As I neared the check-out lines, I overheard one of the clerks saying something about Bangladesh to another. When he saw I was ready to be rang up, he quickly scampered over and got into position behind the till. While he was scanning my purchases I asked, “did I hear you mention Bangladesh?” and he smiled shyly. “Yes Ma’am,” he said, with a heavy Hindi accent. Smiling, I asked, “And how long has it been since you’ve been there?” His brown eyes, the color of warm honey, glistened “Two years, Ma’am.”
Impulsively, I told him that I was an immigrant once, am a citizen now and that I know what it’s like to be far from home.
Smiling broadly, he told about his Permanent Residence status and, in another two years (I heard yea-uhs), he can apply for citizenship.
“Well, that’s just wonderful; good luck to you” I said, smiling.
He handed me my packages and, grinning broadly, said, “Thank you, Ma’am, Thank you” and with a dip of his head, I knew he wasn’t talking about the purchases I’d just made.
“Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was.”
— Jodi Picoult
Our starting points couldn’t be more different but we enjoyed a kinship in the journey.