The First-generation Immigrant in America

My grandmother has a certain look in her eyes when something is troubling her: she stares off in a random direction with a wistful, slightly bemused expression on her face, as if she sees something the rest of us can’t see, knows something that we don’t know. It is in these moments, and these moments alone, that she seems distant from us, like a quiet observer watching from afar, her body present but her mind and heart in a place only she can visit. She never says it, but I know, and deep inside, I think they do as well. She wants to be a part of our world. She wants us to be a part of hers. But we don’t belong. Not anymore. Not my brothers—I don’t think they ever did. Maybe I did—once, a long time ago, but I can’t remember anymore. I love my grandmother. She knows that. I know she does, even if I’m never able to convey it adequately to her in words….


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