The Body can Mend

November 6, 2010
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I remember my dad telling my mom to be careful. She wouldn’t go out of the house in days; too afraid she might see a policeman. I remember my dad talking with his lawyer about my mother’s problem, begging him if there was any way for the process to go faster. I remember watching the news, and watching our president sit there and support it. I remember my dad screaming at the TV in a pitiful rage that got him nowhere. I remember my mom driving extra slow, and all the cars beeping and zooming past her. I remember how nervous she got and how she screamed at me to have my seat belt on when she saw a cop car. When it left, she breathed in what seemed like seconds. I remember feeling the rage, feeling so ANGRY that tears stung my eyes. I remember wishing at night that my mother could be a citizen of the United States.

I was thirteen when I flew to Mexico on my own. The warm smiles on my grandparent’s face convinced me that I should come more often. I remember, on the ride home from the airport, all the questions my grandma asked. I remember seeing my tia for the first time in years; her dark skin, short hair, and unmistakable illusion lit up smile. It was like I was Santa brining her the greatest present in the world. I remember the tightness in my chest when I saw my Aunt Estela. The photographs of my mother around the house hit me with a realization so painful I didn’t want to return home. My mother couldn’t be here, she couldn’t visit her family, hadn’t seen her sister since she was eight, hadn’t seen her mother in 15 years. But I remember driving with my grandpa that day, and seeing the farmers sweat their tired backs I knew I was nowhere near the only one. There were people just like my mom everywhere.
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I remember loving everything about my Mexican culture. I remember every different celebration we had meant a small smidge closer to who we really were in my household. I remember being scared when my uncle was caught without a license. I was afraid he’d be deported, but later was discovered he can’t leave us because of that. I remember how afraid my mother described him, how he almost had a phobia of the police as well.
I remember every Christmas was the only time of the year people laughed real laughs and not fake ones. I remember in thanksgiving how they drank red wine instead of beer. I remember my tia always checking in, making sure that my mother was driving carefully. I remember feeling rage and disappointment when I heard the movies discuss how all humans were equal. I remember screaming it was a lie, comparing to how they treated anyone who wasn’t white. No one in particular is to blame, but that doesn’t erase the messages they have sent us. Dropping our self-esteem, sending negative vibes toward us.


I remember my mom dismissing the problems that came upon the TV. I remember seeing the memories shift through her face as she watched the videos I brought from Mexico. I remember her laughing at the stupid things said on there; then me joining her. I remember my uncle and aunt watching it with her, and even from my room I could hear them crack jokes at each other. I remember the care and unmistakable need of my aunt’s voice in the living room, wanting to see my great grandma but knowing she couldn’t. I remember the first time I saw my mom’s eyes turn red while watching the home videos from México. And I realized my abuela did the same when she saw ours. They were telling her to come home, in the video. Telling her to come and visit so she could have her favorite shrimp and fish again. My mom sighed sarcastically, saying one day she would be there, then laughed to hide her discomfort. I didn’t say anything, just stared at the screen. If I couldn’t let go of México in my few visits, how could my mother? At night I cry for her, because I know she will never cry for herself.

I vowed there, that before my great grandma died, my mom would be in México.

With papers.





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