Jose was six years old riding in the back of a long trailer with over fifty others fleeing, what Padre called a dire situation in Honduras where they lived but were suddenly thrown out. He saw his uncle give this man all of the pesos they possessed to get out of here and into a land of promise.
He saw the man who took their money and he felt frightened and uncertain. He couldn’t trust this man, an obese and single-minded person who smelled of too much cerveza and tequila. He wore sunglasses and had gold crowns that he flashed whenever he smiled.
“Your family will be just fine,” he told his tio. Jose didn’t believe him though. “Go ahead, get inside. You will be in Texas very soon. There you will have freedom and more money than you could imagine!”
“I don’t want to go!” He told his uncle and father, but they picked him up anyway and put him inside the trailer. It was already hot and airless inside. Madre held him close and his two brothers joined him. The gate closed and they felt the trailer rock and then move. They heard the tractor accelerate and the gears change while they all waited for deliverance from the terrorists and the poverty that they had know for far too long.
Darkness inside felt stifling, profound, and deadly. Jose believed he was imprisoned in a giant coffin. Air was no whereabouts. He removed himself from his mother’s arms and hugged the trailer’s wood floor to get even a faintest of much needed oxygen in his small longs.
They stopped briefly and they heard many voices outside. Then the rig resumed traveling. Jose could only assume they were headed north, though he wasn’t certain on that note either. Voices that started off hopeful and confident became more and more muted. The voices became increasingly replaced by sobbing.
“Abuelo!” Someone shouted in the darkness.
“Abuela?” Someone else cried out. Jose didn’t know but the old ones were going first. They would not live to see the promised land of riches and safety.
“Oh, my baby!” a young mother screamed out in agony. Many more cried out too. This bargain for a better future turned into nightmare and this trailer was their doom to hell on earth.
The rig turned sharply and stopped suddenly. The truck’s engine shut off and another car or truck, Jose wasn’t certain which, came and stopped briefly. He heard a brief exchange in Spanish. “No worries, they will all be dead and we will be rich beyond our wildest dreams.” Jose heard the vehicle drive off.