The bitter taste of immigration

Everything has a taste, a smell, a connection to the body, to the mind.
Immigration- the state of moving from one body to another, but carrying the same soul.
For the first few years, immigration was my mother’s home-cooked, saffron-infused Persian meals, bland due to my father’s non-fat diet. Bland and spice-less, saltless, forgettable and yet unforgiving of forever remaining the bitter taste of immigration.
Immigration was my father’s state of being, my father, whose fragile veins led him to America where doctors repaired him. His survival led way to his permanent residence in the States. My father, whose hatred for the Iranian regime stained the living room, the walls of our home when he cursed the television as the national anthem played.
My immigration embarrassed me, shamed and belittled me, made me feel inadequate, incompetent, insignificant. I had no words to express anger toward losing a country that at the time had done me no wrong. My mother always recalls those first years, “you stopped laughing,” she says with guilt, as if my inabilities were all her doing.
The discomfort of unfamiliarity constantly tore at my heart, like when we went grocery shopping and my parents’ English faltered. I stood watching words slip out of my father’s mouth, slippery and unconvincing. I watched my father struggle, and it was worse than his weak knees when he was ill before the surgeries, when his pace became slower, when he had trouble walking up stairs. This struggle, the one I related to, would remain a barrier for him, for as much he maintained and obsessed over his health, he never once attempted to mend his broken English – maybe because his heart too was broken beyond repair from the years he fathered his children alone, he the husband of an imprisoned wife. My father didn’t try to learn the new ways of American living. Instead he sank deeper and deeper into an unbreakable silence. He gave in to his new acquired power: his unspoken words.
Immigrant soul is weighted with loss and it’s tainted and filled with chaos
Immigrant soul has anger, and sorrow and melancholy
But also beauty and joy and freedom
Immigrant soul is heavy with nostalgia
But when it reaches lightness and contentment and confidence
Immigrant soul is at peace,
No longer at war with itself, its surroundings
Today, my immigrant soul is at peace.

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