It is a poorly hidden secret, for even though I have tried, it is still highly
exposed. "Don't you tell anyone for if you do—to them—you will not matter," I
heard once or twice but in my head a few more times. As a five-year-old, feeling
free and happy, I was told, "We are moving somewhere new." I soon said goodbye
to the land that I played on and to the friends who saw me laugh and cry over a
broken dollhouse that wasn't even mine. All of my family is "over there" and we
do not want to be left behind, that is the reason why we are moving north.
Hi father, hi brothers, how have you been? We are here now, let us celebrate!
I'm happy to be here and happy to see you, shall we stay? My five-year-old
mind danced around.
Before tucking me into bed that night, my mother tells me her plans, "We
will start out here in this little place until we save enough for the nice little house
I saw the other day. Make some room for your sister too." I lay on my side. Full of
delight—with my eyes staring into the dark—my child mind acknowledges that
this is something new. Without too much effort, I notice how this place is four
times smaller than where we used to live. However, my mother tells me we will
be out of this one room house before the year.
Finally, a two bedroom house for our seven-member group. Now I have
the space to get in trouble for running around the house—a luxury the last house
was missing. My mother told me I'll be starting school soon and it does not matter
that I have missed preschool. I ask one of my older brothers to say casa in English
so that I can learn. "House," he pronounces twice. I am proud to have learned my
first English word.
As I run around the yard on a summer evening, I spot something high
above my head that seems to want to play. Full of amazement, I rush inside to brag
to my younger sister that the full moon will not stop following me. "No way that
could be true," my sister doubts.
"Come, and you will see. Watch, I'll start to run towards our left neighbor's
house and when you look up you'll see the moon moving towards me, but it will
stay just a little bit behind."
My little sister starts to run towards the house and shouts, "You are a liar
because the moon is following me!"
Just how can that be? I swear I see it moving left with me, but she sees it
moving south towards her? "Well I think you are the liar," she hears me say back.
We switched places and my mouth swings open, for indeed, the moon
wants me even as I move south.
We walk inside the house and, for the next three years, this piece of sky is
my favorite. I often dream of being a bird so that I can fly up to the clouds every
night and sleep on the white cotton candy fluff. I long to feel, on the surface of
my palms, the unreachable softness of the velvety fibers that make up a cloud in
Soon all my new friends move. I had no idea what they said half of the
time, but they wanted to be my friend despite being three to six years older than I
was. And now, it is our turn to say goodbye to this beige wooden house and to the
new neighbors who never come out. I like this new, sophisticated, blush brick
house with its hints of atmospheric blues that hold peace to my experiencing
The new school tells me with sympathetic eyes, "Oh honey, you can't
stay." I'll have a hard time, they try to explain, but I do not understand.
Tears spill from my eyes. I'll do my homework from now on and I promise
I know English, my old friends only spoke English—I swear I can understand.
They give me two weeks to prove myself, and finally, the decision is made—I
I fight hard to learn everything, just so that I can stay. My family tells me
that by the time I turn 18, I will be American. All I have to do is wait. I should
not worry at all, I'll be lucky enough.
In the meantime, a secret is to be kept. I will not tell anyone I am undocumented,
not even my best friend. "They are taking our jobs," "We do not want you
here," I hear for the first time. I had no idea someone feels this way. Sadness that
rarely visited is planning on moving in. Immediately, I take my dreams and throw
them away. They are unrealistic and I wonder why I wanted to stay when I am
not meant to stay. Just hang on there—I affirm to myself—soon I will be 18. I
keep this so-called secret because I have no other place to go.
When I finally turned 18 many things had changed, but the one thing I have
been waiting to change is still much the same. It has been 15 years since my feet
last walked around Mexico. The footprints my shoes once left on the Jalisco soil
have long-since been faded. How much longer must I wait? My dull smile is weary;
in my heart, this feels unfair.
I hear you, you say, "One day."
This submission, written by a fellow Mogul, beautifully depicts the excitement, confusion, fear, and courage that comes with being an immigrant child. The author highlights the main thing immigrant children are taught; to hide, to blend in, and to strive to be their best. As an immigrant myself, this essay hit home in many ways.
To the author, thank you for giving DREAMERS a voice.
- M.G.V. Script · "A Journal of Literature and Art." . Page 15. Web. 23 May 2017.
cover image: http://hdw.eweb4.com/out/1393222.html