Here’s a monologue I wrote on the fly last night. Enjoy!
They say that you can’t remember things from when you were a baby. They call it “infantile amnesia”. There’s evidence for it but I refuse to believe it, just how like my boy Nadim’s grandma believes that the earth is flat. She’s old and spouts on about how the government lies to us, but that’s for another day.
I remember the last time I saw my dad like it was yesterday.
He was arguing with my mom about going to the store around the corner. She had him by his arms and was hissing at him, trying not to wake me up. I was watching from the bed since I didn’t have a crib. He won and promised us that he’d be back. He held me up and kissed my head, holding me for a good minute before doing the same with my mom and heading out the door.
Hours passed and he didn’t return. Mom waited for things to calm down outside and asked the neighbor’s husband had seen him. He went out to look for him and told her that he was lying dead in the street with the groceries all shot up. That was two days before we left for D.C.
There we were, another immigrant family, arriving tattered and haggard on the shores of opportunity with what little of nothing we had. We stayed in one of the roughest parts of town for five months because we bring enough money to rent, and it took mom three to find a job.
It was a miserable time in a miserable place, but for some reason I kept coming back, even after we moved to a slightly less-shitty part of Maryland. Still, I kept coming back to meet the boys and skate. Sure it was rough and at times it was tough being the only (relatively) white person there, but once I told them where I was from they’d either lay off or ask me about it.
Truth is I felt like an idiot at times because I didn’t know as much then, but moving on.
The DMV, and then the East Coast, was all I knew for a while but that all changed until I was about ten, when I laid eyes upon the old country for the first time. After that I just wanted more and people became a lot less interesting than they used to be.
So here I am now at the edge of the world, somewhere I never expected myself to be, happier than I ever was or expected to be, and this is how I got there.
Oh, before we move on, you’re probably wondering what to call me now. Ismael is my name, but my friends call me Ish.