So this past Friday, I got a taxi to the bus station.
I was on my way to Mexico City.
The driver and I were chit-chatting, nothing too heavy.
He asked me if I was from Spain. (The whole issue of my race/national identity/accent in Spanish and taxi drivers is for another post.)
I told him no, that I’m a New Yorkina. And that my Mom and my husband are Mexican.
He was cool with that. Didn’t say anything rude or stupid, as is often the case when we start tap dancing on the race/nationality/accent in Spanish floorboards.
He asked me, “By New Yorkina, do you mean that you’re from New York?”
I said yes.
He told me that he used to live in the US, but he was deported in 2007.
I said that I used to live in the US, but that my husband was deported in 2001.
The taxi driver turned around to look at me for a second. He couldn’t really believe what I said.
We went back and forth about the details, R ordered out of the US for twenty years, the taxi driver ordered out for 10. The fact that my husband Picasso and I were legally married when his deportation happened.
The taxi driver told me that his sister had been trying to sponsor him, but time simply ran out.
He asked me a legal question that I didn’t know the answer to.
I realized right then how desperate he was.
He talked about how hard it was to be in jail in the US.
How tough it was when he first arrived back to Mexico. He’d been away for 14 years.
We pulled up in front of the bus station.
I paid, and wished him luck. And he wished both Picasso and I luck as well.
I know that we changed the course of each other’s day by simply and directly speaking our truths.
Peeps, remind me of that taxi ride when I’m off my game, O.K.?