My Home and My Mind

February 6, 2017
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As you walk the halls of the houses you’ve visited, it is impossible to not notice one thing.
The smell.
As I tiptoe into my home, or, sometimes run into, or maybe walk in humbly.
Depending on my mood.
The one effect that always takes place in my head and around my spirit is when the smell of my home overwhelms me like the tides on the sandy beach spill over the rocks.
From the time I left at exactly 7:40 to the time I came back at 7:10, the scent has changed as quickly and as many times as a six year-old girl changes clothes for dress up.
And as I enter the door. The door that has resisted through rain, wind, and poundings,
I can smell my roots & culture.
The winding branches of smells and tastes and speaking in tongues pull me and engulf me until the only thing you can smell is love and understanding.
The sweet yet sometimes bitter with a hint of sarcasm mixes with tears and hugs and “that” look.
This creates a wonderful but sometimes glum atmosphere.
The day is a flower that unwinds as the sun goes up and life breathes and exhales all combining to create something and everything.
My dad.
Working to make dues with bills and working at ABB. He comes home and is happy to see that we’re alive.
Happy, kinda, and healthy..kinda.
My mom.
Working at Wagner Zip Change.
Unhappy, with as much stress as she can take. No one is happy to see her like this. Not me, not my sister, especially not my dad.
She can stay mad at him for days on end just because he sneezed. But after a couple days, she acts like it never happened. Her anger just went
Just like her happiness.
But we manage. All together. Balancing, bawling, yet still breathing. We are all thankful.
But I think that when we gather in the kitchen or maybe the living room, we all are at peace. We feel so happy that our smiles can reach past our ears and our hearts can beat to the melody of our laughter.
On the outside our home, around the intersection of Harlem and North, it can seem a little shabby in the front.
But that’s only because we recently moved in and we usually fix the house over the summer.
The back lawn is like an escape from reality.
Sitting on the porch or maybe lying in the shade on the cool grass.
You can feel the summer and it overtakes my senses and fills me with happiness along with nostalgia.
Because knowing that nothing can last forever always finds a way into the depths of my mind.
Eating me up like a hungry dog eats the leftovers from Thanksgiving two weeks ago.
We sometimes walk to the ice cream shop or maybe just because we feel like walking.
Our happiness is quickly forced to stop because of the Presidential Election.
Opinions, I know. But racism, definitely not.
Okay sure there are terrorists. And yes! There are illegal immigrants. But that gives you no reason at all to discriminate a whole race and culture.
We aren’t items and Donald Trump isn’t a labeling machine.
Yes, I understand he’s the President of The United States. Good for him.
But that gives him no right at all to call people out and throw them under the bus. For God’s sake.
He’s an immigrant.
You and I both know that this whole dilemma is easily resolved by saying that this land belongs to the Native Americans. Truly and Rightful.
Latinos are strong, determined and brave hearted. We will not accept it.
Discrimination is something no one should experience.
At all.
But as I lay in bed on a Saturday night and think about this whole chapter in life, my mind wanders and I start to listen.
Just listen.
I can hear my parents conversing about bills and things that I won’t have to worry about until I’m older, they say.
I can hear the cracked streets of Harlem and North withstanding all the weight of nightlife and fathers driving back from the night shift. Happy to go home and see their children.
And as far away as my toes are from my head, I can hear the train.
Rumbling its way through cities and suburbs. Seeing the same but different sights each day. The Metra.
It shakes my bones and chatters my teeth. Right when I think I can’t take it, it stops.
And the deep rumble won’t be back until I wake up with my alarm.
When I wake up on Sundays, I walk down the stairs to find my pantuflas, or slippers, waiting for me.
Waiting to hold the soles of my feet comfortably yet protective enough that I can still be forced to take out the trash.
My heartbeat is as calm as my mother pouring the pancake batter into the pan.
Slowly but surely bubbles start to rise and as my mother has told me, it’s time to flip.
When I taste the pancake, I yell “Puchica!”, a sign of surprise. Meaning that I very much enjoyed them.
My father and sister both agree with me and look up at my mother to see her wringing her hands in anticipation. She smiles with relief when she sees that the people she loves the most are content.
The years will pass by but this won’t fade.
The love will stay and it won’t be a charade.
But the fears of life will always get to us and everyone.
Sadness, Sickness, Bills and Death.
They’re bound to happen but we, as latinos, won’t let that bring us down.
But in the end we, everyone, will always hope for one thing.
Health and Unity.
All we want is to be together and happy.
That’s what everyone should want.
Not money, not power.
But love.

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