Why Don’t You Stay?


The moon glistened, and the fireflies roamed across the street on my grandfathers land. There he kept his chickens, his cows, his grown vegetables and plantains. The lights have gone out, and I remember being frightened. My mom used to tell my siblings and I stories of how fireflies were the spirits of those who have passed away.

I thought this was true and I was terrified of them coming to close. That night no fireflies flew into our home, and the lights still remained off. Everyone in the neighborhood sat on their porches waiting for the electricity to come back on. 

It was beautifully cool that night. The stars shinned bright. I remember thinking how beautiful my parents birthplace was. I never see stars in New York I told my grandmother. 

My father sat in a plastic chair on the porch talking to my grandfather about his businesses and the life of a New Yorker. “Life over there is crazy,” he said. My father took a sip of his coconut water and said, “I appreciate the United States. It has given my children and I a lot of opportunities but I miss my country.” 

My grandmother told my parents, “Why don’t you guys stay?” They both looked at each other and said, “The children. They were born over there. They barely can speak Spanish right.” They laughed.

My grandmother cried every time we left back to the States. I never forget seeing her from outside the car window, waving and crying. How much I miss her. Sometimes I wonder what life would’ve been if I did stay and lived those last few years she had with her.

Its crazy, one moment she was alive asking over the phone when we were going to go visit her and now when I go over there all I have left to visit is her grave.

Somedays I feel like I can still feel her presence when I smell a certain perfume or see a firefly or butterfly.

I used to be scared of spirits visiting but now I know if she visits I am safe.

On days when I miss her, I think about that day. The lights out, the cool breeze, my dad drinking his coconut water, me staring at the fireflies and my grandmother asking why don’t we stay?