Ciudad Juárez, My Own Sweet City of Light


My Greyhound bus trip from Oakland, CA to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico? I’ve decided that I don’t want to waste even thirty seconds of electrical current to talk about it.

Suffice it to say that the Greyhound executives should be deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.

What’s more important to talk about is the fact that my husband Picasso met me at the end of this world-is-upside-down trip with the suprise of a vanilla ice cream bar covered with chocolate and almonds.

While I was so many hours behind schedule that the hours stopped mattering, Picasso was hooked up in a big way through Ms. Minnesota and Mr. Oaxaca. They very generously picked him from the airport, took him to their house while he waited for me, and then drove Picasso to the Central Camionera to meet up with his very ice-cream-needing wife.

My husband went to do his medical exam today, a requirement for a U.S. permanent residency appointment.

He entered the medical clinic building at 9 am. He didn’t come out until a little after 3:30 pm.

I started to get the shakes in our hotel room as the hours passed. I realized today that when my husband walks into a building regarding an immigration issue and doesn’t come out for a few hours, I start to mentally and physically shake.

Because in April of 2001, we walked into the Chicago INS together. And on that day, I walked freely back out of the Chicago INS.

Picasso never did.

We were eating ribs this afternoon in the local mall by our hotel as I told my husband about the fact that I realized during today’s shaky hours that I carry some deeper traumas than I previously understood, i.e., my fear that he’ll walk into a building regarding an immigration issue and never walk freely back out.

I told him that it is important for me psychologically to see his permanent residency process through to the end, no matter what the outcome is, because I feel 100% responsible for walking him into the Chicago INS that day.

Picasso kept munching on his ribs. He’s not one to rush.

After he finished it, he put down the leftover bone, wiped his hands and looked me straight in the eyes.

And this is what he said:

“You have to stop assuming full responsibility for what happened that day. I could’ve stopped you, insisted that I wasn’t going in. I could’ve done anything. But I didn’t. What happened will never be 100% your fault or 100% my fault. We just didn’t think it through, that’s all. But I want you to stop thinking that what happened is all on you.”

I held it together at that moment, because, well, there were ribs to finish in this very public seating area at the local mall.

His eyes full of love. Our hands full of barbecue sauce.

Ciudad Juárez, my own sweet city of light.


8 thoughts on “Ciudad Juárez, My Own Sweet City of Light

  1. The mister and I (and of course Lucy the Wonder Pit) are pulling for you both, and for all the members of your support team. Fingers crossed, prayers said, and much love sent.


    1. Drinky, thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers from a family that has done so much for us already. We will never forget and will always appreciate it. Big hug to you and all of your family. Giselle


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