Thursday, May 16, 2019

Overread at the Counter: Saraí


Her name is Saraí because she is like a princess.  Not a princess, but “like” a princess, and she is astutely aware of that fact.  Her last name is Caudillo, from her father.  Her mother is very proud of her father’s name.  It was from his grandfather, who came to Honduras from Spain.  

Her mother is dark and her father was light.  Sarai takes after her father.  Her mother is very proud of her being light.  Sarai doesn’t really know how to feel about that.  Her father left them when they came to America, for a gringa.  She hasn’t heard from him in years.  She thinks her mother is beautiful.

Sarai has one older brother who joined the army and is now stationed in Afghanistan.  She doesn’t hear from him as much as she would like, and she worries about him every day.   She has heard stories from her friends about their brothers who have returned and can’t find work and can’t get help because some of them are also undocumented.  One of them was even deported last year: after two tours in Iraq.

It is May, 2019, and Sarai graduates from high school next week and she doesn’t know what she is going to do.   She has enrolled in the local community college but she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for it.  She is working at Fiesta mart as a cashier because they always have the light-skinned young bilingual girls working as cashiers.  All the ancienos y morenos they have working as stock clerks or cleaning crew or in the tortilleria.  She will try to pick up extra shifts but she doesn’t know if that will be enough.

Her mother is a shift manager at a nearby Sonic and cleans houses on her days off.  Sarai thinks she might help her mom out.

Her father is with his new family in Georgia.  She thinks she might call him and ask for some money.  Last time he sent her money was for her quinceañera, she thinks he might send some for graduation.  She doesn’t know if he’ll respond.  She doesn’t really care what he thinks, but she hates to beg.

The bell has rung for the last period of the day and she walks out to the parking lot, where all the kids are jumping into their cars.  She starts on her two block walk home.  She wonders what is going to happen to her. 

Saraí thinks to herself that uncertainty is the true killer of the spirit.

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