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My Parents and Love

The sudden, sharp movement of the aircraft as it lurched to life with ferocious speed jolted me awake. Less than 10 minutes on board and I had already succumbed to exhaustion and fatigue. These two, when compounded by the near crippling heartache birthed from leaving home again, coalesced into a potently painful mixture. As we took to the air and I looked out at my beloved Northern California countryside, my soul was weary and my burden was heavy. The farmland and lush fields shrunk smaller and more distant, resembling a child's playrug, sprawled out for the plane's occupants to enjoy. If only I could partake.

We all have plans, me especially. With each passing day they're solidified more and more, gradually becoming actualized in my mind, ready to be bequeathed to the world. Ill get out and walk, or rather sprint, to the bucolic tranquility of my childhood home, a grown man finished and polished, ready for his hibernation. Ill have beer with my Father over homemade steak and eggs, regaling him with tales born of a world of experience given to me by the world itself. A smile will illuminate his face, and "Im proud of the man you've become, Mijo.", will resonate through the hallowed halls of my heart. Ive heard it many times, but does one ever tire of a virtuosic symphony? My Mother and I will share iced tea on the swing, the russet nectar given life by her love and the kiss of the sun. The breeze will kiss my face and Ill kiss her cheek, content and satiated in the knowledge that my absence will never again cause her happiness to abscond. The sun, lazily napping in the sky, will be overtaken by a vibrant lavender, and slowly begin to sink into its sordid slumber. The pool, crystalline and cerulean, will beckon to me, glittering blindingly. Ill dive in and swim a few laps, relishing in the surreptitiously fading warmth and heat, stretching and flexing my body powerfully, relishing in my freedom. There's no plane to catch, no time to keep, and no obligations to uphold. My duty is solely to myself.

My truck has aged noticeably. Her paint, once an intimidating, imposing black brimming with gloss, now flakes and ebbs, rust marring the ferocity it once conveyed. She shifts clunkily, and going from park, to reverse, to drive causes a noticeable, distressing stutter, like a large rock is being hurled tumultuously by a tornado inside the engine. She slowly crawls like a newborn up to 50 mph, only without the youthful vigor, replaced as it was by a seemingly exasperated resignation to fate. Or maybe she's always handled like this, and I was too wrapped up in my own head to notice or even care. I cruise down a void of a highway towards a meeting with my friends, Staind blaring through the speakers. I smile as nostalgia washes over me in waves. This CD, this town, and this truck are essential parts of my childhood, idellible vertebrae in the spine of my life's story. I see and hear my Father singing with me, as we speed down the backroads of Vacaville fresh from enjoying 3 movies back to back. It was here, along with camping trips and excursions on our dirtbikes, that he and my Uncles worked tirelessly to instill manhood in ny cousins and I. The lessons have certainly took hold. Feeling dangerous, I floor the gas and wince as the truck groans and picks up to 60 mph. The night is young and so am I.

Her eyes bore deep into mine, inquiring as to what I was hiding. But then again, Ive never been able to hide a thing from my Mother. My well known habit of telling on myself began when I was a child. Keeping secrets was new and novel, something that older kids did, an opportunity to add edge to my burgeoning personality. The longer you could hold on to a carefully concealed piece of information, the tougher and cooler you were. I took this new revelation and ran with it. In a child's eyes, everything is fresh and untarnished, offering whatever possibility and potential you can paint it with, even if, in retrospect, you were fucking stupid. I had said a bad word in 1st  grade. Even worse, the teacher had heard it! I was the elementary school equivalent of a hardened convict, with street cred to match.  My teacher glared at me with the conviction of the certain, waiting for me to confess to my abhorrent crime. But I steadfastly refused, an annoying little smirk growing on my cherubic face. Deterred, she turned away hastily. Glee rushed through my body. I had done it! Id stared Death in the face and lived, all the while holding fast to my treasure. Several claps on the back and high fives followed from my friends, and the incident was quickly forgotten. The day plodded along like it always had, and as the end inched nearer, my anticipation began to build. I would see my Mother, kiss her on the cheek, and tell her about my day. I could trust her with everything, and no secrets existed between us. Until now. The air left my young lungs, and my eyes welled up with tears. I realized that keeping this secret meant that I would have to guard it from her as well. Excusing myself to the bathroom, I bolted for the nearest stall. Secured against prying eyes and unsolicited comments, I wailed with the fury of the naive and betrayed. As I cleansed myself of my emotions, I weighed my options. If I told her, I would certainly be in trouble. But if I didnt? Our dialogue, so natural and lighthearted, would be encumbered by my hidden baggage. I knew I had no choice. When the final bell rang, I began my Bataan Death March towards her car. "Good Afternoon Darling!", she sang, "how was your day?". As I mustered the nerve to meet her gaze undeservingly, guilt, which had been gnawing at me incessantly but bearably, ceased its jabs. Shame, red hot and burning, was tagged in, and unleashed its full fury on my rapidly declining resolve. As I beheld the beautiful face of a smiling Angel, I wept. Seizing her and burying my face in her blouse, I confessed to my sins, promising to never keep a secret from her again. Her laughter's musicality alleviated my dread soon after, and she assured me everything was alright.

This memory flickered through my mind's eye in a split second, a flash of lightning emboldening the sky, as she studied me. Those familiar tears made themselves known again, and I was aware that any effort I made to obfuscate my feelings would be rendered meaningless by my transparency before her. I held my composure with the practiced ease of the weathered as I unloaded fear after fear. My phobia towards loneliness, my fear of my own capability for violence, and my constant, ever present homesickness. As always, with a glance and a smile, all was made well. I remember all of these, and as I left my beloved Bay Area behind once again, I found solace in the fact and promise that my family's love is present with me wherever I go. I can't wait to bask in it permanently.

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