he starts a new job, today. or at least a new position, with a right official title: Manager, Web Communications & Innovations, UPEI.

a “real” job, my mother would say. she and i, who’ve both worked all our lives, have never quite had one.

i’m going to call him “Guv’nor.” or just “Sir.” i think the hat makes him look extra respectable.

i flew home from Korea six years ago today. we were wanderers, itinerants, de-coupled from any of the systems that make this culture run. we had no place in the order of things, no niche. he was a bad boy sort, a 3 am philosopher trying to leave the cigarettes in the dust. my mother asked him point-blank how he planned to support me. i told her i had no need to be supported.

i was wrong. i didn’t know. but he’s held me up, through my rage and sorrow when Finn died. through the sleeplessness of two babies with colic. through this through-the-looking-glass adventure into academia, which owns me and strains me and makes me feel small and brittle too many busy mornings. we have scrambled, these six years, to establish some kind of a place here: to belong, to become embedded in the structure of the place. to see whether we could succeed.

it’s him who’s done it. six years in, and we are finally and for sure no longer staving off another junket as expat English teachers.

and i sigh with relief, and gratitude. because i needed to know it was possible: that even if the American dream is pretty much a sham, and no success ever means security, that sometimes, still, the good guys do okay.

even if my mother still thinks of him as ‘the bad boy.’
***

what does it mean to you to be ‘supported’?