We departed Hawaii at around 1pm Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time. I was started to feel extremely weary, but as before was unable to sleep for too long. I re-read the book of memories and farewells, again feeling so lucky for the years in Australia. My mind started to drift into my memories of El Salvador. How different would it be? Will I be able to reconnect with my old friends? What sort of job will I be having over there? What about church? Will I forget my English?
The memories of home came rushing into my mind, and the excitement of going back was increasing by the minute, now that we were getting closer. I couldn´t possibly wait to see my beloved country again! Indeed, being an exile in Australia made me rethink my Salvadoran identity. From shame and disrespect, I became proud of my blood, of the Indigenous heritage that is undeniable in me. I was so keen to return to El Salvador and re-embrace a culture I somewhat despised 4 years ago, to cultural places and expressions I was previously ashamed of. As I was journeying across the Pacific, I was looking forward to being home. A different Vernon about to see home through a different perspective.
I was not shocked to see that the sunset was rapidly approaching. I was already used to the idea of travelling against the sun, in this madness where the clocks ticked against logic, and the biological cycles had already crashed long time ago. As the darkness swallowed our plane, the blue Pacific fused with the pitch black sky. The flashing light on the wing was the only reminder of our eastward journey into the void.
A few hours later, an ocean of lights started to appear in the horizon in front of us: an unequivocal sign that we were approaching the huge metropolis of Los Angeles. It was around 9pm Pacific Standard Time when we started to descend into continental American soil. I could see the characteristic square grid of a typical Spanish-founded city, and the city lights that had no end. Here I was again, in LAX, just like many other times in the past. A known territory, a gateway to the Americas, the last petrol station before arriving at our destination.