Where I Once Called Home (Prose)

As we drive into El Paso, the lights from Mexico shine bright in the distance, a sure sign that I'm almost home. We travel along the long stretch of road that was once paved with childhood dreams but only now houses wharehouses and destroyed desert. The dog barks as it always has and they embrace me like they always do. It's so warm where I once called home.

Selena bakes cookies in the kitchen as my Mom lovingly scolds me. "You need to cut your hair, Stephen," she says and I only smile. Daniel and I get steaks, and such, to cook as we used to long ago. Long before the bills, failed relationships and the ever lingering threat of old age. He's having a baby, he says, and I don't know whether to hug him or cry. He's not my baby brother anymore. He's a man now.

We tell stories and laugh amid the raging fire. I can smell the tamales now, slowing cooking in their their nostalgic husks. The cold beer feels nice against the fire and familiar faces. I miss them so much.
Gifts are exchanged. They're not much, but they have no monetary value to me. They're priceless in the sentimental sense. Dad acts overjoyed as he always has even though he doesn't get much. He looks so distinguished and wise with age.

Mom and Dad give me their blessing, as they always have, when I head home. As I drive away I can see them waving goodbye through the rear view mirror. I smile and look away as we head down that same road once paved with childhood dreams. I'll be back one day. It's so warm here.

Esteban Luis Soto (c) 2003


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