Mario rubbed his arms to ward off a chill as he followed his four companeros into the cool Texas darkness. He had sweated under the hot sun all day, and now his sweat had turned into a cold dampness in his clothes and hair.
“Vamos, rapido.” He followed the lead of the four men ahead of him and ducked behind a ridge. When he looked behind at the horizon, he saw what had prompted the call. Flashlights scanned the area for what seemed like hours, but were actually only a few minutes. Finally, the lights disappeared, and the men continued their journey.
It was almost dawn. Mario daydreamed as he walked. If he were still in his Mexican village, his home of the last eighteen years, Mama would probably be getting ready to start preparing tortillas for his breakfast. He could almost see his mother’s tired but loving face and smell the warm tendrils rising from the stove. He couldn’t dwell too long in his thoughts, though. He had to silently remind himself of his list of things to do once they found a temporary place to stop and rest. Currently high on the list were: find some antiseptic and bandages for the blisters on his feet that had soaked blood through his socks, fill his water bottles, find a phone to call his cousin Roberto in Kentucky to let him know he had made it past the border, get his pesos converted into American dollars and find work. Mario ran his finger hopefully over the Saint Christopher pendant hanging from the chain around his neck. If only I had been lucky enough to have been born here, he thought, I would not be separated from my family now.