Great Openings Contest Nonfiction 3rd Place: Never Far From Home by Mabel Ninan

Never Far from Home

I opened my eyes and fought back the dread as I watched my husband pack his laptop. It was a typical wintery morning in New Jersey. Through the gap in the window blinds I saw the sky unpacking snow on everyone and everything below. Our apartment was situated on a busy street in Jersey City. People in the streets were on the move, walking and driving hurriedly, as though they could not wait to escape the snow.

My husband kissed me on the forehead and whispered goodbye before leaving for work. He looked fresh and happy, ready to take on another new day. Oblivious to the sorrow that was fermenting in my mind, he smiled at me as he closed the door behind him.

I forced myself to smile back and waved him goodbye. I closed my eyes and held my blanket closer. A wave of cold crept into my soul. I felt completely alone, not just in the apartment, but also in the city, in the country. No family. No friends. No purpose.

Why should I wake up? Who is waiting for me? I drifted in and out of sleep.

Trapped in an unending cycle of loneliness and despair, I had nowhere to go.

But I traveled. I explored memories of a life I lived a few months, a few years ago, in a faraway land… India. A land of spices and religions, ancient customs and traditions, and hundreds of languages and cultures. My birthplace and home. A lifetime ago.

My eyes still closed, I went back in time to my childhood in Hyderabad, a bustling city nestled in the south of India. My sister and I had completed our homework for the day after returning from school, and rushed outside to play hopscotch with other children from our neighborhood. An hour went by. Maybe two, before Mom hollered at us to come back inside the house. It was dinner time. Sweaty, thirsty, and exhausted, Joy and I raced back home to devour the rice, dal (lentil soup), and potato dish that Mom had prepared for us.

Note from Inspire Christian Writers: This piece has been reformatted for the Web.


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