Friday night meant going back home for Maria. Unfortunaly, this weekend, she wouldn’t be able to spend as much time as she would have wished, with her precious son.
Sebastian was a sweet, brilliant kid. Every Friday he waited for her in the livingroom’s bay-window. As soon as she stepped out of the bus, she could spot his tiny silhouette bent over a book, sitting on the window sill. No matter how long and exhausting the week had been, seeing her son from afar instantly put a smile on her otherwise very serious face.
Her mother was waiting for her at the front door. She took the bag from her shoulder, and pulled her coat to hang it in the closet.
Your father is working late tonight, I am not sure he’ll be back before you leave for the airport, dear. I’m sorry, he really wanted to take you… Oh, how’s the week been, sweety?
Sebastian came running into his mother’s arms, cutting the conversation short.
Oh, you know Mom… Same old same old…
Maria hugged the little boy, burrying her nose in his dark brown hair. If only he knew how different his life would be in just a couple of hours. She kissed his forehead, and asked him to go wash his hands. They had to dine early today, she had something to do tonight.
She wished she could tell him. ”Daddy’s coming home, sweetheart!” It was really burning her lips, but she couldn’t take the chance to disappoint him. José was a good man, but back when they all lived in Colombia, he had done some things that they both wished he wouldn’t have had to do to put food on their table. And he had gotten caught in the process. Now, crossing the border was quite a puzzle, and Maria knew she couldn’t celebrate before he finally wrapped his arms around her again.
No, she couldn’t let the news on Sebastian just yet. But she was dying to see his face when she would bring José back to the house! It would make the sacrifices they all had done, well worth it.
She felt butterflies in her stomach, and barely touched her food, while the little boy ate with his usual appetite.
It’s going to be fine, this time, Maria. Your father and I have prayed so much for you two! José has paid for his ”mistakes” already. And we’ve all worked really hard to build a home, after leaving Colombia. It’ll be fine!
Her mother’s words echoed in her head, as the bus drove her to the airport, for what felt like the hundredth time. And each time she had traveled the hour and a half drive with great hope and expectations. Only to drive back alone and crying her heart out. Everytime, the custom people had found reasons to refuse José’s access to the country. Everytime, she had had to turn around and leave without him.
She had gotten to the gate just in time to see the first passengers of his flight jump in their families’ arms. She knew it would take time. There would be a thorough check up, as usual. But this time, they had taken their time preparing José’s arrival to the country. Maria had worked hard to raise the money to pay influent people to help him get all the legit papers that should let him in.
They hadn’t cut corners. They deserved the reunion. She needed it.
She needed him.
Her phone rang, and she spilled some of the not-so-hot, not-so-great overpriced airport coffee on her coat. It was her dad.
No… No news just yet, Dad. Paperwork takes long, you know that. I’ll call you when we are heading home!… No… No, that’s nice, but no need to come pick us up. We have a lot to catch on about. The bus ride will be nice. Love you, Dad!
She hung up, and checked to be sure there was no message pending.
She looked at her watch, and noticed she had been waiting a lot longer than usual. Hope suddenly grew in her chest, and she could almost smell José’s after shave, when their cheeks would brush together again.
A new flight had landed, and people were starting to pour through the gate. The cell phone vibrated in her hand and her heart skipped a beat.
It still can be good news… – She whispered to herself.
But she didn’t believe it. She hesitated, and finally turned the phone on, to read the message on the screen. Her eyes were already filled with tears, and it took a couple of readings, before she realized what was going on.
Problemas de nuevo, te llamaré desde casa. Te amo mi querida!
José would again be sent back to Colombia first thing in the morning… Her heart broke once more, wondering how much more of this she would be able to take. How she would find the strength.
Besides her on the bench, an elderly couple had just reunited. If she hadn’t been so devestated, she would have found them genuinely cute. Their white hair gave out their age, but the sparkle in their eyes showed the depth of their shared love. They held hands like teenagers, and Maria hated herself for envying them so much.
You don’t know your luck… You don’t.
She picked her purse, and headed for the bus stop.