As for me, I wander down to the small stream at the ridge on the farm’s edge, remembering my father’s stories of rising up early to feed the cows and my mother’s memories of the sweat on her brow from hours of picking coffee at a local plantation.
Life here juxtaposes itself profoundly against the life I live in America; the scourge of poverty and flickering prosperity that never seem to coalesce.
Soon after, I find myself lying in bed, my thoughts and the soft throb of my head the only audible things in the room.
I ponder whether my parents — dregs floating across a diasporic sea before my time — would have imagined their sacrifices for us would come with sharp pains in their backs and newfound worries, tear-soaked nights and early mornings. Instead, I dream of them and the future I will build with the tools they have given me.
Now, please don’t assume that my father is some rampant rural sexist.
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The fact is, when you live in an area and have a career where success is largely determined by your ability to provide and maintain nearly insurmountable feats of physical labor, you typically prefer a person with a bigger frame.
The same hope that carried my parents over an ocean of uncertainty is now my fuel for the journey toward my future, and I go forward with the radical idea that I, too, can make it.
Savoring each bite, I listen to the sound of neighbors calling out and children chasing a dog ridden with fleas, letting the cool heat cling to my skin. I always assumed my father wished I had been born a boy.
In America, I watch my father come home every night, beaten yet resilient from another day of hard work on the road.
He sits me and my sister down, and though weary-eyed, he manages the soft smile I know him for and asks about our day.