Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Repeat. You keep your mind focused on your breathing just to keep it off of what the day holds for you. You are heading back home, but only to pack up your things and leave. It feels like no one knows what will happen so there is nothing left to do but keep breathing.
The three hour drive is broken up by small conversations, but you can’t focus on talking. The passing mountains mark the passing miles. Soon, you are in Cayambe with only forty minutes to go. The road to your home town is full of pot-holes, so the bumps are something to keep your mind off of returning. That works for a bit, but soon you recognize landmarks and can’t stop worrying about how the afternoon will go.
You can see your house, short and squat; a cute orange little house. As soon as the car is parked, your parents come out to greet you. All are overly friendly, trying to hide that they know something important is happening.
“Lydiaaaa!” Your siblings return from school and tackle you in a hug, welcoming you home. Heart pounding, you distract yourself by inquiring about their day at school, all the while dreading the conversation with your parents.
Your mother calls everyone into the kitchen for lunch, and beneath the friendly chit-chat lies anxiousness about the reason for your bosses visit. As people finish eating you stand and collect the plates to wash them. Doing this chore for the last time in this house makes you truly realize that you are leaving forever. After the last plate is washed they troupe over to the bedroom to discuss your departure. It is awkward and painful. Your mother starts to cry and you do you best to comfort her. Once everyone is on the same page about you leaving, you excuse yourself to collect your things.
Before you leave, you hug your family for the last time. Your mother does not turn away as your car pulls out, and you see the tears running down her face.
Driving to Ibarra, to the unknown future, questions shoot around your mind. “Will they be able to find me a new home? Will it be the same as it was or will things get better? Will I be able to do my new job well?” Your fears are calmed as that very night you are introduced to your new family, with a meeting the next day with your future boss.
(December 3, 2011)