Pieces of Chile

Don’t promise me you’ll be there. Just do it. You know how many times we asked America to help us? We read they would. We saw pictures that they would. No one helped us.

I worked at a telephone company – you know the old plugs in? You plug this one to that one and it connects you? Your father would wait for me each evening to walk me home because there’d been some not-so-good stories about a couple of other girls. One, I hadn’t seen in a while; the other, Carmen, well, it had been days since her attack. She wouldn’t take our visits or calls.

Anyway, on those walks home, we’d dream of another kind of tomorrow. America was meant to be our tomorrow. These dreams were active and three dimensional. Like yours. Big. I could see them in broad daylight.

When we’d get to my front gate, your dad would say, “I’ll make your dreams come true, I promise.” Ah. There goes that promise word again. I had to shut the dark out in my head to believe in a bigger life for me, you know. You know, you face that darkness in your head everyday.

One night, Anita, called my home asking if Sergio Ivan was there. I said no, of course not. I come from a traditional family, you know. Your dad wasn’t allowed to stay passed sun set.

Ha. You think your dad’s strict.

It was strange for her to call, like she knew the answer but was looking for a kind of profound reassurance he was ok before the volcano of panic would erupt. Your dad was finishing some last minute stuff with the farm and he got picked up. Estupido! When men got picked up, a lot would never get home.

Your dad’s dad had connections. He knew someone who knew someone and then your dad became lucky. He was just lucky. That’s it.

After that, things changed in my mum’s eyes. A shift. A big one. My mum doesn’t come out with definites unless there’s been some marinating. Some processing of thought behind the thought, you know? Like me. Not like you. You’re like your dad. You gotta be more like me.

Anyway, she pulls me aside one night and says, “To live your dreams, you have to be alive. Get out of here. Take those dreams and fly, Nellita. I don’t want to outlive my children. That is not going to happen. Promise me right now.”

You know focus in a bull’s eye? It’s scary. I can remember only 3 times when that bull’s eye came out in her. She’s powerful, tu Abualita. You have to stand up straight and take attention, you know.
I said I promised. Ah, that word.

But we delivered.

Author: pizzaslices

Liza is an actor and co-creator of Subway Token Films, a film production company that captures Street Level Miracles through films. That is, moments in our lives when the story as we know it stops, the lens is pulled back and something more expansive is revealed to us. Liza has won awards and audiences alike for her portrayals of the immigrant story on stage and film. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her partner, actor Felix Solis.