1. Journey West, No Turning Back

Blog 1: Sept. 12, 1996—I hear the clock ticking, the cicadas buzzing to a different time outside my family home in New Jersey. The steam evaporates along the rim of the cup I am holding. It is nighttime. It is quiet for three seconds, it seems. I feel emptiness.

I hold the resonance of Patricia’s words in my gut. I shared dinner with her, her husband
(both from South America), and my parents tonight. Patricia held my hand, looked me in the eyes, and asked me with Latin warmth and knowing why I was going west. Why not Spain? She asked. She knew I had loved Spain as a child, had always wanted to return there because it had felt like the only home I had known. I told her I had promised myself I’d go back when I had something to give, and not until then. You don’t have to limit yourself, she reminded me.

Tonight, at the kitchen table, I know she is right. I cry. I’m going west because a part of me wants to start fresh, have a new beginning, where judgment and rules don’t follow me. But I feel the illusion of this idea that, light and free, I can follow my spirit’s longing—the one I carried as a child in the fields of Spain—out west. And Patricia seems the only one who’s not applauding me for my ability to pick up and go and create life a thousand times over as I’ve done so many times in my stubborn way.

As I sit at my parent’s kitchen table, I cry. I ask, for this moment, that I be the kind of frail that’s strong but asks for true insights that don’t come from answers but from hearing my heart and listening to its needs. I listen. But my journey is tomorrow.  I am going west, and not east, not across the Atlantic Ocean toward Spain, to my heart’s home.