PUBLISHED: May 11, 2018
When I was younger I moved around a lot between Guyana and New York. I was never in either place for more than two months, three tops. Never really knew which one to consider home until I moved to Guyana to live with my mom permanently. I had lived there in Guyana since I was three, but that all changed the summer before my tenth birthday.
I still remember the day that my mom told me I had to move to New York. I was getting home from the last day of school with my cousins. We were riding home on our bikes, laughing and joking around, trying to see who could get to our grandmother's house first. I remember my little cousin falling off her bike when we got in the yard, and my other cousins and I laughing along with her. Then, hearing yelling coming from upstairs, we all ran up the stairs. Walking into the house, I realized that the voice yelling was my mother. She was yelling so loudly that we could hear her all the way outside from the bedroom. She was cussing and swearing like a sailor. My cousins were all scared of my mom, especially when she was mad, so they ran back downstairs into the yard. I, however, walked toward the bedroom, and right when I was about to walk in I heard my mother say something that made me stop dead in my tracks.
She said, "You can't just do that! You can't just take her away from me!"
The voice on the phone, who I realized to be my father, replied, "I don't have a choice. You think I want to do this?!"
Walking into the room, I saw my mom sitting on the bed crying and cussing at my father. Upon seeing me, she stopped what she was doing, and called me over. "Good afternoon baby girl. How was school?" she said like she always does when I get home from school. But this time, this time she had tears in her eyes and her warm smile was missing. Even her voice sounded—I don't know how to describe it—weird, I guess. Walking over to her, I took her face in my hands, wiping away her tears just as new ones fell. I asked what was wrong, but that seemed to make her cry even more. Seeing that she was crying, I took the phone from her and asked my father what he did to make her cry. My mom and I were really close, like best friends, so for me to see her crying like that made me angry.
He just told me to put my mom back on the phone. I told him no in more colorful words than were necessary, and then hung up the phone on him. I sat with my mom as she kept crying for what felt like hours, but was really only few minutes. When she had calmed down, I asked her what was wrong. She looked reluctant to tell me, and then just said it was nothing. I knew she was lying to me, and I didn't like it because my mom and I have always been honest with each other. Our relationship is so strong because we're honest with each other and we communicate. So, I told her to tell me the truth, because I knew that she doesn't cry over a lot of things, or at least doesn't let me see her cry.
She looked at me for a few minutes, as if committing me to memory, and then I guess she saw how determined I was to find out, so she told me. She told me that my father said that I would have to go to New York. Not really understanding what she meant, I asked, "What is wrong with that? I go there with him almost every summer." She looked at me and said that my father said I had to go there to live with him. Still not quite understanding her, I asked her what she meant.
She just looked at me, not saying anything. She didn't need to say anything. I finally understood what she meant. I jumped up from where I was kneeling in front of her and started pacing, back and forth, back and forth. I picked up the landline and threw it at the dresser mirror, shattering the glass. My mom taken aback by this jumped back further on the bed, screaming. I just fell to the ground crying my eyes out. By then, everyone—my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousins—all ran into the room to see what had happened. Slowly, almost tentatively, my mother got off the bed and came to get me off the ground because there was glass everywhere. I even had some stuck in my arms and legs.
I just let her get me off the ground. Everyone was there looking at me as if they were scared I'd go off on them or something. But I didn't really care at this point. All I knew was that everything was falling apart. I had finally found the place that I had called home and now I was being taken away from there, taken away from my mother. In that moment I hated my father, I hated that he was ripping me away from my mother. I cried and cried until I couldn't anymore. All the while my mom stayed with me, like she always does, holding me as we cried together. And in that moment I realized something. I realized that it wasn't Guyana that was my home; it was my mom, and she still is.
Written by Ashanti W.