Chapter 1:. Leaving Logan  

Logan Airport: 11:00 pm

The flight is late departing. A father watches everything from his video camera. His children run, anxious for our 7-hour flight. They misbehave, but he is bored and unexcited. He inspects the human cargo of our flight through the monocle of his high-8 camera. His wife is placid beauty. She naps in the seat beside him. He moves his camera over her head to avoid disrupting his shot.

Eventually we load the plain. There is a quiet competitiveness to get on early. The plain’s belly is bloated with overstuffed luggage; Crystal Lite, baby clothes, Boston Red-Sox t-shirts, crayons, Fubu wear, candies, cheap televisions, new computers, batteries, Jell-O packets, cool aid, games, picture frames, posters, cups, silverware, music, movies, musical instruments. There are even a few coolers loaded with meats and beer. Everyone carries a hand-me-down shirt or a few items bought on the cheap at a factory outlet or bargain basement. These are our gifts.

For those of us going back, they are our signs of success and prosperity. They are expected, but they are appreciated. They are gifts from a fortunate daughter who traded the Cape Verdean passport for an American one.

For those of us visiting, our gifts are our currency of guilt. We exchange them to buy back a connection to a homeland that has grown without us. We offer them because we don’t know what else to offer. We know we will want to give something. >>>