Riding on the train from New York to Chicago was pretty uneventful. My mother sat quietly for the majority of the way, I honestly think I was getting on her nerves with all my questions. When she would talk, she would mention the M&Ms and how she couldn’t wait to share them with me.
Chicago was different from New York, it’s vibe and rhythm was different. We took public transportation to my mother’s apartment. My ponytails kept smacking my cheeks from whipping my head back and forth absorbing all the scenes. All the new faces and different architecture. I just took it all in, just as I was getting use to all the signs, colors and people we arrived to our finial stop, me and my mother collected all my stuff and got off the bus. We walked two blocks to a tan brick apartment building. We were home.
Mom had already explained that the building was owned by her aunt and my sister and brother were staying with her. We knocked on the door and my aunt did not appear particularly excited to see me. She mentioned she hadn’t seen me since I was a baby and that was about it. While my aunt was talking, my attention was drawn to all the little faces, two of six of these kids, belong my sister and brother. The kids ran up to me touching on my dress and coat, then one of them opened up one of my suitcases. Listen, let me say this, even though I am was the oldest of three kids, I was the youngest cousin in the first crop of grandkids and was the only girl at my grandparents… I was spoiled and did not share well with others, so this was unnerving, but these kids looked way tougher them my cousins at home, so I resisted the urge to stop them.
My mom who’s disposition hadn’t improved, seem to be over this reunion and called out for my sister and brother to come on so we can go upstairs. Emerging out of the small brown faces were my sister Charlie and brother Lee.
Charlie was the same complexion of my mother and had a massive amount of thick hair on top of her head. It looked like she had four ponytails at one point. I stared at her looking for something that resembles what I see when I look in the mirror. Lee was the youngest, he had just turned four and super cute and was also the same complexion of my mother. In that moment I realized I was the darkest member of my “new” family. While still processing everything, my new sister and brother ran past me, out the door, and I heard them running upstairs. My mother grabbed my bags and tightly gripped my hand and walked me out the door. As we asked up the stairs, I realized my mother was muttering something under her breath as her grip got tighter and tighter. By time we reached the top of the staircase, I was in so much pain and was confused, then the door to the apartment opened and I think for the first time I allowed my tears flow. The apartment was small, but clean, but dark. There was a naked queen size mattress in the middle of the floor, a small table, three chairs and that was it. Before I can get too upset, I remembered the M&M’s and on cue my new little sister asked, “Do you want to see our M&M’S?” She grabbed my hand and walked me over the table where there was a bowl with folded up pieces of paper.
“Do you want to pick an M&M?”