The silence was in no way uncomfortable; most times, it was pleasant, even relaxing. But underneath was a low thrum of pent-up frustration, which I only became aware of every once in a while. There was so much I wanted to tell her — about my high school track meets, the school paper, later my college roommates — and so much I wanted to ask, that I simply could not.
This version of myself looks up and sees my mom’s shoulders heave up and down. I’m looking at my father’s back, and I don’t need to see his face to know that it is tearless, like mine. Only when I read these words does the memory float back to me. I described it as half-grief. Stuck in the wrong places, like sweat.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t imagine, pre-admission, what it’d be like. Racing to class, skipping a stone across the Charles, trudging up a narrow stairwell as the sun spilled over treetops. On some nights, after I finish my homework or exit a Zoom call, I still do. Now, in my childhood home, I still imagine what it would be like to be where you are, to breathe your city’s air. To see you.