Finally I crossed the border into a familiar place. The town had no signs to tell me that I was close to home, but the smell of the fields reminded me of happy childhood days, and the way that the woman at the grocer’s looked at me with her cockeyed grin, half-focused on me, half on the broken piece of glass lodged in the stucco wall behind me, I knew that familiar was for a reason.
There were so many stages in getting here—so many roads I’d tried and abandoned, that when I took out my map of Arizona I could see the outline of my own body taking form. Highway 88 intersected my collarbone in blue, which should have made things easy enough, but even traversing your own body doesn’t always make it easy to find a place you can call home.
I put down my rucksack. It was heavy with food I’d bought but never ate, and presents I’d picked up along the way just in case I found mom and Ben. They were waiting for me just where I’d left them—in my last dream, when I was eight years old. They live in a lighthouse now, or so Ben told me, but he’d stuffed so much red licorice into his mouth that I wasn’t quite sure what he was saying. Maybe he was just asking if I liked their new house. I couldn’t see it at first, but I couldn’t find her either. Once she appeared, everything made sense and she took me by the hand and led me up the lighthouse steps.
I’d never seen anything shimmer so much in my life. I could feel the reflection all over me, into me, like a golden blanket without a name. Across the sea was the island where you can still find everyone you’ve ever loved, so I closed my eyes and made a wish. I haven’t opened them yet, but when I do, I’m really hoping that you’ll be there.