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Going (Coming) Home
by Eva Peskin | 2009
Nungi dem Cité.
Can you take five?
We are going much too fast, and I am not wearing a seatbelt. I have to tense my arm against the door, and even then I am still terrified that a stray goat or cow will send us flying off the road to certain death. How am I in this place? In the back of a taxi that has no floor, no seatbelts, and is upholstered in leopard print polyester, with people who are like me but not like me at all. They don't know me.
It's absurd how easy that was. The meter counts another 40 cents. I wonder where my driver is from? I always feel too silly asking.
I can tell that Jillian is also very nervous. We should say something. But what would we say?
I ask myself this question and look out on a landscape that has become familiar. Familiar? That is an overstatement. What do you call it when you recognize the places you see but you don't know them?
Even the night is a different color blue. I think it is because the moon is in a different place than it is at home. (home where?) If only the taxi-man would slow down, maybe my heart could stop beating so fast. Maybe my arm could relax.
Back in my neighborhood now. My feet know what it feels like to walk on these streets. I know the orange-purple sky so well I don't see it anymore.
My friends are in the back, crammed together behind the plexi-glass partition. I twist myself around in my seat to try and join the conversation, but I think that makes the driver nervous. Straightening up, I twist my neck to look behind, but I missed the beginning of that story. I don't know what they are talking about anymore. I ask, but they can't hear me either. I don't mind, it won't matter once we get there.
How am I in this place? In the backseat, desperately gripping the door handle, the wind blows in my face so I can't hear the taxi-man's radio. I am not in the same place as the other tubaabs, I can't hear them either. Or I'm just not listening.
What if I die in this taxi? What if this taxi-man kills us all with his insanely reckless driving? I miss my friends, I miss my mom, I miss the subway. What if someone I know is riding in a taxi right now, looking out the window? But it's 6 in the morning there. The skies are not the same. When my eyes are closed, I'm nowhere.
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