Part 3 Crossing Paths: Immigrant Tears

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When they cry, they leave  puddles
for me to walk through

When they cry, they create rivers

for others to swim across

shattered pieces of broken spirits
spread across deserts
A legacy of stories
rain down on harvest
that will never grow
Families reunited following
trails of border less water
leading to the tears of children

Every Friday, they cry. One or five kids get the good news that they will be reunified with their families. Tears of hope and relief fall on their way to tell their friends. I go ahead to prepare the others. I tell them the good news about their friends and brace myself. Some will look at me smiles on their face as they know soon it will be their turn. Others will get smaller and their questions louder, when will it be my turn? smiles turn into anger, desperation of finally getting to their destination. Silence will fall upon others and the tears will start to fall. They will cry for the loss of their friends, grieving tears 12, 13, 16 years in the making. And I breathe not knowing what to say and I breathe holding back my own tears for in their eyes i see the little girl who lives in me, transient child, with one foot here in New York and one foot in Santo Domingo.

My heart skips a beat every time the phone rings at 4’oclock in the morning. Its almost instinct that you know its a call from your country and the person on the other line is going to tell you that someone died, an aunt, uncle, grandmother, cousin or family friend has passed away and there is nothing you can do. The tears flow not so much for the mourning of your loved one but the fact that you cant just get on a plane and go to support or mourn with your family. The memories come like a reel of a movie and you remember the good times and the last time you saw them. But most of all you remember that you are so far away , that you are not there and frankly don’t know when you will see anyone again.

I see myself in the tears of the children I work with. Its the only thing we have in common , the fear that we will get that phone call and someone we love has passed away. I see a reflection of the families we have left behind, the parts of our soul and spirits that lingers between two worlds. The fear of not belonging there or here, of loosing oneself so much that we forget where we came from.

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