The flight

When you immigrate, the part you leave behind the most is not your land, but the people. When we said our goodbyes, we knew we were taking the risk of never seeing them again.
When we were little, our uncle used to make funny faces and pretend to scare us. He would pretend to play the guitar on our arms, sometimes the violin. He’d press his fingers hard against our arms and we giggled from laughter. But his favorite game was to give us pretend names, names we’d never heard of, often made up from his imagination. He’d start with, “from today on, your name is…” and we begged him not to pick something horrible. I don’t remember a time that he didn’t make us laugh. He joked so often that my aunt had to stop him before he even began speaking.
Eight years ago, I visited him and saw him for the last time. Today, he died. I hadn’t heard his voice in a long time, but I remember the sound of his voice. Whenever I called from the States, I always told him how much I missed him and I still do, and always will. That’s the hardest part of immigration; there are certain things you lose that you will never get back.
We constantly leave. We leave certain memories behind, and continue to miss what we’ve forever left behind. But it is uncertain when the the time comes. And when the phone calls come, it is often too late. Too late to say goodbye, too late to forgive yourself for leaving.

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