I’ve always been fascinated by the way birds gather together when it’s time to migrate from a place to another. Maybe it’s because I’m from a family full of immigrants, people who have decided to leave everything behind and try their luck elsewhere.
I myself am an immigrant; I moved from a small town in South Italy to London when I was 19 but, unlike birds, family and friends were all left behind as I boarded on a plane excited to see what was on the other side.
The first time I came to London my mum was with me to help me move in my student accommodation. It was September 15th three years ago when I had to say goodbye to her at the departures gate in Gatwick airport. I would have seen her again after only two months, but the idea was already killing me. It sounds crazy if I think about it now. Now that it’s been three months since I’ve seen her last time and won’t see her until Christmas. It’s weird how time changes everything, how we get used to missing the people we love and somehow manage to find more people to love and miss.
Mum used to be the person whom I shared secrets, worries and dreams with but since I had left something changed. I seem to have grown up far too much and far too quickly for her and she found herself coping with the loss of two important people, her friend and her daughter.
Personally, it never was in my intensions to hurt her or become so distant, but I guess time and the thousands of miles that separate us did all the work. Everything changed even more when I met someone new, someone I would care about so deeply to be afraid to leave them, even only for an hour. I met Megan, who is now my girlfriend, nine months ago. I told my mum straight away and, since the beginning, she knew that this was going to last, I was in love and she knew what that meant. I would distance myself even more from her because I didn’t need her anymore, at least that’s what she thought.
Mum has always been a very insecure person, always afraid to be replaced by someone else. What scared her the most wasn’t the fact that I would love Megan more than I love her because she knew that a love for a mother is well different from the love for a girlfriend. What really scared her - and still does - was the fact that I may never go back home to Italy because I’m planning a life over here, miles away from her.
I come from a family full of immigrants and every time someone moves away the preoccupation of never seeing them again exceeds the excitement by far.