“I know what it is to suffer, and I know what it is to love, and at the end of the day, I’m so grateful for everything because there is love.”
“Cucumber and Tomato Salad”
Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Homesickness
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
You slice up the cucumber and tomatoes, inhaling the freshness. It brings with it the feeling of sunshine and healthiness. You dice them up and dump them in a bowl. The basil leaves snap as you pluck them off the plant, ripping them up into smaller pieces to mix in with the green and red cubes. Olive oil, salt, and balsamic vinegar enter the mix. You stir it all together until all the ingredients make the salad.
Your mom’s cucumber and tomato salad was one of the first things you made for yourself in Scotland. Once the sun started to come out and the temperature rose, you had the urge to make it. It reminds you of summer—it has that taste of the South and simple comforts. You don’t have any BBQ or tortellini salad to go with it, but it will do. You remember a time when you didn’t like it; the balsamic vinegar made you snub your nose at it.
Now you always crave it.
So much is wrapped up in the few simple ingredients.
So many memories of home.
Maybe you made it because you miss home. The homesickness has crept in deeper than you realize.
You’re aware of the little things you’re not doing with your family. All the foods you aren’t sharing with them as summer creeps along. It’s not like you won’t go home again; you just feel the separation. You feel like Samwise Gamgee leaving the Shire, thinking, “If I take one more step, I’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”
The basil reminds you of the back porch and bright sunlight woods. Tomatoes make you think back to the summers when the tomato plant on the side yard would get out of control, and there would be too many little red fruits. The cucumber just tastes of a Georgia summer. You chew on the visceral memories, feeling the sensations rather than seeing anything in particular.
You stand in the kitchen, eating your salad while you stare out the window at the vibrant garden with the blue gate and wild ivy. You love it here, but you still miss home.