White kids who hang out at the mall.
this is so me
Whoooooa take it easy! You and your wife made me smile as I looked behind after I was halfway down the escalator and saw you timidly step on with your bags. I told you in my memorized google translate Spanish that I was there to take you to your new home. Are you David?? No, David’s my boss (although as the exec director, I barely see the man). Trabajo para el. We exchanged translated messages to each other back and forth on my phone as we waited for my coworker’s van. You must’ve been so confused, the first person you meet in America and I don’t even look American haha. But you still smile enthusiastically and try speaking to me in English. We walk outside and oooo muy frio!! Si, no frio en Cuba. You recognize the Potomac as we drive by and point out DC with the vivacity of Caribbean culture I admire. We show you around your apartment and the first thing you ask is if there are any Cubans here. You have so many questions about what’ll happen to you here. Will you help us with money? Will you help us find a job? You have no idea, can’t even begin to get into the details right now.
It’s been about a week and you quickly find the other Cubans and we run into all of you while we’re out seeing other clients. You saw me coming and open your door to me, warmly inviting me in. And for a second when I see all of you together enjoying each other’s company in the same place, I get a glimpse of the small comfort you wanted from the beginning. I wish I could see how you are in the long run. These short stories are the only way that I release and remember all of you at the same time.
To N that I spoke to today, I really hope you go far. You talked about your hopes and dreams, your past as an interpreter with the US army, away from home just at age 17 after skipping a grade, and how you posted all over Facebook that you made it to America. Your friends couldn’t believe it. After you left, your mom didn’t sleep for two nights — the time it took for you to get from Kabul, Dubai, Frankfurt, Newark, and now Maryland.
Kabul’s still bad but you see so much here in America. You watched a lot of American movies and haha you feel like your life right now is exactly like one. It’d been 4 days since you got here and you visited your friend in southern virginia and came all the way back by yourself, just because you felt like getting lost and finding your way back again. You researched colleges and can’t wait to go forward. Hell, with your perfect English you’d go far. You’re so organized and willing and ready. We’re the same age and I can honestly say as a fellow young eager career-driven twentysomething, please don’t give up. Because you might feel so happy and hopeful right now but it’s not the easiest. I was happy that you were happy but I don’t know I couldn’t stop thinking of all the challenges and barriers you’ll have to overcome because getting work wasn’t easy for me either. And I was born here.
But you’re not naive to difficulty. You spoke with such realness about how hard your home is. That’s just me selfishly obsessing over the bad, wishing I could control it, instead of seeing how much you want to and will succeed. I wish you the best and look forward to seeing you grow. I’m glad we shared that bus ride
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
Chromatic Typewriter Prints
Tyree Callahan has recycled (or upcycled, perhaps) a classic 1937 Underwood typewriter by replacing letters with sponges soaked across the spectrum with bright yellows, reds, blues and combinations thereof.
lei, jiyoon, and rachel