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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Mena


Updated: Jan 16

Stories from a Bay Window

September 6, 2020

“Mom, can you play this? It’s the only thing that helps me sleep.” We were driving back on i580 after a day spent in Berkeley. A day when the smoke and air quality were so poor from all the wild

fires, we could vaguely see the Oakland skyline as we drove by. And there he was, my son, my most treasured gift, exhausted and sleeping on the passenger seat of my car. We were in the thick of the pandemic, and he had a few hours free from all the jobs he had to take in order to stay afloat, after he lost his main source of income. And he wanted me to play “Return 2” from Max Richter’s album, Sleep.

Listening to this music while watching him sleep was heart wrenching. He was becoming an independent young adult, something that was difficult for me to accept, but something I had to respect and honor. In a life wrought by hardships, God had remembered me and gifted me with unconditional love. How do you let go of that? You don’t. But today, he was mine. All mine. And we were riding on an empty highway, an anomaly in the Bay Area, and I found myself thanking my lucky stars for this time. This surreal time of experiencing and navigating a world crisis, never seen before, with a soul who had come and cleansed me from years of neglect. A soul who came to be with me during this time.

It was five in the afternoon. The rays of light, weak from battling the smoke, enveloped the road. And this music...this music that I had never heard before, pierced through it all. It seemed written for us today. For this time. For all of us holding tight. Holding tight to our existence. To our humanity. To all that’s truly meaningful. Holding tight to those we love.

Sleep, my angel. Sleep…

Alexandra Mena

July 2023

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