Stories For Liberation: Will We See Each Other Again?

(Painting/"Will We See Each Other Again?"/Gwynne Duncan)

This week, we share yet another story from Herstory’s book, Brave Journeys. Just three weeks old, it is already making its way into classrooms, where young people who read the stories experience an echoing call as they begin to write their own. By sharing their stories, young people who crossed the border to rejoin their parents and mend broken lives can take back their own narrative for a more humane and compassionate future for all.

Will We See Each Other Again?

June 7, 2010, around four in the afternoon, Mom called my brother and me. She began to give us advice and told us to memorize our phone number. My brother and I were confused, why was she telling us this?

Two hours passed and Mom started to cry, and so did my brother and me. When she calmed down, she said, “I have some news.”

My brother said, “We’re going to have a little brother.”

Mom smiled and said, “No.”

I was sad to see her cry.

She then said, “Kids, I need to leave home for some time…”

I began to cry desperately and told her, “No, Mom, don’t leave us alone!”

“Don’t worry. Your aunt will stay with you.”

Afterwards, we slept with her, and by morning she was no longer in our arms. It was the worst thing I’d felt in my life. I no longer felt that warmth that made me feel happy. Overnight, everything had disappeared. I looked for her desperately, but she wasn’t there.

We later stayed with Mom’s cousin, which was the worst. She told us nothing about Mom. She mistreated us. She didn’t feed us.

One day, my brother heard her talking with Mom on the phone, and he yelled out, “Mom, Mom, it’s you!”

I ran out and my aunt was surprised because we had caught her. So then my brother told Mom everything, and my aunt, angry, hit my brother with a stick and belt for having told Mom. My brother, crying and bleeding, screamed. Then another cousin came and Mom realized what was happening.

Feeling desperate, she wanted to come back from the United States, but Mom’s other cousin reacted and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll take charge of them.”

But, my brother and I didn’t want to suffer anymore. It was the worst situation with the cousin because all she cared about was Mom’s money. She would make us sleep outside the house to punish us, and, worse, I was dying of malnutrition. I studied day and night. I’d go to public school in the morning and in the afternoon to private school.

One day, my aunt fired the maid of the house because she threw hot water at her feet on purpose, and Mom’s cousin punished my brother in a brutal way. Later on, a woman came to defend him and take him home with her, and the cousin left the house with the maid. All the luxuries were for nothing if we didn’t have love–they didn’t even love us.

The woman said, “I will call your mom,” she knew her and told her she’d care for us for some time.

While she organized everything, she treated us like no one had before. Not even our own family wanted us. It was all different with her, it was like having a second mother. It was the best.

I feel bad for my family, because they didn’t love us. A stranger loved us more than our own family.

Sometime later, Mom called us and said we were leaving for the United States. I was so happy to be able to see my dear mother. With tears of joy in my eyes I gave thanks to God for finally making my dream of many years come true. It hadn’t come true, but finally the day had come when we would leave our country and the suffering, and longing for a much better life at the side of our beloved Mom.