It used to be easier answering this question, I’d say, “Here” or “I just moved from New York” (or wherever the last state was previously). But my addresses changed often recently. Today, in a little shop in Nottingham, the clerk asked me a simple question when hearing my American accent. “Do you mind me asking, where are you from?” I opened my mouth to answer, but didn’t know what to say.
Now I do.
Where Are You From? A simple question with a twisted answer. I’m from everywhere. And nowhere. Bookending my life: A little village in England and a vibrant city in New England The forward is short, like me A few years under a flag, not my parents’ – not the one I’d pledge allegiance to in primary school. The chapters of my life are marked by stories set in varied lands. Sitting on wooden steps of a trailer, heat rising in the distance, blowing out a few candles on a cake, baked by my mother. My father, comforting me with lengthy explanations of lighting and thunder. As you thumb through the pages, you'll see the usurpers, two characters who claimed laps and arms, who forged a bond only broken by miles and adulthood. I thought of them as twins – “the boys” They etched my story with their laughter, binding themselves tightly into the stories I share with my students. One lost year without my father: A short chapter told in letters, tape recordings, blurred photographs from a war far away Held together by the glue of extended family Kept from fading by the protective cover of cousins, this is the home of my heart Swept away to the plains, flat and endless Middle grade years transitions trees to a first crush, then skipped ahead to tall peaks, my rising action, but not my denoument Punctuated by short setting changes, growing, learning, finding my calling Closer to the end, change increases its pace. In four years, five moves, skipping across the land, even across the pond, like a shiny, smooth stone a mere footnote in a lifetime I stand in the shoppe, her eyes inquisitive, awaiting my reply. “Where am I from?” I repeat. I blink. “That’s hard to say. Everywhere. And nowhere. But for right now, I’m here.” ~Marjorie Light August 27, 2016