Five Dollars

We crossed the border—with our feet. My heart raced; people stared; we needed help. Barbed wire fences surrounded all the cars and people’s houses. I stood waiting for this six ft. tall guy to check our family. The guard had us put all of our belongings in a black tub to go through a machine. He checked our IDs and passport, and we walked through a machine to check for weapons. While inside the building, I looked out the tinted windows. I didn’t know what I was getting my fifteen-year-old self into. ‘This is not a town like what I’ am used to seeing.’ Finally after about an hour, we were able to get through. The guards who were checking our passports had to make sure all the information was valid. After that long time of sitting there, we were finally free at last—free to enter Mexico.

Once we crossed the border of Mexico, I saw streets and streets of markets. We walked in a straight line; my dad was first, then my sister Ashley, then my sister Sym, then me, then my mom, so we wouldn’t get lost. People yelled and screamed in Spanish because they wanted us to come to their stores. Little kids and many teens walked around selling rusted earrings and trinkets and many more little things that people would buy for less than nothing. One boy played the accordion; he followed us for a while because my dad kept putting U.S. dollars in his little bucket he was carrying. We continued walking and trying to stay in our straight line so that I wouldn’t get lost or left behind. I swear there were about a million people walking in this little town. We walked by several little shops with people screaming, trying to make a deal with us to buy their products. Sometimes I would be looking, and they would speak in Spanish so fast that I had no idea what they were trying to tell me or even sell to me.

After I had all my shakes and nervousness out, a little girl approached me. She wore a dirty brown wrinkled skirt and a pink mud stained shirt, which was too small for her. Her hair was pulled back in a greased pony tail, which looked like she had been wearing for years. The girl was no more than five years old. Walking the opposite way of our family, she carried a flat cardboard box. On top of it lay Chick Lit gum in packs of five. They were all lined up by color: pink, blue, and green. We stopped at a stand, looking at some sunglasses. The little gum girl looked up at my family and asked in broken English, “Do you want some gum? It’s only one cent.” My dad pulled a five-dollar bill out of his wallet and handed it to her. She tried to give it back. I picked out three packs of gum, only the pink ones. Then, the little girl started crying. I was lost in my own train of thoughts, trying to figure out what in the world I did wrong. ‘Why is she crying and why didn’t she take my money?’ Well, I went to turn around, and the little girl took off, walking with the money. We followed her to the street over next, and she stopped at a trash pile leaned up against the wall. The girl’s mother was sitting in the trash pile with flies all around her. The little girl showed her mom the money. Her mom said. “Did you steal this?” The little girl pointed back to us. My dad said, “We gave it to her because she sold us some gum.” The mom hugged the little girl so tightly and said in broken English worse than the little girl’s English, “That’s one week worth of supply. You’re done.” I looked at my dad in shock and said, “Did she just say for a week?”
“ Yea, she really did, Lyndzy!” It is crazy how just five dollars created such a lasting and most peaceful memory for me. Many people in our country take everything for granted. That five dollars did my heart some good that day!





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