Home

My first home was in my mother’s womb,
wrapped in the warmth of her love,
and surrounded by the rhythmic bum-bum
of her beating heart.
The sound of comfort to me,
the sound of safety,
in that first home of mine.

And many bum-bums later,
I came into the world with a cry,
greeting my new home
while at the same time
missing the rhythmic bum-bum
of my mother’s heart
till they placed me back in her arms,
and I rested my little ear against her chest and heard:
bum-bum bum-bum.

A few minutes later,
I was in his arms,
and I realized my home was in two hearts;
his and hers,
and that both sets of bum-bums were mine.
Two hearts, one home,
and with a sigh
I stopped my wailing for that night,
comforted by the sound of two hearts beating
for my one.

Six years later,
after countless new hearts were found
in grandparents, aunts, and uncles,
the two hearts that were once so aligned
were forced to break mine.
“We both love you,
it’s not your fault.
Mommy and daddy just aren’t working out.”
And with those words,
my home was split in two,
no longer mommy, daddy, and me,
just daddy or just mommy.

But they were true to their word,
their hearts still beat for me,
just separately.
And so my home was split
at the tender age of six,
and I’ve never quite recovered from it.
But, the years past,
and our three hearts beat on;
and every other week my heart would sync
with the rhythmic bum-bum it was with,
and two homes grew where my one had split.
Yet, there were nights when I’d hear one heart’s bum-bum,
and I wished the accompaniment
would join along.

Many years later,
after going to three different schools
and finding a home in the last one
where each heart beat I heard
beat a loving bum-bum;
where each best friend was a brother or sister;
where I looked forward to going each day,
that school I had loved got ripped away
and I was sent spiraling,
tumbling,
into a dark abyss,
and my life slipped
out of my grasp.
The reins were taken from my hands,
and I couldn’t help but hate
the new place where I was placed.

And while it’s true I’ve made new friends,
their heart beats I don’t hear;
maybe I have deafened ears.
But that can’t be true,
that can’t be right,
because when I walked into the hospital room that night,
the night Nona was sick,
I heard a bum-bum
and I knew that it had come
from her.

Though she couldn’t speak,
not even a word,
no mijita or hija
or I love yous for me,
her heart beat told me everything.
Each bum-bum
an orchestra in my mind,
each bum-bum
a sign she was still alive,
each bum-bum
an I love you,
each bum-bum
an apology for being sick,
each bum-bum
became a promise.
A promise to speak and laugh with me again,
a promise to make it another day,
so that she could be there when I graduate.

And for each promise she made,
I made one back.
Bum-bum, I promise to visit;
bum-bum, I promise to call;
bum-bum, I promise to love you;
bum-bum, I promise to stay;
bum-bum, I promise to care
and think about you every day.
And when she made it,
when she left the hospital and smiled,
when she spoke for the first time,
when she looked me in the eye
and said she loved me,
I couldn’t help but cry and
shoot up a thank you prayer
because I didn’t know how I’d live
without her here.

So each day,
I worked hard not to break
any promise I’d made;
and when I’d make a mistake
I wouldn’t let it happen twice
because she’d made me value life,
time, and the home I had in her heart
again.
So when I visit,
and I hear her heart’s bum-bum,
it reminds me of the homes I’ve had
and the person I was and have become.

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