Michelle Fessler, Transatlantic

Every summer, it just happened and I never had to question it. Like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, I knew that every summer Mom would be packing three bags. We shared the biggest of the bags, always stuffed to the brim with clothes. I proudly toted my own bag on my back, but eventually Mom took away the burden. My stuffed dalmatian, crayons, Juicy Fruit, Gameboy, and batteries were too heavy. Mom’s bag was the smallest; inside she kept our passports, two one-way tickets, and her cigarettes.


Five-thousand miles later, we’d turn onto an old stone road. My Nonna waved at us from down the street, standing outside her brick house.


The summers smelled like tomato, basil, oregano. The days were warm and lazy. My English was nearly useless and that was OK. All that mattered was my mom, and Mario, Valentino, and Concetta, Nunzia, and Rosaria, Josefine, and my Nonna, saying, “Eat, eat, eat!”


These summers continued until my passport expired.


One morning, way too early, a phone call woke us up. We renewed my passport.


Date of issue / Date de déivrance / Fecha de expedición

29 Apr 2009


I packed the bags. One for me, and one for my mom, filled with black clothes and a grayed dalmatian. Somehow, Mom booked the tickets.


Several flights and train rides with no sleep, we’d turn onto an old stone road. No one waited outside the old brick house.


We dropped off our bags, and someone took us to the morgue. After two weeks dragged on, we left.


We left the Old World, and now my passport has expired.


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