I was going to die anyway. It was just the question of: what was going to kill me faster? The drought, the violence, the poverty, the hunger, the corruption? I thought it would be one of these, I also thought I would have more time. Maybe it’s the tumor in my brain that made me so naïve, but I felt in my heart that I was going to make it to Miami and make it in Miami.
My parents did their best in trying to stop me from leaving, but they knew there was nothing there for me. They knew I needed to do more than just wait for the rain. Everyone thought I was crazy for leaving because of global warming. They all said, “these things happen,” and the one I heard the most was, “God will bring the rain.” One thing I knew for sure, the drought was unusual, and God had already done so much to help us. We just didn’t listen.
It took me fifteen days to cross the border, and after that, it only took me ten days to die. Well, maybe eleven if I wake up tomorrow. When we were five days from the border, our coyote came across a firing squad. A bullet flew by, and hit a boulder that was hiding me. The debris hit me square in the face. Our coyote managed to get me out of there (not because he was my hero, but because we happened to provide enough of a shield). The other boy who was with us, Ulises, wasn’t so fortunate (or maybe he was depending on how you see it).
The coyote threw me out of his truck along the border and I was caught almost immediately. The guard who oversaw my overcrowded cell treated me like I was trash. What’s worse, he was my people. I could tell that he was a paisano, probably even from the same village. Officer Lopez, who even shared my last name, saw my bloodied face, my chipped teeth, and my bruised eyes. Rather than take me to a doctor, a nurse, hell I would’ve even taken a curandera that was locked up in the Ice Box they threw us all in. Instead, he threw me in an overcrowded cell.
It wasn’t until the lawyers arrived that someone began advocating for us, and for me, the girl with the broken nose. They walked me to an ambulance, full of others with bloody injuries, and transported us to a hospital.
It wasn’t the drought, the violence, the poverty, the hunger, or the corruption that was going to kill me, it was a sinus infection. An untreated sinus infection that created an infection in my brain known as Pott’s puffy tumor. I imagine they came up with that name to help its victims feel as though it isn’t a big deal. Maybe kids are the only ones who get it, and anything with the word Puffy in it couldn’t be that bad, right? But seriously, fuck that name. Call it Potts Painful Pox.
Even before they told me what it was, I knew I was done. Because only those who have it can describe how painful the pox is. How the pain shoots up from the bridge of your nose to your forehead and then spreads like a burst of shocks throughout your brain.
But I left Guatemala for a reason. I left to help others, to help my family, and to help those who are waiting for the rain. Miami was going to help me with that, but I guess the Ice Box will do.
Now, don’t judge me for what I’m going to do, it really is for everyone’s best interest. At least I hope so.
They sent me back to the Ice Box with a little oxygen tank in a bag that has tubes attached to my nostrils. I left that oxygen tank at the hospital and filled my bag with as many meds and syringes I could get my hands on. All of the meds, with the exception of one, are for the other children in the Ice Box who are sick, I hope they use them wisely. But that one is morphine. And that’s for Officer Lopez. I heard morphine, when taken in excess, can do some real damage. I hope that when he comes and takes me back to the hospital so they can tell me there’s nothing they can do for me; I hope he learns his lesson. I hope that he treats others better. I hope he stops ignoring what’s happening to us.
Speak of the devil. He opens the cell, steps over the hungry, the lost, the wounded, and grabs me by the arm. I hold the syringe full of morphine tight in my hand and leave my bag behind. I wink at the girl who’s watching me being hauled away. It’s my signal that she can take my bag and give everyone their fair share.
I take a deep breath and hope that my last moments here will be a lesson for everyone that’s been involved in how they treat us. I think of my parents and how awful it will be for them to find out about me. How I couldn’t say goodbye. Then I think, I was going to die anyway.
Will this help or hurt the current situation in the Ice Box? I can’t say for sure. I do know my parents always wanted me to help others. I could at least help bring awareness for those in the Ice Box. I couldn’t help them with the dried maize and beans, and I couldn’t help with the drought. But maybe a prayer will help. I pray that God will bring the rain.