“Back to your country”, they tell me, the words crunching through my teeth. As if it was easy moving to a place where the faces are so different, the food lacks all the flavours I grew up taking for granted, where people speak in languages so strange to my own thoughts. As if I didn’t already feel, even though the years roll by, as an outsider, an alien, learning how to be again. As if it was easy to bear the intolerant looks of prejudice from those always there to remind me that I’m a stranger in a strange land. As if.
As if, truth be told, I still had a land to come home to. But hasn’t anyone heard? My land is fallow and barren. Yes, there were times when my parents tended to it with love, fondly planting the seeds of a better future, ripe for the taking by the time I’d grow. I don’t quite know what happened, though. Just that when the time came for me to plough those fields, I found nothing but weeds growing through the cracks. And there’s no one who knows where to begin plucking them out, so that my parents’ work was not in vain. All I am sure is nothing of mine could grow there.
It ain’t so bad over here, though. The land itself embraced me and allowed me to grow. And for now, at least, it’s still a fertile one, where my roots can dig into and my limbs can stretch out towards the horizon, towards a new life, new friends, new passions. One day (who knows?) I’ll be sowing my own seeds, who shall be from neither here nor there, and to whom my own country is nothing more than that strange place you go and visit once a year. Maybe one’s country is not the place that bred you, but the place where you become. Maybe here is where I belong.
But, for all of the elaborate reasoning, nothing can erase the longing for those I’ve left behind. Those who I see growing years older each day I see them. Those who I am losing in a life spent in two diferent timeframes; And maybe that is why I feel the crunching through my teeth, whenever I see the plea in their eyes. “Come back”, they seem to say, even as they bless me when I go, “Please. Come back to your country”.