Why am I walking into class when there are fifteen minutes left? Oh wait. That’s right. I was at the wrong station, lost and confused. I was late yesterday and on Monday, and hopefully I can get this right by tomorrow. I hate being forced to move from one home to another, especially this last move. I hate living in this almost desolate suburb across the bay, and far from the heavily populated city. The world is unfamiliar to me and my new experiences frighten me. But this all happened because of him.
He always seemed like the perfect person, someone to look up to, and a role model, until the day he changed. We were tied together once, but as time passed we began to rip farther and farther away from each other, until we were opposites like fire and ice, never to agree with each other. I never understood the things he did or who he did them for, but I definitely knew it was building a border between a father and a son. Having his name makes me wish that I was at the top of Twin Peaks, yelling out loud and releasing the burden. I look at my reflection, seeing his face on mine, and I feel heavy rain clouds floating over my head, forever pouring down on me until I am soaking wet. He does not make a living, he does not contribute to anything, and he does not care about anyone but himself. The worst thing he did was nothing, while the rest of us were struggling to live. In this city, no one can survive alone and no can give up, but he became useless when he did. I had no money, no life, no safety, so why not run away?
Today is moving day. I carried the boxes in and out of the home that I will never see again, like a dream that disappears when you wake up. The white block-shaped house with wide windows facing the streets and stairs leading up to a dark wooden door stuck on the steepest hill was being wiped away from my memory. I had grabbed lunch one last time from the restaurant down the street where the aroma of sizzling meats spreads around the neighborhood, and I said goodbye to the view from the top of the hill of the shining skyscrapers standing over the people downtown.
As I walk into my new home, I open the door and only a little sunlight lights up the low-ceilinged room. When the sky is dark, the room’s source of light is the little dull lamp sitting beside my bed. Every night, I wake up to voices from another family living in the home through the thin white door in the corner of the room. The bills made it so that soon enough it was time to move out again—unfortunately out of the city this time.
I do not have the pleasure to roam around my new, dull town because the buses rarely pass and are many steps away from my home. Throughout the day, I hear the sounds of cars raging at each other on the highway, and motorcycles rumbling through my window. My neighborhood seems perfect until a package arrives at my door and randomly disappears. The sound of random shots and dark explosions spreading throughout the night are muffled by the midnight train. Well, I am glad that I am away from him and comfortably living in an affordable community.
Today, the train window perfectly displays the construction sites forming around the bay, with industries that will soon rise up from the ground, and little homes stacked together like books in a library. I arrive at Market Street, feeling as cold as a never-ending snowstorm, and hop on the bus passing through the rushing herd of extravagant executives downtown to the produce markets of Chinatown. On this morning, I am feeling exhausted from the journey to school, when the sky is dark and the smell of morning mist fills the air. I finally arrive home late in the evening when the rushing city quietly sleeps.
Nights on the train are like walking through a pitch-black cemetery alone. Looking out the window, the night is dark and misty and the lights are low on the train with only a few passengers seated. One time, I was targeted by a man who was trying to trick me and steal my phone. Another time, there was someone who pushed me to try and reach into my pocket and snatch some cash. I usually end up stepping onto the wrong train and falling asleep, finding myself miles away from home.
One year later and my challenges, struggles, confusion, and anxiety washed away like a wave slowly making its way back into the sea after it has wrecked a ship. The differences helped me realize that once in a while hardship stabs you in the back, but the wounds embedded in your heart and mind will heal if you are patient. Thinking about my journey in life locks me down in my bed, but I find the energy to rise up because I have friends and family who light me up.
This piece was originally published in We All Belong, available in our store.