I am a recluse. The last couple of weeks I have spent so many days in a row working from home that I have forgotten what it's like to roam the world at large. My daytime solitude is interrupted only by visits from Cipriana the cleaning lady, an A/C technician and a door installer. I have no friends who would feel compelled to drop by my house casually. Everything has to be scheduled in advance, everybody is too busy or lives so far away.
Friendship was a lot easier when I was young. These days I have more contact with random commentators on some of the blogs I follow than I do with my friends. Maybe I am socially awkward; maybe I can't muster enough interest to put on a happy face and reach out. Who knows.
I venture outside only to drive a child to and from school. I think of mass extinctions, ice shelves breaking apart, and oil spills. I dread getting old, losing my job, dying of hunger, alone and forgotten.
I fight with everybody. I yell at my kids; the slightest hint of an attitude, the dragging of feet when it comes to schoolwork, are enough to send me into paroxysms of rage. I tell my husband to drive safely every time I speak to him on the phone. I am convinced he is going to die of a heart attack or a car accident at any moment.
I am an alien in my own home, married to a man who does not speak my native tongue, raising kids who are mine and yet so different from me. They speak to me in English because they know I can speak it fluently, and as a result their Spanish is rudimentary at best. They are barely interested in my cultural heritage and are utterly unimpressed by my culinary traditions (except for tostones, they all love those).
My children love the idea of Puerto Rico, but they do not miss it like I do. Growing up in Texas is their reality. I miss it so much it hurts, yet I do not jump through hoops to go back. The last time I visited was a year and a half ago; when I was there I felt slightly clueless and out of place, like someone walking into a movie showing that is halfway through and has no idea what is going on.