Monday, January 9, 2012
Fade to Black - Part 2
“My granddaughter has to be somewhere!” I insisted.
“I’m sure she is Lori, but we haven’t found her yet,” the police officer on the other end of the phone informed me.
My doorbell rang, and I hastily thanked the Detective so I could hang up. I rushed to the door in case it was my granddaughter or someone who knew where she was. It was only more cops.
“Mrs. Turner?” They asked.
“Yes?” I replied hesitantly, afraid that they had come to deliver more bad news.
“We’ve come to talk about your daughter and son-in-law.”
I nodded. “Please, come in.”
They got comfortable on my couch but declined any refreshments.
“To get directly to the point, we’re closing the case. As you can see in this transcript of the 911 call, your son-in-law shot your daughter, and then himself.”
I read the paper he handed me.
1:18 AM: Is this an emergency?
Yes! I shot my wife!
Sir, calm down. Is your wife breathing?
No she’s not breathing you stupid bitch! I shot my wife! My beautiful wonderful wife! Why would I do that?
I don’t know sir. Where did you shoot her?
In the head. I just wanted her to shut up. She kept screaming at me about our daughter running away and I just wanted her to shut up. I shot her in the mouth to shut her up. (Sobs) Why did I shoot my loving wife? She was my whole world!
Sir, stay where you are. Police are on their way.
My wife… (Cries in anguish.) My beautiful… (Gunshot.)
Sir? … Sir? Are you there?
(No answer. Continued silence.)
1:25 AM: (Banging, pounding, and shouting.) Open up!
(Crashing) Police! Everybody on the ground.
Sir! Everyone is on the ground, and they’re dead.
Search for survivors, and be careful in case the shooter is still here!
Yes sir! (Line goes dead.)
End of call 1:27AM
The second paper he handed me was the official police report. The 911 call and the crime scene investigators both agree. Jose Sanchez shot his wife Elizabeth and then shot himself. Case closed.
I sighed. “But what about my granddaughter? She’s still missing.”
“We’re sorry Ma’am. We’ve distributed her picture to the officers patrolling the streets, but until someone spots her, there’s nothing we can do.”
“Listen to me!” I insisted emotionally. “Jacquita Sanchez is a good girl! She wouldn’t have run away; she would have come to me if she needed help. Something must be wrong!”
“Jacquita Sanchez…?” One of the officers mused. “The name rings a bell, but I’m not sure why.”
“In any case, Ma’am, there really is nothing we can do until someone spots her. If we find her, rest assured that we will return her to you.”
I sighed, and thanked them for their help.
A week passed, and then another. I called the police station every day to see if anyone had found her yet, but all that accomplished was annoying the cops. I just knew something was terribly wrong, but praying for her return gave me a reason to move beyond the grief over the death of my daughter.
In desperation, I decided to do a websearch on her. Maybe I would find a clue to her whereabouts. As I suspected, there weren’t too many people who had that name. This was both a blessing and a curse since - on the one hand – I didn’t have to sift through hundreds of pages. On the other hand, there was no useful information.
Having nothing better to do, I performed a websearch on her at least once every day. I mostly got the same results, but every once in a while, something new would pop up. It still didn’t help, but it gave me hope that I would find her eventually.
One day, a blog post appeared on the results list, and I clicked on it. Generally, most of the blogs that came up happened to reference both names in the same post somewhere, but this time, it looked like the names were together. I held my breath in anticipation as I read.
Shanna’s Blog: posted approximately 3 weeks ago.
Ok peeps, so you all know that I was thrown in jail recently… again. It wasn’t my fault that that stupid bitch started a fight, but the cops didn’t care! I have priors, ya know? They had to let me go because they couldn’t get any charges to stick, so now I’m out enjoying my freedom! I swear, if I ever see that bitch again, I’ll put her in the hospital!
Anyway, while I was in the holding cell, there was this crazy ass girl creeping us all out. From what I can figure, she was an illegal alien, and they were going to deport her ass. I say good riddance! We don’t need those people stealing all our jobs! However, I can’t get her out of my mind.
She sat in the corner of the cell looking like she belonged in a psych ward. She kept rocking back and forth whispering, “My name is Jacquita Sanchez. I’m only 14 and an American citizen, blah, blah, blah,” over and over and over! It got to the point where I wanted to smash her face in, but she already had a couple of bruises, and the way she was mumbling spooked me.
Before you go giving me shit that I got spooked by a little crazy girl, just put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I bet there’s no way in hell you could have listened to her and not gotten spooked! Whatever, be that way!
She got taken away just before bedtime – thank God – and is now back in Colombia for all I know. I would have totally forgotten all about her by now, but she kept calling out for her mom and her grandma. I can’t imagine being such a whiny baby! I haven’t needed my mom since I was about 5 years old!
Hope she’s in a better place, but now I am officially washing my hands of her. Peace!
I sat there in shock. No… It can’t be her! There’s no way they would deport a 14 year old girl!!! How incompetent would a person have to be to mistake my sweet granddaughter for an illegal immigrant???
I called up the officer in charge of my granddaughter’s case.
“Listen, Mrs. Turner, we haven’t found your granddaughter, and I promise we will call you if we do!”
“No Detective, I’m not calling about that. I want to know about the illegal immigrant that was deported out of this jail not too long ago,” I informed him.
“Oh yeah… What was her name again? … Lupe… Lupe Vazquez. What do you want to know about her?” The Detective asked.
“I just read a blog written by a woman that shared a cell with her, and she mentioned something interesting. Can you look up her case?”
The detective sighed. “I’m not supposed to give out information about the cases.”
“Please, just look it up. I think it might be important… the key to finding my granddaughter,” I insisted.
He sighed again, and I heard typing. “Ok, Lupe Vazquez… What do you want to know?”
“What does she look like? Did she say anything strange while in jail?” I was biting my tongue so I didn’t just blurt out, that is my granddaughter, you idiot!
“She’s got dark hair… wait a minute…” The detective was silent for a minute, and I heard him shuffling some papers. “Oh my God! I’m gonna have to call you back!”
I stared at the phone after the click for so long that it started to drone at me. Then, I slowly forced myself to put the receiver back where it belonged and NOT call the Detective back for a while. From the sound of it, it might really have been her.
Lupe Vazquez… Lupe Vazquez? Lupe Vazquez! My granddaughter’s best friend! Of course Jacquita would use her name if she was afraid to give her own for some reason! Why on earth would the police think that little Lupe was an illegal immigrant?
I paced my kitchen nervously until I just couldn’t take it anymore. In desperation, I went back online and decided to write a note to post on my Facebook page.
So, I’ve had a rough couple of months… You all may have noticed that I am not online as much lately. I finally want to talk about why. First, my daughter was shot to death by my son-in-law. (I posted a link to the article that had run in the local newspaper about the incident.)
No sooner had I learned of that tragedy than I discover than my granddaughter was missing. I’ve looked everywhere for her. I’ve given her picture to the police, and no one seems to have any idea where she is!
Today, I read this blog post. (I linked the blog post.) My heart sank. It simply could not be true! However, I called a Detective just in case it happened to be true, and now I am waiting to receive word back from him.
I pray that wherever my granddaughter is she is safe. Please Jacquita, come home soon!
The next day, I was just about to call the Detective again when my phone rang. I pounced on my phone and answered it. My heart pounded; was someone calling to tell me they had found my granddaughter?
“Mrs. Turner?” The Detective asked.
“Yes,” I stated. “Have you found her?!”
He was silent for a moment. “I… think… we may have deported her to Colombia.”
“So it was her!” I sobbed in both anguish and relief. Finally! I had a place to start looking!
“I am not 100% certain, but… it’s probably her. The mugshot matches the photo you gave us of Jacquita, and according to the officers in charge of processing her, she kept insisting that she was not Lupe but Jacquita Sanchez. She had no identification, and the real Lupe Vazquez is an illegal immigrant with no rights. So, none were granted.”
I shuddered in horror. “Little Lupe is not an illegal immigrant! She’s 14 years old and has been my granddaughter’s best friend since grade school!”
He sighed. “Obviously there is more than one Lupe… The arresting officer was simply doing his job, and it was up to the police in the jail to determine her true identity, but, her description matched Lupe Vazquez’s, and so the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was notified. Once they took over, our hands were tied.”
I could sense that he shrugged even though I could not see him. “So… how do we get her back?”
“That’s the tricky part. I’m waiting for a call back from the U.S.I.C.E., and I can’t tell you anymore because I don’t know what is going to happen from here.”
It was my turn to sigh. “I see… Thank you Detective. Please call me as soon as you know something.”
“I will,” he promised.
I went online to check my Facebook, and was astounded by the outpouring of sympathy. I was in tears of awe and gratitude in a matter of moments. Eventually, I managed to stop crying and update my status: Bad news… The Detective has confirmed that it probably was Jacquita who was deported. How can something like this happen?!
More importantly… What can I do about it?
A month later, I was in shock once more. Not only did the government deport my granddaughter, but now they won’t bring her back! They have pretty much told me that she’s stuck in Colombia until their government decides to deport her. Apparently, she has been issued a work permit, therefore, she is not an illegal immigrant and they have no reason to deport her.
My granddaughter is all alone on the streets of Colombia! How do I rescue her?! With nothing else to do, I went online to announce this development on Facebook; if for no other reason than to find solace in the sympathy that my friends from around the world provide.
The couple that found me and took me in showed me kindness. They brought me to the police and I was given medical care and an exam to confirm my rape, but then I was released. As far as I know, nothing has ever been done to catch the guys that did this to me.
Thankfully, I was given shelter for a few days. The couple was outraged that such bad things could happen to a girl like me, but they were poor and could not afford to keep me for too long. They did bring me to the temp agency, and I was able to get a job.
At first, I was a maid assigned to clean in a big house. I was closely supervised by the other maids, so I had no opportunity to sneak a phone call to my mom. I got paid just enough that I could afford to rent a tiny, miserable, little room in a place that seemed to rent out to girls… who let men have sex with them for money.
It was a bad place to live, but it was the only place I could afford if I wanted to eat. All my money went to rent or food, and believe me, it’s not like I was eating much. I had nothing saved up to make that international call I wanted so badly to make.
Even worse, if any of the men who frequented the girls in my building happened to see me, they’d try to get me to take them back to my room. Mostly I just ran away, but sometimes they cornered me. The first time, I tried to fight, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He pushed me up against a wall in an alley, lifted my work skirt, tugged my panties aside, and did what he wanted. After he was done, he tossed me my payment and left.
I stared at the money, my hands shaking. It wasn’t a lot of money – about what I earned in a week while cleaning – but it was more than enough to make my phone call and buy some better food! I can now kind of see why so many girls did this for a living.
I found a payphone, inserted some money, and dialed my house. I held my breath as I waited for an answer. I can’t remember if it’s night or day over there, but I prayed that someone would answer regardless in the hopes that it was me finally calling to tell them where I am.
The phone made a strange noise, and a voice stated: “We’re sorry, the number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service.” My heart sank as the phone decided that my call had been answered and deposited the money so that I couldn’t get it back if I hung up. Why was my house phone disconnected?
It had to be a mistake. I must have accidentally pressed a wrong number. I inserted more money and tried again. “We’re sorry –” I quickly hung up, but it was too late. I didn’t have enough money to try calling my grandma, and I felt like crying. I trudged to work in depression.
One day, the people that owned the big house returned, and the other maids responded by going crazy. Everyone yelled at me: clean faster, stay out of the Senor and Senora’s way. Don’t even think about talking to them unless they talked to me first!
I finally got fed up enough to temporarily forget that I was risking my job. “Will you just shut up?!” I shouted in English. “I’m doing the best I can, and you’re not making it any easier by yelling at me!”
The kitchen fell silent as all the maids gaped at me. I was always so quiet that I’m sure they figured I would always just continue to take their verbal abuse. I don’t think they understood a word I said, but my tone was clear.
The door to the kitchen opened. “Is that English I hear?” A man asked. He was smiling, and almost seemed to be suppressing a laugh.
“Senor! Lo siento! Ella es nueva…”
I suddenly realized that he was the man that owned this big house. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell,” I apologized, looking at the floor.
“How does a young girl like you speak English so perfectly?” Senor asked.
“I’m from America,” I admitted.
“An American working here?” He asked incredulously.
“Yes sir. I was accidentally mistaken for an illegal immigrant – a Colombian National – and deported. So, here I am,” I shrugged. I wanted to cry, but I didn’t think that doing so would be productive. It would probably earn me the enmity of all the maids who already thought I didn’t know how to work hard.
His face twisted into a funny expression. “I… see… Well then, I guess that your misfortune is my fortune. My 6 year old daughter is having a hard time learning English, and I feel it is important that she do so. I would like for you to help her learn. Nothing too involved; just read stories to her and talk to her in English so that she has a real accent to learn from.”
I nodded my head. “Yes sir.”
“Good!” He ordered one of the maids to take me to his daughter’s room, and explained that I would working with her until they decided to leave again.
I was excited… until I found out that my pay did not change. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel was a wonderful little girl, and fun to play with – we even did our hair in the princess styles I hadn’t done since I ran away from home – but I needed more money! I nervously contemplated asking for a raise, but I didn’t want to risk losing my job altogether.
My employers often took trips, and I was demoted to a simple maid when they were gone. I didn’t complain though… it was still better than prostitution.
Then my rent went up. Most of the time, I was able to eat with Isobel, but even then, it wasn’t much. I could not afford to buy more than one small meal a day, and I was slowly starving. Even my appearance changed as I grew thinner and thinner.
“Oi bonita!” A man called out to me as I trudged home from work one night. He grinned at me, and asked, “Me quieres? Te Quiero.”
You want me? I want you, he said, and I sighed. If he paid me as much as the last one had, I’d at least be able to buy some food, and maybe call my grandma.
“Si…” I replied slowly. “Vienes con migo.” I led him to my room. No way in hell would I willingly choose to be fucked in an alley again!
Once in my room – which was only big enough for a bed and a line for my clothes across one wall – I looked at my customer awkwardly. I hope he doesn’t expect me to know what to do. So far, all I’ve ever done was get raped. I was honest enough to acknowledge that this was different, but that still didn’t mean I knew what to do.
Smiling, he got closer to me until he was able to put his hands on my waist. I didn’t feel like he wanted to hurt me, and that made me inexplicably nervous. My hands started shaking as he kissed me, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I think I wanted to run away, but I needed the money so badly!
How ironic that I spent my entire 15th birthday cleaning a house bigger than anything I had actually seen in person before coming here, and now I was about to earn more money for far less work. I needed to stop shaking before he decided to change his mind, so I put my arms around his neck, and pressed my body into his.
“Estas temblando,” he whispered in my ear. I know I’m shaking, thanks!
“Lo siento,” I apologized. “I haven’t willingly done this before.” I whispered in English.
He gave me a confused look. “You haven’t?” His English was even more thickly accented than my boss’ was. Even so, I was surprised that he could speak my language.
“Uh-uh,” I shook my head.
“Unwillingly?” He asked. I looked away in shame as I nodded.
“No worries, bonita. I won’t hurt you,” he murmured in my ear and then nibbled on my neck. I felt like I had no choice either way, so I decided to trust him.
He kissed my lips as he unbuttoned my blouse. As he slipped my blouse to the ground, he kissed my neck again, and then my shoulder. I felt him undo the clasp for my bra, and then he was sucking on my breasts – one at a time. His hand fondled the breast he wasn’t sucking on, and I shifted my weight to one leg so I could press them together more firmly.
Why was I feeling so strange? I felt heat in my groin area, and it made me squirm. A moan escaped me, and I had to think about it. It sounded like I was enjoying this.
“Mmm,” I moaned again. Yes, it definitely sounded like I liked what was happening. How can I? I know that it’s going to hurt, so why would I like this?!
My skirt brushed the back of my legs as it slid to the floor. His hands had migrated to my back, and he used them to caress my butt as he removed my panties. I was so confused at this point! Why wasn’t he already shoving his dick inside me? All the others did that as soon as they possibly could.
He took a moment to remove his own clothes, and then guided me to my narrow bed. I sat, and planned to lay down for him so he could stick himself in me, but he stopped me. He gestured for me to sit on the edge of the bed, and knelt next to me. I watched him spread my legs wide, and then bury his face between them.
I gasped! Oh. My. God! My whole body felt like it was on fire and I started crying. It felt so good!
Okay, I am not stupid or ignorant when it comes to sex. But I was always much too busy trying to cope with my dad always yelling at me to pay much attention to boys. I had never even though about having sex before I was first raped. Even knowing that most people liked sex, it just didn’t seem possible for it to feel good until now.
I kept gasping and moaning until I finally covered my mouth with my hands. It didn’t matter that all my neighbors were prostitutes who did this several times a night. I didn’t want anyone to hear me make such a racket!
I covered a squeal when I started to feel pleasure like I have never even thought possible. Wow wow wow! What the hell was that?! Is that what they call an orgasm?
I was panting now, unable to calm my breathing. He grinned at me, and then gently pushed me until I lay on the bed. I expected him to ram himself inside me, but he surprised me by kissing me again.
I nodded with a blush. “Yes, I liked it very much.”
“Me alegro,” he murmured in my ear as he positioned himself between my legs. I’m glad.
I tensed up; this was the part that always hurt. He responded by kissing me some more, and stroking my body with his hands. It took me a moment, but I relaxed, and that was when he gently pushed himself inside me.
There’s no pain! I think I cried in relief! He moved in and out of me, and still there was no pain. I hugged him happily, kissing him for once.
I liked the feel of him inside me. I liked the way he was gentle with me. He made me feel good, and I sincerely wished that I could have him be my customer every night.
He surprised me again by continuing for much longer than anyone else had. I think hours passed, and even though it felt good, I was getting tired. My eyes started to close of their own will, and I had trouble staying awake.
Something changed. He went from thrusting in and out of me fairly quickly to a couple of short thrusts. He kissed me as I felt hotness inside me, and I chuckled a little. I actually knew what that feeling meant – he was done now.
I sighed in contentment, and fell asleep almost right away. He was still snuggling with me at that point, but he was gone when I woke up again. The unbelievably loud horn from a train that passed by every day at 6AM woke me up as usual. It was my alarm clock in a way.
I sat up to look around. Frowning, I reached under my pillow. Panic raced through my veins as I leapt out of bed and searched the pocket of my skirt on the floor.
The bastard! He left without paying me! The only reason I did it was because I needed the money so badly. I slowly went from kneeling to sitting on my feet, and stared at the skirt in my hands in shock.
My door opened, and I tensed up. Damnit! Not only did he leave me, but he didn’t bother to lock my door so that no one else could come in and rape me! Why did I always have such rotten luck when it came to sex?!
“Oh, you’re awake,” my customer stated. “I wanted to surprise you with breakfast in bed… Is something wrong?”
I was more confused than ever! “Um…” I murmured hesitantly, watching as he shut the door, and then sat on the floor next to me.
“I thought about it as I listened to you breathe this morning, and I think I have a better idea,” he told me.
“A better idea?” I asked in bewilderment.
“Yes, rather than pay you for last night, I figured that it would be better to offer you a place to stay. My apartment is small, but still much better than this place.”
I was speechless for a moment. If he had offered me a place to stay the first day I arrived, I probably would have accepted without a second thought, but now I was in a situation where I was taking care of myself. Sure it was a struggle, but I wasn’t at all certain that I wanted to give up now and be some man’s pet.
He must have decided that I needed time to think because he held out something that looked like a pancake wrapped around a jumble of eggs and meat. I took it gratefully, and practically devoured it. It could have been stale or rotten for all I cared at the moment – I was that hungry – but it was delicious.
“I know what you are thinking: How could I possibly afford to pay rent on a place better than this? You think I am offering you a place to stay so that I can get money from you, but I could tell from the moment I first saw you yesterday that you have practically no money. That is why I think you would be better at my place. You can still work wherever you work, but you can pay rent to me by sharing my bed. Would that not be better than this?” He asked. His English was still as thickly accented as ever, but I understood him clearly enough.
In essence, he had realized that I was flat broke, and was going to start selling my body to earn money. After working all day, and then selling my body at night, I would still be living in this horrible place, and barely be able to feed myself. Not to mention buy new clothes at some point! Rather than do that, I could have sex with just him in exchange for a place to stay, and my money would be mine to do what I needed to do with it.
I closed my eyes as I tried not to picture all the various men I had seen lurking around outside this building. There’s no way I would get lucky enough that all the future customers would be as gentle with me as he was. In fact, I’m pretty sure that almost none of them would be.
Some man’s pet or not, I couldn’t stomach the thought of having sex with any man that wanted to just so I could have some money to buy food. Who knows? Maybe he will even let me call my grandma at some point.
I nodded as I took my last bite of food. “That sounds like a good idea.”
The next couple of months passed fairly peacefully. Between work and several hours of – admittedly incredible – sex each night, I was too tired to think straight, much less remember to ask about calling my grandma. One day, I had the day off, and had also gotten paid recently. I actually had a little bit of money saved up now, and it was more than enough to make an international call.
Pedro – the man who I lived with – walked with me through a park. He was actually pretty sweet, and despite his insistence that our sex was my way of paying him rent, he treated me like I was his girlfriend. I think he wanted to be able to have a relationship without actually committing to anyone.
I jumped in excitement as I spotted a payphone. I ran to it, and inserted enough money to call my grandma.
“Hello?” My grandma sounded tired and depressed, but for all I know, it could be the middle of the night where she was.
“Grandma!” I shouted joyously in case the connection was bad and she couldn’t hear me unless I yelled.
“Oh Jacquita! I’ve missed you so much!”
“Grandma, I’m in Colombia!”
“I know, I’ve been working with the government to get you back, but they aren’t cooperating.”
I couldn’t help it, I started to sob. “Why? Why won’t they help bring me home?”
My grandma started to cry too. “Don’t worry, I’m doing what I can to–”
A new voice – one that sounded robotic – started speaking in Spanish, telling me that my time was up and if I wanted to talk for another 2 minutes, I’d have to enter more money. I fumbled to get some out of my pocket, but the line went dead before I could put it in the phone.
I sank to the ground, and started to cry even harder.
“Hey…” Pedro murmured softly as he gathered me into his arms. “What’s wrong, mi bonita?”
I had never told him about anything before. There wasn’t really time. Either I was working, he was working, or we were having sex and then sleeping. This was the first day off we had shared.
“I am an American citizen,” I whispered a confession, still crying on his shoulder. “My government mistook me for an illegal immigrant – because I gave them a fake name to avoid a bad situation at the time – but they wouldn’t listen when I told them the truth. They deported me here, and now I’m stuck. That’s the first time I’ve talked to any of my family members since I arrived, and so they’ve had no idea what happened to me. They probably thought I was dead!”
I was being overly dramatic since my grandma had told me that she knew I was in Colombia, but it’s how I had been feeling ever since I first arrived. I was positive that my mom was frantic with worry that I had been abducted, raped, and then murdered right after I had run away. Ironically, 2 out of 3 of those were right…
“Oh… so that explains it. I was wondering why a girl as young as you who speaks English more comfortably than Spanish was all alone. You were obviously struggling before, and I figured that you must have been on vacation with your family and got separated or something.”
I snuggled into Pedro’s embrace. “I just want to go home…”
“I wish I could help you, but that is much too expensive. Besides… getting out of Colombia is not so hard, it’s getting into America that’s almost impossible. How could you prove that you are an American citizen?” He asked me rhetorically.
He was right, without a passport or some actual ID, I was stuck in Colombia. In an effort to cheer me up, Pedro bought us lunch at a little café. He loved food, and thankfully kept me well fed!
Another month passed. I smiled at Isobel as she tried reading a children’s book to me in English. I have to admit that I made a pretty good tutor!
“Um, Jacquita?” Isobel’s father beckoned to me.
“Si Senor?” I responded obediently.
“Could you come with me? Some men are here to see you,” he informed me.
“To see me?” I asked in confusion.
“Si,” he confirmed.
In Spanish almost too rapid for me to understand, the two men informed me that my work permit had expired. Now I needed to go with them to either renew it, or await a decision on whether or not I would be deported to America.
I looked at my employer uncertainly.
“If you renew your permit, you are more than welcome to come back here. Isobel adores you and you have taught her so much,” Senor assured me.
“Muchas gracias,” I thanked him, and then quietly followed the men who had come for me.
Despite originally being told I could choose to renew my work permit, I found out that it was too late now that it had expired. I could apply for a new one, but until then, I was to be detained. In the meantime, they were desperately trying to figure out what to do with me. I was not a Colombian National, but the United States had deported me, and refused to let me back into the country without proper ID and permission.
At least I was able to call Pedro and let him know where I was. It near broke my heart to think that there was going to be yet another person in the world wondering what had happened to me. If I lived to be 100, I would never go anywhere again without telling someone first!
So, I waited… and waited… and waited. Pedro came to visit me when he could, but it wasn’t often. He had to work a lot, and he couldn’t visit after a certain time of night.
I felt strange. I really wanted to go home, but a big part of me missed Pedro. He had been kind to me, and shown me what it was like to have good sex. He had taken care of me, and treated me like I was important to him.
I originally thought that we were simply using each other – me for a place to stay, and him for copious amounts of sex – but now that we were apart… I wasn’t so sure anymore. I started to pace my cell; I had a choice to make… One I had never expected I’d ever have to make.
Somehow, my grandma had insisted that she be allowed to talk with me on the phone. I think she was calling from an Embassy, but in any case, someone else was paying for the call, and we had plenty of time to talk. She told me about my parents…
I cried about that for a few minutes, but she had other things to tell me, so I had to calm down.
“I’ve gotten several generous donations and a ton of support. As soon as I can get you a passport, I can fly to Colombia and bring you home!”
It was strange to feel my heart go from near despair and grief to such elation in practically no time at all. “Really? You mean it!”
“Uh-huh!” Grandma confirmed. “Provided that they’ll issue you a passport even though you’re stuck in a foreign country. It shouldn’t be too difficult since occasionally a traveler loses one while abroad and needs to replace it.”
“That’s wonderful news!” I cheered. Then my stomach turned, and I had about one second to lean over the trash basket before I emptied my stomach.
“Sorry grandma, the excitement must be too much for me,” I reasoned. I also felt inexplicably sad, and started crying again.
“What’s wrong, love?” Grandma asked.
“Pedro…” I paused for a long moment. “I think I love him…”
“Oh? You have a boyfriend?” Grandma asked in concern.
“Not… exactly,” I said, wondering how to explain. I shrugged, and started at the beginning. I hadn’t had a chance to tell her my story yet, so she silently listened to me tell her everything that had happened from the moment I’d gotten home from school that day.
I told her about dad smacking me around. About running away and getting arrested, then deported. I hesitated, but then told her about getting my work permit and being released. With nowhere to go, I asked for help, and was raped by a group of guys.
This made her cry, I could hear it even though she was trying hard to keep quiet and listen. I continued my story, eventually getting to the part where I met Pedro.
“I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but he saved me from a very bad life, grandma. He’s been so good to me. I really do think I love him.”
“Oh… my poor baby…” We were both crying now because I started thinking about my parents. They had died before I was even out of the country. Even if someone had called to verify my story, no one would have been there to answer the phone.
A month passed before I received confirmation that my grandma was on her way to get me. By this time, there was no doubt, I was pregnant. Pedro reacted strangely. He seemed both excited and terrified by the prospect of becoming a father. In the end, it wouldn’t matter what he wanted, I had no choice. The Colombian government wouldn’t let me stay. I could come back later on, but I absolutely had to go back to America for a bit.
Pedro gave me a sad look. His eyes looked wet, but he did not cry. “Jacquita, mi bonita… Go home. Raise the baby in America. Give her a better life.”
I shook my head. “What better life? It’s not like I was rich! My parents were working Americans, just like we are working here in Colombia.”
“Life in America is always better,” Pedro insisted in confusion.
“Says who? We have homeless people, and there are plenty of people who think their life sucks. Life is not better simply because someone lives in America!”
He shrugged. “Maybe not, but there you have your Grandmother who loves you. You can go back to school and get a much better paying job.”
He was right, but it was breaking my heart. “I can find a better paying job here! I can teach English to others like Isobel!”
Pedro sighed, and shook his head. “Go home, and stay there. There’s nothing for you here.”
He stood up and left. I wanted to cry, but I was numb. Didn’t he love me? Didn’t he want me to stay?
A couple of days later, my grandma arrived in Colombia, and I was escorted to the airport. We had plenty of time to talk on the plane, but I was still hurt. I ended up crying on her shoulder for a while and then falling asleep.
The next thing I knew, we were back in America, and Grandma drove us to her house. I technically owned my old house, but I couldn’t live there even if I wanted to. I went to bed and stayed there for several days.
“Please Jacquita… come eat something,” my grandma begged.
“I’m not hungry,” I mumbled.
“You have a baby inside you. Do you want it to starve and die?”
Slowly, I realized that she was right. I’m punishing an innocent unborn child for no reason. I sat up, and wiped the moisture from my cheeks. I hadn’t exactly cried in a while, but even so, my cheeks had been wet for days. I took a deep breath and prepared to leave my bed.
“I’ll try, grandma.” I referred not just to eating, but to getting over Pedro and living my life again.
“That’s my girl,” my grandma crooned, hugging me.