By Jary LaMadrid

I saw an alien on my stop at Circle K in the morning. He was wearing some very worn out jeans with millions of oil, paint and dirt stains and a couple tears here and there. His steel toed work boots looked painful. He was buying himself an energy drink with whatever extra dollar bills he had in his pocket, I’ve never liked energy drinks but I’m sure that’s what gets him through his 18 hour shifts. I saw him again outside in the parking lot, hopping into his old work truck. I wondered where he worked; Was it construction? Painter? Agriculture? I had no idea but I knew it was a job I wouldn’t be caught doing without breaking a nail, getting a spec on my $150 shoes or ruining my hot iron curled extensions.

I saw an alien on my way home from school. I stopped at a red light in my still brand new 2016 Ford. He was sitting on the corner with those little ceramic statues of cartoon characters, some bags of tamales and boxes of fruit being advertised in the bed of his truck with a sign with prices on them. His little corner stand was dry with no customers but for some reason he sat on his lawn chair patient, with a calm smile on his face. It was 110 degrees outside.

I saw an alien in class. She sat next me, a dreamer. She was on her phone the entire lecture which was unlike her, she was a straight A student. I wondered why she was so anxious, it seemed as if she was waiting for a call. My professor let the class go to break and we all walked out of the classroom for a breath of fresh air and some snacks and there she was, she finally received the call she was waiting for. She was crying, I listened closely, I don’t think she knew I know spanish but I also don’t think she cared enough to pay attention. In spanish she said, “Mom, my dreamers rights are being taken away because we are under a new leader, I’m 2 semesters away from graduating but they’re making me go home to you. Please, don’t be mad, I’m sorry.” We walked back into class once break was over. She took out her notebook and she continued taking notes as if her deadline to go home wasn’t there.

I saw an alien’s wife at Walmart. She had a couple bottles of Fanta soda, a Tres Leches cake and ingredients for a carne asada. She stood in line behind me with her two children, one around the age of 15 and the other around the age of 8. They were excited and celebrating tonight, their dad and her husband of 25 years finally received his citizenship papers after 12 years of processing. She explained to them that they wouldn’t have to worry about being torn apart anymore, that even though she still didn’t have papers due to processing they will always have their father to fall back on here, in the U.S., safe, secure and allowed.

I saw an alien at my family gathering. He was my grandfather. He worked in the fields from before the sun came up till after the sun come down. He was kind, genuine and giving. He filed taxes every year, paid bills and loved his family. He and his wife, my grandmother, came to the United States in the 70s for a better life for their children. Mexico is where we come from as latinos but it’s dangerous and doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to making a secured living for families. They moved to Douglas, AZ, a border town. Border Patrols swept every street and every corner every single day. My grandfather would sometimes go weeks without walking outside trying to avoid the border patrol who would park outside their house. After 30+ years of being an American, he passed away in 2007, as an alien. Honored. My grandma received her citizenship in just 2013. Now, because of them my mom and her brothers get to work here in the United States and offer their families everything and more. Because of them I get to be an American, I get to practice my religion of choice in public, I, a young woman, can walk outside without worrying about being harmed and I even just get to go to school.

I come across aliens everyday but instead of them being tall, green, scaled skin creeps they look just like me and you. They have eyes, hair, arms and legs. Just like you and I they have dreams. Just like you and I their choices have a domino effect on their upcoming generations and just like you and I they want their upcoming generations to live on a stable foundation. Just like you and I they want their families to be successful and safe. Just like you and I they want a chance at life.

So, I stopped seeing aliens and started seeing people.

 

Writing has always been a huge part of me, but this specific piece holds a great significance to who I am and what I believe in. My dream has always been to inspire and speak hope into others through my words. I am so proud and humbled to be able to share this piece with you and hopefully the entire city of Tucson.