Some months ago, my mother promised my half-sister a visit to El Salvador. We visited a lawyer and filed an application for permission to visit our home-country.The applications cost an entire pay stub. My mother’s salary gone in 1, 2, 3…
We made an appointment at the Post Office for my brother, too. I filled out a US passport application, the only one in the family literate enough. And while it wasn’t inexpensive, it certainty didn’t cost Mom two weeks of sweat.
My sister’s name is Emelin Elizabeth. She like myself, has not had a father to watch her grow up. But unlike me, she hasn’t had the privilege to grow up next to our mom. Emelin turned 15 years last April, on the day I was filling out my brother’s passport application. Turning 15 is the equivalent of turning 16 in America, and my sister, wanted to celebrate big. She asked for a pink dress, pink heels, a visit to the amusement park… as if Mum was a Santa Clause.
My mum says we don’t have much family in El Salvador. They stop asking for you once you tell them the truth about America. These streets aren’t made of gold. Money doesn’t come easy, especially with a 3rd grader’s education. Life isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. My mother’s children are expensive.
There won’t be a trip to El Salvador this year, we all know this.
Part of me is relieved. I am not ready. I’m petrified of walking into the country I was born to and not feel at home. I’m petrified that the white beneath my yellow skin is too pale for a country whose sun smiles in every direction. I’m petrified that all the miles between my sister and me will only intensify.
I’m also disappointed. Months turn into years and years turn into decades. I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of postponing plans and dreams.
I suppose though, if there’s anyone up for standing in line, that person is me. Grudgingly, me.