Their Story - Everyday
It took her three months, but she got here. She took the bus, she walked, she jumped on trains, she swam across the deadly Rio Grande, took a bus past the Laredo checkpoint and made it to Austin. The Salvadoran woman told me her story yesterday. This isn't only her story, but yesterday as I listened to her, it was the only story.
She was in the office filling out forms petioning the government to make her young son a resident. "No lo conocia," she told me. Her son came to Austin, from El Salvador, last year on September 16, 2004. He took the same route. It took him three months. I looked at her. She looked at me and repeated, "No lo conocia." I just stared. How could you not know your son? You didn't tell me he was adopted, I thought.
"Es que nada mas nacio, y me vine," she told me, while looking away. She left El Salvador just after her son was born. I'm not sure how long, but it must have been only a couple of months. She had to leave her son because she had no money. She also left a now 18 year old girl and a now 19 year old girl. Her son is 10 years old. She hadn't seen him in 9 years. He didn't know her. She didn't know him.
"Ayer vino con su primera tarea en español," she said. He brought his first English homework. His older sister helped him with it. The mom cried. He told her he felt he was free here. Free, because there's a big playground next to his apartment complex. Free, because he has a bicycle which he can ride around the neighborhood.
The woman mentioned that a gringo had told her he would marry her so that she could fix her papers. He has a house and lives down the street. He said she wouldn't have to pay him. It sounds fishy. My brother told her that if they got married and tried to fix her papers, he would have to go with her to her interview in San Salvador. She laughed.