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Looking out

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She looked out the window of her aunt’s home. On the horizon the sun was slowly setting over the Tejo River that she loved so much. She was finally happy. She was finally home. Her mind wandered to memories created only hours before; the house she had left, the tears that had unknowingly slipped from her eyes as she parted, the unusually tight hug that her father had given her, the last minute goodbyes from her friends just before she went through security into the international terminal, the moments of hesitation that were diminished upon seeing the triumphant smile on her mother’s face, then the moments of anxiety and ecstasy as she came out of the burrow that was baggage claims and saw most of her family members all waiting for her and her mother at arrivals.
They had all gone to her aunt’s house which was the nearest to the airport to celebrate the long awaited arrival. Yet slowly the cousins with their children had happily dispersed through the Lisbon area to their homes.
Now only the aunts and uncles were left still chatting away in her aunt’s living room, most of who were now grand-parents save for the youngest uncle who had finally become a father.
But suddenly she recalled a picture from her baby album. In the picture her uncle sat on the beach rubbing her hands with sand as she smiled in utter joy and amazement. Beside her uncle was her cousin, a boy of eleven years whose childhood emanated joy. In this picture she was no more than nine months old, the first time that she had been to her mother’s land. She was not sure but that was likely to have been the time in which she had first fallen in love with her mother’s land, the land of the Tejo River, of the navigators, and of Camões. She knew this love had only grown more and more with each visit. Part of it was the land itself. The other part was her family. The old cliché was true ‘home IS where the heart is’. It had been hard getting to where she was. Many things had impeded her from ever getting her dream, her wish of going to live in her mother’s land.
At first, her father had kept her and her mother from getting her wish. He had wanted to keep things the way they were. He would not allow it. But even he had changed and that had changed when her parents divorced. Sadly at that point her grand-parents had passed on and she had not been ready for a new beginning having only just started high school. Her mother’s work had also been an impediment, because she was still young and dependant on her mother. Through the grace of God things started happening that would eventually make her dream come true.
Her mother who had been working since she was sixteen was tired of the demands of work so she retired. Her mother was also propelled to do this because she had made an ultimatum. ‘I’m going with or without ’she had said. So her mother decided to go with her.
Consequently here she was looking out her aunt’s window knowing that this was just the beginning. Suddenly, she heard a burst of laughter coming from the room beside and was awakened from her thoughts. So slowly taking in a breath of the cool breeze she took one last look out the window. To her left the lights of the Expo 98 site shone with vigour. The brightest were the lights of the Orient Station, then as her eyes moved to her right the Tejo River surrounded by the city of Lisbon. This scene she had seen on many visits.
Now, she left the kitchen’s enveloping darkness to join in the warmth of her family’s laughter. Leaving the kitchen illuminated only lightly by the stars and lights of the city as well as the residue of the sun that had basked the scene with its glow.





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