There are days when homesickness hits me with such intensity it takes me by surprise. I miss the island. I don’t miss the present-day island now, mind you. Or I do, but not as much. For starters, I could take a plane and go visit, it is not out of my reach. Plus, I don't miss the crime, the insufferable traffic and the obsession with politics that only rivals the obsession with celebrities I see around here. No, I miss the island back then, back when I was a child. I miss my life growing up. Sometimes the knowledge that my daughters are growing up in a world so diverse from mine breaks my heart. Not for them, I think they are actually going to be better off, but I mourn my receding memories, my fading childhood. How are they going to understand me when they know nothing about me? There is no one here who shares my history, and I feel like an orphan sometimes.
There are days when it amazes me that I am already 38, and there are days when I struggle to remember some detail of my younger years.
I wish I was sitting on the rocks near La Puerta de San Juan, watching the cargo ships enter San Juan Bay. Some of my happiest memories involve sitting on those rocks watching the sun come down. Many of my favorite memories involve walking in Old San Juan, at different times in my life. As a young child, taking the ferry to Cataño was the highlight of a family outing. For most of my life I have lived with water around me, but for the last seven years I have been practically landlocked. Galveston is not that far. But it is at least a one-hour drive, and it is not the ocean I grew up with. I don’t know the ways of the Gulf. I don’t trust these waters.
Sometimes I wonder, if I had the power to go back in time and be 20 years old again, would I do it? Would I take a chance and do things differently? Would I risk losing what I have now, losing who I am?
I’m walking down the hall, empty cubicles on either side of me. It’s lunchtime. I have a call at 1:00, so I decided to eat lunch at my desk. But I am restless, so I decide to go for a short walk. I end up pacing up and down the maze of cubicles, like a rat on one of those lab experiments that scientists were so fond of decades ago. Only not as smart as a rat. The rat would know exactly what it was going for and how to get through the maze.
I don’t belong here, but damned if I know how to get out of here.
I feel so different from these people who work with me. One of these days they are going to find out I am just bluffing and they’ll throw me out of here. I have a career by sheer accident. I do my best to keep it because my family needs me to.