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The day I saw someone hiding in the sewers

by Natalia Arreola.

Our eyes connected for a split second, and I saw 

the same fear I have every day,


I did not cross on foot, 

hiding from a world that did not love me.

But I know he did, hiding in the sewers,

looking to give a better life to his family.

Sweat covers his face, and despair hits his chest,  

I would like to help him; 

I would like to save him.

What are you looking for over there 

when everything is the same? I wonder.

They always say that the American dream

is what drives them to continue.

What dream would mine be? 

Half Mexican, half American.

He continues hiding, and I wonder if we’re the same,

between two places, without knowing what to do with our lives.


You are in the middle of two cultures, the language used is only understood here, the union of both countries, etc. Growing up on the border has a million advantages. I admire it from a privileged point of view, where I have never had to cross the border illegally for a better future.

Over the years, I noticed those things that all the people ignore from the border. The line of kids without their parents with the border patrol at the “wall” between Mexico and the United States. These children carried their backpacks as if they were going to kindergarten, using winter clothes during spring to survive at night.

Or how Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Haitians, and some Mexicans pass through Ciudad Juárez to get to El Paso. I can see them being stopped at the border or sneaking through the sewers and out the other side. I can see how they protest at dawn to allow them to pass, causing them to close the bridge indefinitely.

The news about a boy who says goodbye to his dog before walking across the border. I notice the reality of the Wall that divides. The Wall is enormous, and I can still see Mexico through the freeway. I observe all the people who cross daily to get to their jobs and return to their homes in Mexico. Or people sleeping under the bridge, waiting for a signal to cross. People pay 10,000 Mexican pesos to cross the desert and take them to a place to work illegally. I can see how people fear immigrants and hate them for bringing chaos to their environment.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I admire them. I respect how they are willing to go through extreme situations only to pursue what they think is a better opportunity. Maybe it is, or maybe not. Above risking their lives, the American dream they chase can disappear without a trace in the blink of an eye.


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Natalia Arreola
Natalia Arreola is a New Mexico State University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with a minor in Psychology. She works at El Paso Inc. as Audience Development & Engagement Manger. Natalia has been working on different projects as an editor, including Chrysalis, The Papagayo Project, Memorias del Silencio, and more. Natalia’s goal is to get her master’s degree in either Publishing or Editing to apply to larger publishing companies. And maybe one day, she can publish her own book. Her passion has always been between books and writing to find a way to understand this world and life.