Friday, February 4, 2011

day 2: most likely to get deported

Three days ago, Pablo Correa found good form.

The funny thing was, most of the people he knew told him he couldn't do it. That he wasn't strong enough, wasn't fast enough. Pablo knew better.

Even his best friend Ricco told him it was a long shot. "you're better off just paying the coyotes, man"

His abuela told him, "mijo, dont do it, its not safe."

But Pablo was determined. He had practiced the jump for a long time; over 3 months, to be exact. A long time was spent analyzing the pros and cons. He knew he probably couldn't return home and there was a hell of a long walk once he got to the other side. But ever since his  parents and little sister were killed in a shooting two winters ago, he had no desire to be at home. In fact, most nights he slept at Ricco's house.

In such a remote location, he knew there was a high chance that if he landed wrong and broke a leg or sprained an ankle he would be without any help. Regardless, Pablo yearned for what was on the other side. He could almost taste it in his mouth.

So on Feburary 4th, 1992, in some flats out in La Purisma, Pablo Correa took a risk. Naturally, his best friend Ricco was the only person who came to see him off, although Pablo suspected it was partly out of morbid curiosity.

"Just take a deep breath," he thought. "These next few seconds are critical."

And so he ran. And with every ounce of strength he had, Pablo stuck the 6 foot long pole vaulting stick he had stolen into the Mexican dirt and pole vaulted his slender Chicano body over the 8 foot fence and into The United States of America.

He landed with a splash in the murky Rio Grande River.

As he dog paddled to the beach, Ricco tossed over Pablo's canteen and provisions for the 30 mile walk to Del Rio. "Godspeed, hermano."

Pablo thanked his friend, and told him he would be sending money in a few weeks for him and his family. It was kind of weird knowing his best friend and he were now in different countries, and it would be a very long time before they saw each other again. But Pablo had bigger things to worry about. Like the Border Patrol.

As they said their final goodbyes and Pablo disappeared into the Brush, Ricco clasped his rosary beads and said a prayer for his friend.

"Querido SeƱor, que mi amigo a salvo, por favor"

Two days later Pablo walked safely into the city of Del Rio. Two days of walking in the Texas brush with little food or water had exhausted him. Luckily, he ran across only one Border Patrol truck, and made it past them with ease. 

It was a Sunday, so Pablo made a beeline for the first Roman Catholic church he saw and attended mass. He thanked god for getting him across safely. He lit four candles: one for his mother, one for his father, one for his little sister Ana, and one for his well-being. Pablo could breathe easy. All he had to do now was find a job. 

Two months later, during a raid at the warehouse he worked at, Pablo was shot fatally in the heart by Border Patrol Officer Chase Frost.

There was no funeral.

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