Waiting for Home
by Martina Gallegos

Until the beginning of my teen years, I lived with my family in a modest two-bedroom, one small kitchen my parents built after marriage. Originally, our home was only one bedroom and no kitchen. We had no restroom either, and we took care of our business practically in the open, only to be ridiculed by our two-story home neighbors.

Eventually, mom divided our one bedroom into two and asked someone to build another bedroom to her specifications, and that, in turn, became dad’s bedroom, and I felt sad that my parents were in different bedrooms and no longer telling us bedtime stories, and I kept waiting for the day we could all share the same bedroom again.

Many times, I despaired when I saw that other families had parties and lots of good food my family didn’t and would never have, and I wanted to run away from home, but I didn’t know where or how I’d do it. And because I never had peace anywhere, I am still waiting for that elusive peaceful and loving home.

PAINTING: Bungalow by Howard Arkley (1987)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After I graduated from university as a bilingual elementary school teacher and got a job, I figured it was time to start thinking about buying a house, but it wasn’t meant to be until more than 20 years later. After saving all I could for the down payment, I applied for a house at a project for first-time, low-income buyers, but because of unethical people involved in the project, I almost didn’t get my brand-new house. After toppling all kinds of barriers, I got my house and moved in with my then three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. And just as the process had begun with problems, it continued for 20 years and became my American nightmare instead of my American Dream. To this day, I continue to fight housing injustices and discrimination. I’m hoping to sell the nightmare and finally be able to purchase a part of the true American Dream.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martina Gallegos was born and raised in Mexico. While recuperating from a work injury and stroke, she earned a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Her work has appeared in the Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology (2015 and 2017), Hometown Pasadena, Spirit Fire Review, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Birch Press, Basta!, and others.  She was named one of the San Gabriel Valley’s top poets, and was a semi-finalist in an amateur national poetry competition. She lives in Oxnard, California.