17 Nov

Landing in San Diego is like nowhere else. The plane flies so close to the skyscrapers if you could roll down the windows of the plane, you could touch them. Then as the aircraft aims towards the landing strip, ships appear on the harbor like little toy boats.

Yet despite the beauty, my heart felt heavy. I had already wearied of arriving home trip after trip with no one to greet me. I’d get my bag from the revolving belt at baggage claim and then head towards the taxi stand. Although only a ten-minute ride home, the trip would fatigue me as the cab driver griped about how little taxi drivers make and how hard it is to make a living in San Diego. Exhausted, I’d nod my head hoping to communicate empathy and compassion but this would only encourage the driver more in his litany of protests. By the time I arrived home, I’d feel like I’d given a therapy session, yet I was the one giving the 25% tip.

And then there’d be the homecoming with my little men. My heart would always grip in fear worried they would be sad and depressed because of my absence. Indeed, sometimes they would look at me dazed and uncertain, as if they didn’t understand why their mom was showing up when they’d resigned themselves to my being gone. Each would give a forlorn meow as they came up to me extending their paws in a handshake. Rumi would inevitably rub up against my suitcase and smell my carry on bag while Hafiz would trot straight to the kitchen and demand a can of food. I’d stand in the kitchen watching him as he gobbled his food concerned that he wasn’t getting enough when I was away. While he was purring and grunting simultaneously, I’d immediately clean the cat box and sweep up some of the stray gravel and cat hair. Then I’d try to put mail and domestic concerns aside and plop on the bed so the little men could come snuggle me. Tentative at first, they’d each jump on the bed and promptly sit on top of me. They never punished me. Instead, they’d cling to me. Like the apostles thinking Jesus to be dead and buried, they seemed shocked by my re-emergence and had to see if my body was real. I wasn’t an apparition. I was incarnate. Their mother returned to them. Only now, they were dead and buried. And they weren’t coming back. There was no resurrection.

They’d always been there. When I peed. When I took a bath. When I walked into the kitchen. Someone had always followed me. When I sat down in a chair, someone had always jumped in my lap.


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