If I’m going to be honest about this, the moment that lives (and will continue to live) in my memory began at work on a Tuesday evening. I’d been to visit my Mum earlier that day and she’d kindly made me two sandwiches to take to work.
I sent her a message through the little chat window on Gmail thanking her for the sandwiches. We chatted for a bit about how her home internet was working again, and she complained to me about receiving too many e-mails from Facebook. Then all of a sudden:
la tia [name] esta muerta
I didn’t quite understand what she was telling me at first. Somebody had died, but I had three “aunties” with the same name. One was my Father’s sister, and the other two were old family friends (who we tend to also refer to as aunt and uncle). It must have been one of the latter two, that’s sad. But it wasn’t them.
I called Mum who was in tears and through uncontrollable sobs she told me that my aunty had been murdered.
It took me days to process this information and even longer to come to terms with it and accept it as fact. But I will always remember that moment, five years ago, when my life changed and I saw the world through different eyes.
I remember my first trip back to my country of birth, just over ten years ago. It was my first proper chance to get to know the family we’d left behind when we emigrated to Australia fourteen years prior. I stayed for four months and formed a bond with my cousins, aunts and uncles that I’ve been able to build on since, through my constant visits and more recently through social networks and other tools that keep us connected. Although not exactly one specific moment, I still consider it one key moment of my life.
The third moment (again, not technically one moment) was the process of coming out, although if I were to focus on one specific moment it would be coming out to my parents. My Mum already knew (as Mums tend to do) but it was scary nonetheless. I had an inkling from as far back as my early teens, but accepting it was a task in itself. I think telling my parents was probably the crux of it for me and once it was done, a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.