I was sitting at my computer writing, which is my daily ritual. But I think that it’s more like a ritual that monks do. More like the monks in the middle ages, like a flogging really. Rough leather whipped on my back. That ritual looking for a story, a reason to write. I flog myself writing in my mind at least that’s what it feels like. I have no thoughts so I flog myself in my mind some more. Just to know the writing is good. Then I get a phone call and it’s for Carmen our nanny, well to be fair she’s really more of a friend. I’m the crazy “American” that she works for. Even though I’m Mexican American, to her I’m just an American. “Is Carmen there?” He says in a heavy accented voice, he sounds serious. I call Carmen and she takes the phone. She gets on the phone and she’s next to me. She takes it as far away as the cord can reach. Five feet to be exact. Just for privacy. I try not to listen. Then she hears some news. I hear her say simply and tragically no, no, no, mi primo no, no mi primo” over and over again. Then she begins to cry a soft whimper of hurt and pain that I imagine as more of a cry of loss than I can imagine. Tears flow down her cheeks. I assume someone is dead that is close to her. I look at her and ask the question that I know the answer to. “Is anything wrong” I ask …I admit stupid question. She begins to cry trying not to.
“My cousin and whole family has been arrested. The immigration came this morning; I don’t mean to bother you.” I assure her that it’s OK. But I know it’s not. She tells me they have been in this country 28 years, paid taxes bought a home and they were all just out the night before celebrating Father’s day. Only their daughter was not arrested, she was in Europe working for an American corporation Disney no less. She had just got her papers. And she was in Europe with Disney. The company that proclaimed it’s a small world after all, a world of laughter a world of joy.” The irony hits me square in the face. They are now gone and she does not know where they are. They were arrested like a family of criminals in front of all there neighbors to see. They were arrested like a Mob family. But they are just a simple Peruvian family that slipped in the cracks. A family that paid taxes bought homes, helped are economy. I’m feeling angrier and angrier and more ashamed of the country I love and the country my uncle died for and my father fought and worked in two wars for; a country where countless primo’s have fought for. And I was ashamed this morning. I only could offer her the day off. “Go home, do you need anything?” And she just said “No, I should work it will take my mind of this.” So she’ll work like all the immigrants that come to this country to do, and we all will keep our minds off this tragedy. And still there will be no immigration reform. Because we will work and think some how this will all go away. And I drink my coffee that she brings and think. Yes, “It’s a small world after all.” and I go back to work and look for a story.