I have a lump in my throat. No, it’s not the thyroid, I am sad because my Khala and cousin left. I, hastily clad in my ugly black jacket and lovely purple scarf, over my yellow pajamas, stood outside as they piled in the car. One of the two old servants threw water on their car, for good luck on their journey. I fought off tears then and now I’m in my room, perhaps not fighting the tears now.
When they came, it was like a family vacation, laughter over tea, gifts, inside jokes and the special fits of giggles that only come with family. I showed them Kabul, they saw me lose my temper with others (I have to work on that), and they took care of me when my shaking got worse.
I came home every night, walked through the dingy door and was met with kisses, gifts and my fun family.
Shukur, I have a great family but it’s so hard to be away from them. Even when I’m in the U.S., we’re scattered to different places in a way that only refugees are. When we see each other, we are infected with our parents’ joy, they dance and laugh and tease. Happy to see each other again.
Life is odd, after spending their lives growing up together and starting families, homes side by side, they spent another 30 years far away, punctuated by phone calls and hectic visits to celebrate funerals and weddings. They are the roots of my culture and I feel bereft, in my homeland, without them.
And now, I have to stop feeling sorry for myself. Shukur, that they are in my life.
Bye Khala, Bye M. Safar Bakhair.