Last month, alone, I flew home to Orlando, Florida.
This time, Kantra understood that I was leaving. Haruki was stabbing me with her tears.
“I will hang your underwear outside so people will think that you’re still here,” she said.
When my bus pulled off Kantra chased after me. Haruki hugged her. Kantra stomped the earth.
I didn’t want to go the closer it got to leaving. It’s like driving into a storm cloud on a flat plain.
This was my first trip back to the states since 45 got elected.
I went to check on my folks. Hurricane Irma hit a few weeks ago. Down the street from our house, the water went up to the mailboxes. Some houses got raw sewage. Bears, raccoons, and possums are getting bolder, bringing their families, rummaging through garbage.
“They bears always been there. Mankind invaded their territory and they keep on doing it,” Pops said.
I miss lizards.
Piles of chopped trees lined the neighborhood streets. Broken trunks looked like shanks sticking out of the ground.
Our house was still standing. It needs work. It’s never been more of a symbol for my moms and pops’ life than now: disorderly, devouring, unbreakable, and a fight to the end. Running generators gave light to surrounding houses. My folks had just gotten the power back on a week before I got there. Some residents were still waiting in the dark. Pops is 80 years-old. He chopped up a fallen tree with a chainsaw.
It was difficult to focus my eyes on my folks. Seeing them like that, cracked me. I wasn’t prepared. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.
“Hell naw, you know how many sacrifices we made to stay in this house. Them retirement homes ain’t what you think they are,” Pops said.
Rolling my eyes up at the oak trees dangling moss, they looked like chains from the Ghost of Christmas past.
“You can die from a lot of things. You can die from frustration,” Pops said.
I was down there for ten days, always jet lagged. A week and three days is a second when you’re living in multiple times zones. I got there at night when my wife and daughter were eating breakfast.
Found some photos at the crib. I just grabbed these cause it’s my relatives looking fly. I don’t know a lot of their names. Most of these pictures were taken before I was born.