Wednesday, October 20, 2021

the last book I ever read (The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, excerpt one)

from The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio:

The story as far as I know it goes something like this: My parents had just gotten married in Cotopaxi, Ecuador, and their small autobody business was not doing well. Then my dad got into a car crash where he broke his jaw, and they had to borrow money from my father’s family, who are bad, greedy people. The idea of coming to America to work for a year to make just enough money to pay off the debt came up and it seemed like a good idea. My father’s family asked to keep me, eighteen months old at the time, as collateral. And that’s what my parents did. That’s about as much as I know.

You may be wondering why my parents agreed to leave me as an economic assurance, but the truth is I have not had this conversation with them. I’ve never thought about it enough to ask. The whole truth is that if I was a young mother—if I was me as a young mother, unparented, ambitious, at my sexual prime—I think I would be thrilled to leave my child for “exactly a year,” as they said it would be, which is what the plan was. I never had to forgive my mom.

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