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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Blue Booklet

            After two long years of scrambling petitions from a U.S. embassy I was finally on my way to Mexico to get my grandparents their long awaited green cards.  On March 23, 2012 I arrived at Chihuahua where I would meet up with them.  Even though dark circles hung from my eyes and was perhaps as cranky as lion who can't catch it's prey, I was trembling with joy to see them after twelve years. Yet, at the same time I wanted to leave as soon as possible. I was scared to stay in one of Mexico’s deadliest cities.
            “Why did the embassy send us to Chihuahua? Why couldn’t it be Tijuana which is only two hours away?  I don’t want to get kidnapped or experience other horrible traumas.”  Since a lot of money had gone into filing their papers my parents and I drove to El Paso, Texas where we would cross the border into Chihuahua to pick them up.  My father and I decided it would be best to leave our Ford Expedition (we worried it would get stolen) close to the border and we crossed through a taxi.  Out of curiosity I asked the driver, “Is the city really as bad as people say it is?” He calmly responded, “No…just kidnappings, drug trafficking and some slayings.”  “Oh, that’s it?” I sarcastically thought to myself.  I kept quiet and understood that the people living there are so accustomed to violence that it’s normal to them. 
            We get to the bus station where my grandparents waited for me.  After the hugs and kisses we went to the embassy to get their documentation.  I thought we would simply arrive to pick up their passports and green cards but for some reason we had to wait.  It was strange since I assumed their packets containing the documents would be ready to go.  So we waited for hours where I became impatient and irritated.  Eventually I had to go to the restroom and my mom followed.  I walked into the restroom but I was confused.  I thought I had accidentally gone into the mens' restroom since there were two toilets with one small wall in between them with no doors but it was the women’s restroom.  There were concrete walls, concrete floors and a sink that seemed it hadn’t been cleaned for years.  There was a dirty bucket in one corner and I tried not to think about what it was used for.  My bladder seemed to yell, "Empty me!" so my mom had to try and block others from seeing me pee.  I kept praying that no one walked in but with my luck a confused woman did. Oh Luck you're such a bitch!  It was perhaps the most embarrassing experience ever.  A prisoner's toilet must be a luxury compared to these.  Then I realized the significance of the border.  Though the land is the same a simple boundary changes its aspects.  It’s considered to be U.S. soil but miserably displayed our nation’s sanitation.  It seemed to give out a message to unwanted guests, "Our nation is already dirty.  Turn back."  About five hours passed and we finally got the documents and immediately headed back home.
            As we crossed the border I see men and women trying to sell fruits, toys and other items.  They walk back and forth looking for buyers and I just stare at the sign that says, “Welcome to the United States.”  I’m stuck with the thought, “The land of dreams and opportunity” and look at the poor people trying to make a sale.  They’re just steps away from that land that they may never touch and know and in a way I feel guilty as I cross over by simply showing a tiny blue booklet.  


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