The wall with two sides, the land of the free and the land of broken dreams. At the age of nine I had to learn what separation really means. Driving to the bus station with my parents in an unknown land. They really thought that I didn’t understand. I knew by the look in my father’s eye that my life was about to change, that at the age of nine I would have to grow up and put my Barbie’s to the side. What I didn’t know was that the man who helped give me life was literally dying inside.
As he walks up to the counter he purchases two bus tickets, with tears in my eyes I ask him “Papi, are you not coming with us?” Instant feelings of abandonment, rage, and frustration, but I knew better, for I was Daddy’s girl. He looked at me and said “Mija I will never leave you, I’ll always be looking out for you. Your mother just needs you to look out for her, just as I need to take care of your sister and brother” The bus pulls up and I feel my heart breaks tiny pieces. This is the first time in my life that I have to say goodbye.
After a 3-day bus ride my mother calls my father to let him know we have arrived in Durango, Mexico. With a face full of tears, I demanded to know what was going on, I had to listen to my father and take care of my mother. Little did I know that later on I would find out that my father was suffering from stomach cancer and panic attacks. They would always refuse to give me the answer.
We pull up to a little village called “La Mesa De Navar” with the population of fifty people. Half of them already elders. This was my mother’s hometown and she was so proud of it. Constantly I smiled to not let her know how I really felt inside. I was miserable sometimes I even thought about suicide, don’t forget I was only age nine.
The months passed and I eventually learned to call his place home. I learned a new language, manners, and the meaning of hard work. Not a day went by that I didn’t feel alone. I knew deep inside we both felt the same it’s been months since we’ve seen the rest of our family this caused us to be filled with such agony.
The hot summer days finally began to chill down, I lost track of time and soon enough it was almost Christmas. On December 24th as prepared to go to bed I prayed to god to heal all this pain. Bring me my family at least for a day. At midnight I woke to my sister jumping on my bed. “Thank you god” I whispered as I hugged her so tight. My brother walks in throwing presents on my bed, I can’t hold it in anymore tears are rolling down my face. I run out to the living room to find my parents in an embrace. My life felt complete again, my heart started to race. The best gift I could ask for.
The holidays passed and I knew inside my heart that I didn’t want to leave her but it was something that had to be done. My sister decided to take my place, just out of high school her entire life was about to change. We said our goodbyes and once again my heart filled with Agony because a huge part of me stayed in Mexico with my sister and mother. At that point I was even starting to lose my faith. My parents raised us to be strong catholic believers, they even put me in catholic school during my time in Mexico. I kept asking to god “Why are you punishing us? What have I done wrong? I’m only a child who needs both her parents how could you be so cruel?”
For the next seven years I spent every winter and summer break in that sweet little village. I learned to love and respect it because that place was now a part of me. I learned to be humble and donated all my toy’s to the little boys and girls who painted on rocks and made dolls from rags. I learned to this life style and put all my anger aside. For all I really wanted was to show my mother my pride had finally died.
I looked forward to every summer, while my friends went on epic family vacations: I couldn’t wait to be next to my mother. To live my simple life making handmade tortillas or making cheese from scratch. Volunteering my time to the village and finally giving back. I restored my faith in god for I knew this was just another challenge. If I could overcome this, I could face anything.
Once again everything changed. I remember it was a hot summer day it’s like it happened in slow motion like in the movies I used to play. My father’s cell phone rang… It was the immigration lawyer saying that my mother’s charges have been dropped she could finally come back to the states.
Oh dear Wall you have changed my life, for others would be angry but why should I? You gave my life new meaning something I’ll always cherish. I found my voice that I lost when I told my father goodbye at that train station. Now every December 24th I go back to that little village that treated me right. I give back what I can to my elders and all the children who always have hope. No donation is too little in the eyes of that town. A place that I once thought that was full of broken dreams has now turned into my sanctuary. I wouldn’t have found that if it wasn’t for that wall that helped me discover my dreams.