Just opening and closing the screen door behind me was an important experience. I’d rarely leave home all alone and without feeling reluctance. Walking down the sidewalk, under the canopy of tall trees, I’d warily notice the (suddenly) silent neighborhood kids who stood warily watching me. Nervously, I’d arrive at the grocery store to hear there the sounds of the gringo, reminding me that in this so-big world I was a foreigner. But if leaving home was never routine, neither was coming back. Walking toward our house, climbing the steps from the sidewalk, in summer when the front door was open, I’d hear voice beyond the screen door talking in Spanish. For a second or two I’d stay, linger there listening. Smiling, I’d hear my mother call out, saying in Spanish, “Is that you, Richard?” Those were her words, but all the while her sounds would assure me: You are home now. Come closer inside. With us. “Sí,” I’d reply.
from “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” by Richard Rodriguez, found in Multitude: Cross-Cultural Readings for Writers, 2nd edition, edited by Chitra B. Divakaruni