Immediately after Roberto, the kids, and I moved cross-town in January, Kid Number One was thrown into a month-long tailspin of depression and tantrums. It turned out one mom’s boxy, charmless two-bedroom apartment was one little guy’s “home.”
Like so many Americans who travel for work or school, I’ve been in a holding pattern since I arrived in Gainesville, Florida, waiting for the triumphant next move to “some place better.” My point of view has been that of someone looking for reasons to leave, that of someone who sees every relationship I make here, every restaurant or beach we go to, as a sampling.
What constitutes “home” is not one size fits all. Often it’s just where we are born, but many times it’s what we’ve whipped together from a mix of easily disposable Craigslist scores and IKEA pegged-together tables and bookshelves as we hop across the “landscape of the temporary” William Leach writes about in Country of Exiles. Sometimes it’s just where your Hot Wheels are.
In “War and Peace in la cola preferencial,” I attempt to capture a deeper sense of place. This story is a slice-of-life portrait of me, my kids, and Roberto standing in a preferential treatment grocery line in Lima, Peru, and the ways that this codified respect tells a fuller story about Peruvians, something beyond political corruption, poverty, and Incan wonders. It was recently accepted for publication in the Bacopa Literary Review 2016.
Check it out, and let me know your thoughts on what constitutes “home” or “place.”