The My Father Came Before Us

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It had been a long Wednesday. Wendoline had worked that morning and had classes right after that, but she seemed happy. I am not sure if it was from seeing me or being able to tell her and her family’s story. At the start of the conversation she sat in her family’s living room at her desk, her mother speaking Spanish in the background on the phone. I watched through the computer screen as her brother walked behind her. Before the conversation started I spoke with Wendoline’s family, asking how they are doing, not knowing that the information that I know about them is not completely true. The Wendoline Lorenzo that I knew for the past four years had told me a story that she had manufactured in her mind to protect herself and her family. It started with the simple question of “What year did your parents immigrate here?” Her response was “my father came before us, in 1997 a couple months after I was born.” I was then at that point shocked, she had said “us” not “my mother,” with that simple statement the story that I was told in the beginning of our friendship needed to be clarified. She continued with her answer saying that “my mom and I followed in 1998.” She could see the shock on my face and allowed for it to sink in. “When we first met you said you were born in California.” She came in with “Of course I said that.” “Then were you guys not technically legal?” She continued to explain saying that they were technically not legal, her brother was the only one in the
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