The black migra agent at the San Ysidro International (jajaja) Border Sation eyed him with the corner of his eyes. He had dropped some keys making a klinking loud noise that everyone noticed as the drug-sniffing dog passed by thus making the dog curios, playful and the key dropper nervous and self-concious. Up ahead of us a lady was stopped and told to back away from the desk and stand against the wall of the adjoining cubicle. He took the greencard and eyed it towards the sky. He was looking for watermarks. The lady was in her fifties and her hair showed signs of greying, and it was braided in that typical way only people of indigenous origins can, which for us mestizo folk, usually infuse respect. The color of her skin was an unusually rich vibrant brown hue, almost as if it had been doused with baby oil. It oozed life out of her every pore, spoke no english and suddenly in the line we were afforded a boring daily drama. The agent suspected the lady had forged papers and was asked a few questions as she waved her arms in the air indicating she had no idea what was meant by that. A prompted agent came by to take her aside and further question the corpulent, short mexican woman.
My friend, born in the US and I were bidding farewells and I decided to follow him to the Sydro trolley station. We had become chums earlier on, at a local concert in Tijuana and he striked me off as decent and well comported, so we approached each other through a common friend of the homosexual persuation. We had loads in common, and before you knew it we were kissing the night away. His lips, rather smooth, carnosos like we say in spanish, fleshy, met my rather thin knives like lips, so I delighted on the first kiss like forever. So much flesh, I was enthralled by his taste in my tongue. We really hit it off that night, or at the very least I did anyways.
Three weeks later and the honeymoon was still going on. We were nearly in love. He was born in Chicago of Republican parents who abhorred the very idea that their son headed off to California. A heathen state in their eyes but were somewhat relieved that he had chosen a university in San Diego. A town, which they figured, couldn’t be that bad since it had always been a Republican bastion. He was only 23 and I was already 18 by then so we were rather happy with each other. He needed someone younger and I needed someone older and so there met our needs right off the bat figuretively speaking.
The line was advancing rather slowly as the lady was escorted away by the agents for further questioning, God, said Greg, is this ever going to end? It was his first time crossing the border, a spectacle, he had convinced me, that at least he had to see once in his lifetime. I suppose the daily drama of the border where human suffering and all the gamut of emotions in life can be displayed can be a veritable source of entertainment for an outsider. For us locals it was a different story and a line that marked every aspect of our lives. The lines divided and united us in every respect so for those who take only one side of the line they can never really understand those of us who live on this tightrope that wiggles all along one’s life. I noticed the agent got even more nervous. Greg kept yakking about this and that. I guess it had not come to his attention that this was a federal institution and not some backyard garden of his, so while he talked I kept watching every muscle move of the agent with the back of my eyes. I usually watchout for the nice ones but this time I was careless, I was so absorbed in Greg that I completely missed my cue and before you knew I was standing in line. Had I been more alert I would have detected the nice agent way before I ever came near the lines to cross. I instinctively do this as soon as I come in and while I pretend to look for the shorter line I seek the noble and tired agent to get through.
Our turn came at last.
American Citizen! said Greg, slightly annoyed at the whole system of walking through the lines. How do I know that? retorted the agent looking at Greg, penetrating his icy blue eyes. Not believing what just passed through his eardrums and into his head he mumbled somewhat, Wha-aa-tt? What did you say? It was the only thing that came out of his lipsy lips as the agent just stared at him with his ‘not-so-amused’ steely eyes. No answer. The black agent just kept looking at Greg as he, jaw-fallen scrambled to get his wallet out of his Armani pants, to prove he was an American citizen. It never ocurred to him that he ever needed to prove his citizenship. Usually agents are so racist that they’ll let anything go by the pourous border as long as it’s white. I guess Greg got comfortable in those nearly blue turquoise eyes of his and his caucasian looks, but the agent must’ve of have been ticked off by his loud sunday-talk. So out came his DMV id, his credit card, his college id, and realized in desperation how futile it all was. Greg finally answered back, as the agent, his eyes nearly crystal of the enjoyment before him, said: You don’t. The INS agent just waved his hand and let him pass. Greg was not used to this sort of body language but learned fast. He moved aside and picked up his wallet and id’s out of the way. I just stared at the whole show, unflinched by it all. Daily stuff you know?
American Citizen! said I as I placed both of my hands on the counter to show the agent I had brought nothing back from Tijuana. What was the purpose of your visit to Tijuana? Said the agent as Greg, still jawed-opened said outloud, What? You said you were Mexican! The agent and I turned instictively to him. I remained calm. I have been crossing the border for ages and worst case scenarios like these had always figured in my repertoire. I said, whadyasay? slightly turning my head in an irritated manner. Greg was clearly still shaken by his experience. HE asked me again in a calmer tone, realizing his loud mistake and not knowing what to do but retain his Republican values, if I had not told him that I was a Mexican. I said, yes, I did tell you that, what’s the problem? I said it in an offended tone, shaking thus both the agent and Greg as the vowels blurted out of my mouth. The agent clearly seeing this as a love tiff told us to move along and did not even wait for my answer. I fitted the profile of a local, so I guess somehow that always saves me.
That day ended our love affair, the honeymoon turned into a mad run for safety from a raging wasp nest. I couldn’t really devote myself to such an inmature man. He needed some growing up to do. The only comfort I got that day was how much control I had over my region, myself. I was reassured how much I belong to this precarious line of ours on the Frontera and this only got reconfirmed minutes later again by seeing the middleage lady of before walk straight to the trolley. This was my territory, so I said goodbye to Greg by the trolley. I kissed those voluptous lips of his once more and I left him standing there, alone, as I said I’d come back soon to meet him. The trolley, I told him, would soon depart. I turned and walked the beige bridge back to Tijuana, my town, my kind of town feeling rather serene about the past, the present, and the future.
*October 15, 2003
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