Lost Dreams | Teen Ink

Lost Dreams

June 25, 2009
By Elsie Dominguez BRONZE, Heber, California
Elsie Dominguez BRONZE, Heber, California
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Out on the heat of the sun, there was a young migrant worker named Juan. Juan was a 22 year old Mexican looking for a better way to provide for his wife and 3 month old daughter. All three of them had recently moved from Monterrey, Mexico to the desert of the Imperial Valley in Southern California. Juan wanted to be something bigger, much more than just a poor farm worker. He loved to read and dreamed of one day becoming a famous writer. Even though he was surrounded by the people he loved the most, he felt an emptiness inside. It was a feeling that neither love nor money could occupy. It was the necessity of being someone important and being appreciated for his talents in writing.

Every day, Juan would wake up at four in the morning, just before dawn. His wife Maria would cook eggs and franks with beans and homemade flour tortillas everyday because they couldn’t afford anything else. Juan would then go out to work in the fields harvesting cantaloupes, lettuce, or whatever was in season at the time. He worked very hard for sixteen hours and during his lunch break, he would sit down and read a book.

As he worked, he dram of one day being a famous writer and being able to give his family what they never had. His daydreaming helped him go through every day of hard and labourous work. At the end of the day, all he wanted to do was to go home with his family and rest. Yet his thoughts about becoming a writer never left his mind. Juan tried to tell Maria about his dreams, about becoming someone famous or important in is life. Maria just looked at him and laughed. Who were they kidding? They were just a poor Mexican family that nobody cared about because everyone was too busy with fighting the war and getting through the hard times that the Great Depression brought. Every time Juan told his wife about his dreams, she would just smile and tell him to be happy with what he had because his dreams could never come true. Juan desperately wished someone knew how he felt. He longed for someone to take him serious. If the war and the Great Depression wasn’t happening, things would be a lot easier.

But they weren’t. As the U.S. economy fell so did jobs and their wages. Soon enough Juan and his family were only eating beans and tortillas because that is all they could afford. At night he would tell little Alicia his stories. She just looked at him and smiled and soon fell asleep. Juan felt very lonely. He wished he could talk to his dreams and how it could make their lives better but she always laughed. She was happy knowing that they at least got by day by day and Alicia was too young to know what was going on. All he had was his thoughts and his books.

A few months later during his lunch break, he started writing a story about himself, his family and they way they lived. Little by little, the story grew longer and longer until he felt it was completed. This he kept in his paper bag along with his lunch. Juan worked diligently in order to provide for his family for the next two years until one day he hurt his back while picking onions. He could no longer work so Maria began to work because they needed the little amount of money they received. She was hardly at home and Juan could barely take care of himself, much less a two-year-old girl. Alicia was in the age of getting into everything and would run up and down their small home. They couldn’t afford to visit a doctor because all their money went to buying food.

Juan’s loneliness overcame his dreams as the lack of money didn’t allow for them to come true. Oh how he wished the world was better but everyone else was to busy because of the stupid war and trying to find a way to provide for themselves. He then got used to the idea that his life would never change and that is were he was meant to be. Shortly after his accident, Juan got very sick and besides realizing that his dreams were forever lost, he still felt that loneliness in himself. He lost hope of living a better life, the only reason they had come to the United States in the first place, and died.

Maria and Alicia never understood why he gave up instead of fighting for his life. Then one day when Maria was looking through Juan‘s things, she found the book he had written before he hurt his back. As she read it, she learned more and more about her deceased husband’s dreams. Juan was just looking for a better way to live and to provide for them and what better way than to do what he loved the most. Too late now that Juan was already dead and they were stuck in the same place they started with. Maria would always live with the feeling of guilt and regret of her rejection to Juan’s dream. She would never forgive herself for not supporting and believing in him and allowing for his dreams to become lost.

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