that defeated Monday morning look on her face and I shake my head, telling her to let it go. 

I know she loves the rain.

The lights are out in her school. The guards are sitting in the dark lobby hunched over computer screens. I kiss the top of her head once. The room smells of wet paint and fumes.



On the way home I see a tiny house made of paper hanging from some colored yarn. It is sagging, falling apart from the rain. I wonder if it is for birds, or if some children just left it here and then someone saved it.

I see the faces, the stone expressions sucking on cigarettes, the occasional hard stare like I am a Martian walking among them. The thought comes to me that each one of these people has a home, a kitchen table, a bed, some shoes in a closet, that every single one of these people has hats and jackets and umbrellas, a window to stare out of late at night, a cherished cup, some eggs in the fridge. I think of every single person I pass having dirty clothing to wash, a decision about what to have for breakfast, some coins lost in a couch, bills to pay, a picture that hangs on a wall they have stopped looking at.

A woman sits on a folding chair next to a crosswalk. She is wrapped in a blue plastic bag, her head bowed low over a harmonica. She plays it the way children do - breathing in and out through it, just the same two or three notes. There is no melody, no phrasing, no expression, no pauses. It is more noise than music.

I see her.



Comments

liv said…
"Seeing" is a double edged sword. Sometimes, well mostly, it is a wonderful and lovely ability that too few possess and so it is a blessing. But other times....it is just damn hard. What does one do with all that seeing?
"I see her."
There is so very little that you DON'T see/feel, Marco. Another masterful piece.

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