I was always disappointing my mother. It started on the day I was born. My mother had planned a party to celebrate her birthday, but instead of hanging out with her friends and opening presents she wound up in the hospital around the corner from where we lived in Brooklyn, having me. (It was the last time she would have a birthday cake without my name on it.)

Esperanza guards her nest

My parents moved from Brooklyn to the woods and beaches of Long Island because they wanted their children to have all the things they hadn’t had like fresh air and outdoor fun and a good school system and poison ivy. Here, again, I proved a disappointment. I never actually learned to swim (I can float, so I won’t drown right away, but that’s not technically the same thing), the only time I really liked the beach was when it was empty of people (especially if it was raining) and the only time I tried to ice skate I broke my ankle. . .



After I left home I lived in upstate New York, and Maine, and New Jersey, and Manhattan, and the Bronx, and Staten Island, and Mississippi and Spain. (Although you wouldn’t think Mississippi and Spain are very much alike, they do have in common the fact that in both places no one can understand me when I speak their language - the Brooklyn accent doesn’t really travel well.) Eventually I moved to London. Coming to London was like being beamed back in time. The toilet was in the backyard, our bathtub was in what was once the wash house, we had no telephone or central heating, and there were no pizzerias and no pumpkins. But I’m still here (we now have heat, an indoor bathroom, a telephone, central heating, pizza and pumpkins - though I do visit Brooklyn on a regular basis).





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