I sat in between Saturday and Sunday, a limbo of a day that did not exist hoping that it would. Monday’s usually came too soon and my motivation for finishing my spring semester was running low. I even went out of my way to create a group message to tell my siblings and my brother’s wife that I was dropping out. I couldn’t stand being in between a thin line of doing my best and still not being good enough. At this point nothing made sense anymore and going to class consisted of headaches and misunderstandings.
At this very moment, I may have been more in tuned with the reality of myself than ever before because for the first time in four years I thought about how my father’s move from New York to Florida impacted me. I was in the theatre waiting for my friend’s directed scene to come up when the inspiration to write hit me and it hit me all at once.
I never wrote a poem about you and I could tell you now that it’s because I never knew how to deal with it
I asked you to take me to the mall
You smiled and told me we had to go today which I was excited about because usually you’ll say one of these days
But the response was nothing I was expecting
“If we don’t go today we will never be able to go”
I never heard any plans about you leaving
I stared and you choked up
You hugged and I said I will visit you
People asked where you were and I told them Florida
They would ask when is he coming back
And I would say he’s not
Everyone thought I was acting, that I wasn’t hurt
But I wasn’t hurt
Not until now in this very moment
When I can’t find enough glass pieces to put myself together
When I lose myself in the finger of others until they take me out
Pinching me with a tweezer
I never told you I still resent you
Because I don’t
I never told you I still hold you in my memories
Because I don’t
I never told you I want to see you
Because I don’t
But I still look at you and smile
Because you’re my dad
I hold on to your voice as it quavers when you ask for me to come home
But between the old house you left me at, the new house you found yourself in, and the school I am force to call mine
I no longer know home
I knew something was wrong with me. I knew I was lost and trying to find pieces to pick myself up. Or maybe I was really really right and after four years I am able to exhaust all of my feelings of past experiences or at least this huge one. And it was difficult to write. I still have not finished the piece above and probably will not for years. My emotions are unsettled in a sea of uncertainty of a world I am required to be certain in. But between confronting old heartbreaks and trying to prevent a new one, I could not get through a class or a homework assignment without the feeling of being left. It rolled over into my relationship where I started to constantly leave because it is better to leave than to be left, right? I hated everything and every one for a while. Keeping up with my assignments was the least of my worries, until it had to be my only worry.
I needed to do great for my dad. He left his home twice for me. He came from Dominican Republic so I could have the American Dream and left New York because the American Dream did not seem plausible here. He picked up and left and I needed to pick up and do better. I needed to prove to myself that I was possible and prove to my parents that the American Dream is real. They came here for a reason. I needed to reconfirm their purpose and make sure they received all the wishes they had hoped for when they left their home. Maybe my father doesn’t know which household is home either. Maybe he carries home with him. I started thinking about who I wanted to be in five years and what accomplishments looked like now so that I could be that version of me. I knew I had to focus on school and finish as strong as I could. I started seeing a learning specialist who helped me organize my time and things started making sense again. I picked up my life as much as I could in the three weeks that I had before finals. I am still waiting for the results.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in black holes we too often do not notice in our tracks beforehand, and its difficult to find a way out once you are in them. Sometimes it feels like thats where you belong because why else would you be there. But through the times I was there this semester, I realized black holes are a galaxy, another way of living. An exhausting way of living. It wraps its arms around you and calls itself home. Every smile, hug, and laugh just a cover up like bricks outside of your home. They are a portrait to the outside world, but no one really knows whats going on inside. The windows are not wide enough for others to see the full picture. You wonder how the outside world is so happy while you are drowning yourself in your own tears. You spend your time trying to find angles where you can catch a peak of the outside world without people seeing you, so walls become your shield. You realize, you cant fight for happiness or truth. We acknowledge happiness because it is the feeling that comes in between hope and a dark place. It is the light leaving a dark hole, a miracle short lived, but always remembered. And truth is an opinion, something some one is willing to hold on to as a belief the consider sacred.
So in this crazy semester, I learned the two things that I thought of as untouchable, happiness and truth, were make believe. A version of my own perspective. My father never told me why he left and I will never know what caused me to look back at this semester so horribly, but I do know I ended up respecting that I did not need to know every one else’s truth and I appreciated happiness much more.