Today, my dad came over to help the boys and I start talking about our trip to Ecuador in February. He and I were lobbying memories back and forth across the table. A couple of times I saw a "twinkle" in his eye, a recollection beginning to unfold as he spoke. And then it was gone. It was like the memory couldn't be released, that the idea of it was enough.
As we were finishing, I asked him to tell the kids a story from his childhood in Ecuador (he was born in Colombia and was raised mostly in Ecuador). He hesitated and said, "It's a long way from here, a long way from Fletcher Avenue". Those words struck me as quick as truth and tediously as work. What did he mean? I wondered.
It's true... being there is very different from being here. Beyond the obvious, I realized maybe we understood each other... that our childhoods were as far away as if they were in a different galaxy.
I related to him when I saw him catch those joyous gleams and draw them back-in, to treasure them. And while the first half of my life shaped me, I'm disconnected from it in a indiscernible way. It seemed to me that it could be the same for him.
I'm ashamed to say that I haven't been "home" in 17 years. Inside my chest it feels like there is a fist crumpling-up my soul when I say that I have lived a double life. My "Fletcher Avenue" is a very long way from "home". And finally, I am returning. I am pulling my children into my history. I am surging the two together.