One is from where one is from, but in my case, I am from where I was given to understand I was, which was the USA, though the place I am actually from remains the Oriental Republic of Uruguay [hereinafter ORU] to which I retain absolutely no attachment formal or cordial. There I first saw the light of day–would it operate upon me, that austral angle of light, exciting primitive recollections suggesting something ancestral, something rooted? In the fourth year of my present exile, I departed the ORU and came away to the place of my origin: the USA [The States, as we say when we are not here, as in Minnesota they say The Cities or in California The Bay Area; or as is common to say in our part of the solar system, Earth].
Now I depart once again these United States, where half of my sojourn so far has been located and from which it appears I am. My passport tells me so. Yet whiter I go is a place I return to, a place of having been, where life has been valid, to which after some twenty-three years [hereinafter 23] I have the honor of setting foot on again in a good running shoe, watching its troubled evenings, hearing the sounds of the traffic and hawkers, perambulating its dirty streets and splendid, watching the waxing and waning of lights in the metro, feeling the exhalations of stale air pushed by the trains in those dry, crooked entrails of the city.
An Embraer jet from Columbus to Houston; a bit of a scramble in the sprawl of the Bush Airport and an A320 from there to the Benito Juarez Airport; a hope that a checked bag will arrive on the same airplane at the same time. The midnight should be quiet there when we arrive, the airport full of those unnecessary distances these become when deserted. A quick and easy trip along the empty streets. Perhaps a friendly taxi driver to whom I shall say I have not been here in 23 years, nor am I from here, but for now I have returned.