Defining the Odds

Brian Madrigal

It’s my son’s 5th birthday today. I have only ‘’four pesos’’ to buy him something… But I need the money for tomorrow.

‘’happy birthday Pedro!!!’’ says Lucia. Get next to your brother Lucia to take a picture!

‘’ma where’s Pedro’s cake?’’ ummm I have something different!

‘’Hola Mijo, feliz cumple años!’’ (Hi grandson, happy birthday!)

‘’Hi grandma! And thank you.’’ Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday

dear Pedro, happy birthday to youuuuuuu!

‘’Ma why is it a cupcake? I thought it was going to be bigger than a cake.’’ Says Lucia, I want to
save money for an even better gift… and it’s going to come tomorrow!

‘’oh, ok ma’’ says Lucia. It’s getting late; you guys need to go to sleep for tomorrow. We are
going to wake up extra early!

‘’But ma! It’s my birthday’’ says Pedro, I know but please listen.

‘’Well, here you go Alicia have 1,500 pesos for tomorrow it’s going to be a dangerous trip be
safe ‘hija’ (Daughter) And take care of Pedro and Lucia with your life…’’ Thank you. Mom and I will
protect them with all my heart… please bless me ma and May the Virgin Mary be with us.

                                                                                                   ‘’Ma where are we going? ’’Says Pedro, we are going to an adventure to a new world where everything is better and where your father is Pedro and Lucia. I can see how tired my children are but
they have to pull through…this is it, finally we go. I’m a little nervous but I know I have to be strong, not
for me but for my children. A few hours later we arrive to the bus station that is going to take us to
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and that is the most dangerous place in Mexico especially for women. We arrive
at the city and we meet the ‘’coyote’’ that is the guy who we pay to guide us through the border. I look
around I see all men. What if I get raped or even lost I don’t know what I’ll do but the only thing I do is
pull out my rosary and pray softly. It is morning and the ‘’coyote’’ yells take out all your valuable belongings and place it right in this bag!! NOW! ‘’ I quickly get all my
money and put in my waist but… I take off my gold rosary that my mom gave me, it was valuable to me.

‘’Ma why is that man yelling?’’ says Pedro, it’s because he had a bad morning don’t worry ok. He
gets closer to me his eye are red and hands are rough, when I made eye contact with him he looked at
me with a creepy look as if he wanted me. My heart starts racing, he is walking in a slow motion as if I’m
caught in the look of his eyes. I see the bag and quickly put my rosary in it. He comes closer and
squeezes my but cheek then, whispers into my ear saying

‘’ I wish I could make you all mine… but I can’t’’. Pedro looks at me and says

‘’ma is he my dad?’’ all I said was no son he isn’t.

We are half way there Pedro and Lucia. ‘’ma why are we in a dark place’’ says Pedro

‘’ mommy I can’t breathe that much!’’ says Lucia. You guys be quiet I said softly, it’s because we
are in the back of a big bus that is locked and not much air can come in but don’t worry ok Lucia we’ll be
there soon. Finally the ‘’coyote’’ says

‘’Get out! Get out! Hurry!’’. We get out and all I see is a dessert that is never ending it was as if I
was looking into an ocean that seems impossible to swim across. Two men behind me say

’’Damn! This stupid lady and her kids are going to hold us back!’’ I don’t say anything. Another
man says

‘’Hey! Have some manners young man her kids are going to be the ones guiding us. Why?
Because they are angels that god has sent to us to keep us safe and sound. I guarantee we are going to
cross the border because of their good luck.’’ It was commence of the journey. After a couple hours of
walking Lucia says

‘’my feet hurt mommy!!!’’I pick her up and carry her. How do you feel Pedro? Pedro said
nothing, he was not complaining at all. The sun starts setting and the men start camping out making
small beds with rags on the ground. Everyone starts to eat and get hydrated then put on extra coats
because it gets really chilly in the night. The man who defended my kids and I asked us if we wanted
some sandwiches and water, I said thank you and accepted. The sun hits me as it starts peeking out of
the sky like when an eye slowly opens.

‘’Ma it’s really cold’’ says Lucia, I carry her and wrap her in my sweater. I look at Pedro and
he’s ready with a tired face, I hold his hand. The men start walking carrying jugs of water and their
bags. After a few hours I get tired of carrying Lucia so a man comes and gives me his bags and carries
her. Pedro was getting tired of walking as well so a man gives me a few jugs and he carries him. I was
thankful of all the help I was receiving but I was worried as well, its strangers who are carrying my
children. We take a break and settle down; we are all sweaty and dusty. I take off my shoes and slowly
take off my socks as well. I see my feet, I have blisters and my skin is slowly peeling, they look really
red. We continue until its sunset. We settle down to rest for the night, but as we are starting to fall
asleep a helicopter appears! Everyone is running now and trying to find a hiding spot. I couldn’t run my
children were asleep, so I grab my blanket and put it over us. I was terrified and nervous; the helicopter
was big and sounded as if it was cutting the air. My kids wake up and start crying, I was trying to tell
them to please be quiet but it wasn’t working. I see the light it’s so close but then quickly vanishes. The
helicopter didn’t see us… we were lucky tonight.

‘’Mom are you ok?’’ Pedro asks me. I’m ok ‘mijo’, its morning and we all get ready to walk. A
mean says

‘’we are half way there’’ I was gaining hope and confidence now. A man is carrying Pedro while
I carried Lucia. It was the afternoon and we hit a pit stop. This place seemed very fishy and frightening ,
we saw a man that was armed and he was walking towards. We were all afraid but a man quickly comes
to me and says

’’Act like you are my wife’’ I said why? The man said

‘’I know your frightened and these people seem very dangerous, you never know what their
intentions are, so if you act like my wife they might have more respect and not treat you harshly.’’ I said

‘’oh ok thank you so much.’’ The armed man says

’’Quienes son ustedes!?’’ (Who are you guys?!) One of the men in our group says

‘’Queremos cruzar la frontera’’ (we just want to cross the border) I look at the guy and he’s
telling us to go to the abandoned ware house. We all start to walk; we all start to see more armed men
coming out of the ware house. As we got closer we picked up the scent of marijuana, it smelled like
skunk. Every guy that came out looked serious with red and glossy eyes. Now we were all worried that
these groups of men might be part of the cartel, my mom always told me to watch out for these guys as
I’m crossing. We enter the ware house and it’s filled with marijuana plants growing, it looks similar to a
greenhouse for plants. We saw an old man standing inside; he talked to one of the men in our group.
They both stopped and the man said to us

‘’stay here for the night’’. I look at Pedro and Lucia and they are fascinated by the plants.

‘’Ma there’s so many of them they look green and some look purple, it looks awesome’’ says
Lucia. The guy who is my husband stays with us so we all go to a room the armed men assigned us to.
Pedro, Lucia, and I say a prayer quietly then soon go to bed. In the morning we woke up and got ready,
as we walked out we saw women dressed up as prostitutes. I wondered why I didn’t see them last night,
plus there was more men then yesterday as well, that’s strange. One of the men say

‘’Damn she is fine!’’ but the old man looks at him and yells

‘’she’s a married women, with kids! Have respect and shut up!’’ I thanked god and the virgin
Mary that they are protecting us as we were walking to another truck.

‘’Ma, not this again it’s dark and noisy’’ says Lucia. I tell Pedro and Lucia to drink water and sit
tight. We arrived at a new destination; the man who drove us here said Texas wasn’t far from this point.
We all started to camp for the night, everyone was excited and glad. At midnight we all here a truck
that’s driving along a road, there was many lights going on and off. One man said its

‘’la migra’’ (the border patrol) the whole group panicked and some men started running, to
hide. Soon the car stopped and turned and drove after the men running… later the men were caught.
The car was there for at least half an hour then drove off, we were relieved. We all awoke and started to
walk as soon as possible, so we ate some snacks while walking. Minutes later a man calls out ‘’we made

it!!!!! We finally made it!!!!’’ I look and see a ‘’Welcome to Texas’’ sign. After that I felt like I won the
Grammy or a million dollars, it was as if all my hunger and desperation went away. I looked down and
I saw Pedro and Lucia smiling. Suddenly a wave of relief came and I felt as if I just dipped into a Jacuzzi
like the rich people do. But minutes later I was afraid of what is going to come when I see my husband.

2 weeks have passed and Pedro, Lucia, and I have arrived to phoenix, Arizona. We were
homeless and had dirty cloths we haven’t taken a shower in weeks, we looked terrible. We met up with
a sister of my husband that lived in Arizona and she bathed us, fed us, and gave us all spare cloths, then
gave me information of where I can find my husband. She told me that street address, state, and zip
code. Another 2 weeks later we are in East Boston. My brother lived in East Boston and owns a house
there in which he made room for us to live in for a while. He lived with his wife and 4 boys. I got a job as
a house cleaner working for a very generous and kind lady called Jocelyn. After two months with
working with Jocelyn I had enough money to rent a very small condo. Once we moved into the condo
my boy Pedro had his first day of school. 4 months after we settled in East Boston I showed my brother
the card my husband’s sister gave me with all his information when I was in Arizona. My brother told me
the directions and I thanked him. Later on Pedro, Lucia, and I went on a trip to find my husband’s house
and give him the big surprise! My heart starts racing, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen him. I can
see Pedro and Lucia are very excited. We knock the doorbell.

‘’What the fu**k are you doing here?!’’ says Francisco my husband.

‘’ I mean what are the odds of you coming here with these kids?’’ well I came here to be
together like a family should be… but I see you have a family of your own. SMACK!* straight to
Francisco’s face. I defined the odds and came all the way here for all of us I said to Francisco. After that
day I was the mother as well as the father of Pedro and Lucia and I will be strong for them always. At
least I know that here they can have a better life and that when they get older they recognize that this is
my gift to them, I hope they like it.

Brian Madrigal

Defining the Odds

It’s my son’s 5th birthday today. I have only ‘’four pesos’’ to buy him something… But I need the
money for tomorrow.

‘’happy birthday Pedro!!!’’ says Lucia. Get next to your brother Lucia to take a picture!

‘’ma where’s Pedro’s cake?’’ ummm I have something different!

‘’Hola Mijo, feliz cumple años!’’ (Hi grandson, happy birthday!)

‘’Hi grandma! And thank you.’’ Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday
dear Pedro, happy birthday to youuuuuuu!

‘’Ma why is it a cupcake? I thought it was going to be bigger than a cake.’’ Says Lucia, I want to
save money for an even better gift… and it’s going to come tomorrow!

‘’oh, ok ma’’ says Lucia. It’s getting late; you guys need to go to sleep for tomorrow. We are
going to wake up extra early!

‘’But ma! It’s my birthday’’ says Pedro, I know but please listen.

‘’Well, here you go Alicia have 1,500 pesos for tomorrow it’s going to be a dangerous trip be
safe ‘hija’ (Daughter) And take care of Pedro and Lucia with your life…’’ Thank you. Mom and I will
protect them with all my heart… please bless me ma and May the Virgin Mary be with us.

‘’Ma where are we going? ’’Says Pedro, we are going to an adventure to a new world where
everything is better and where your father is Pedro and Lucia. I can see how tired my children are but
they have to pull through…this is it, finally we go. I’m a little nervous but I know I have to be strong, not
for me but for my children. A few hours later we arrive to the bus station that is going to take us to
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and that is the most dangerous place in Mexico especially for women. We arrive
at the city and we meet the ‘’coyote’’ that is the guy who we pay to guide us through the border. I look
around I see all men. What if I get raped or even lost I don’t know what I’ll do but the only thing I do is
pull out my rosary and pray softly. It is morning and the ‘’coyote’’ yells

‘’ take out all your valuable belongings and place it right in this bag!! NOW! ‘’ I quickly get all my
money and put in my waist but… I take off my gold rosary that my mom gave me, it was valuable to me.

‘’ma why is that man yelling?’’ says Pedro, it’s because he had a bad morning don’t worry ok. He
gets closer to me his eye are red and hands are rough, when I made eye contact with him he looked at
me with a creepy look as if he wanted me. My heart starts racing, he is walking in a slow motion as if I’m
caught in the look of his eyes. I see the bag and quickly put my rosary in it. He comes closer and
squeezes my but cheek then, whispers into my ear saying

‘’ I wish I could make you all mine… but I can’t’’. Pedro looks at me and says

‘’ma is he my dad?’’ all I said was no son he isn’t.

We are half way there Pedro and Lucia. ‘’ma why are we in a dark place’’ says Pedro

‘’ mommy I can’t breathe that much!’’ says Lucia. You guys be quiet I said softly, it’s because we
are in the back of a big bus that is locked and not much air can come in but don’t worry ok Lucia we’ll be
there soon. Finally the ‘’coyote’’ says

‘’Get out! Get out! Hurry!’’. We get out and all I see is a dessert that is never ending it was as if I
was looking into an ocean that seems impossible to swim across. Two men behind me say

’’Damn! This stupid lady and her kids are going to hold us back!’’ I don’t say anything. Another
man says

‘’Hey! Have some manners young man her kids are going to be the ones guiding us. Why?
Because they are angels that god has sent to us to keep us safe and sound. I guarantee we are going to
cross the border because of their good luck.’’ It was commence of the journey. After a couple hours of
walking Lucia says

‘’my feet hurt mommy!!!’’I pick her up and carry her. How do you feel Pedro? Pedro said
nothing, he was not complaining at all. The sun starts setting and the men start camping out making
small beds with rags on the ground. Everyone starts to eat and get hydrated then put on extra coats
because it gets really chilly in the night. The man who defended my kids and I asked us if we wanted
some sandwiches and water, I said thank you and accepted. The sun hits me as it starts peeking out of
the sky like when an eye slowly opens.

‘’Ma it’s really cold’’ says Lucia, I carry her and wrap her in my sweater. I look at Pedro and
he’s ready with a tired face, I hold his hand. The men start walking carrying jugs of water and their
bags. After a few hours I get tired of carrying Lucia so a man comes and gives me his bags and carries
her. Pedro was getting tired of walking as well so a man gives me a few jugs and he carries him. I was
thankful of all the help I was receiving but I was worried as well, its strangers who are carrying my
children. We take a break and settle down; we are all sweaty and dusty. I take off my shoes and slowly
take off my socks as well. I see my feet, I have blisters and my skin is slowly peeling, they look really
red. We continue until its sunset. We settle down to rest for the night, but as we are starting to fall
asleep a helicopter appears! Everyone is running now and trying to find a hiding spot. I couldn’t run my
children were asleep, so I grab my blanket and put it over us. I was terrified and nervous; the helicopter
was big and sounded as if it was cutting the air. My kids wake up and start crying, I was trying to tell
them to please be quiet but it wasn’t working. I see the light it’s so close but then quickly vanishes. The
helicopter didn’t see us… we were lucky tonight.

‘’Mom are you ok?’’ Pedro asks me. I’m ok ‘mijo’, its morning and we all get ready to walk. A
mean says

‘’we are half way there’’ I was gaining hope and confidence now. A man is carrying Pedro while
I carried Lucia. It was the afternoon and we hit a pit stop. This place seemed very fishy and frightening ,
we saw a man that was armed and he was walking towards. We were all afraid but a man quickly comes
to me and says

’’Act like you are my wife’’ I said why? The man said

‘’I know your frightened and these people seem very dangerous, you never know what their
intentions are, so if you act like my wife they might have more respect and not treat you harshly.’’ I said

‘’oh ok thank you so much.’’ The armed man says

’’Quienes son ustedes!?’’ (Who are you guys?!) One of the men in our group says

‘’Queremos cruzar la frontera’’ (we just want to cross the border) I look at the guy and he’s
telling us to go to the abandoned ware house. We all start to walk; we all start to see more armed men
coming out of the ware house. As we got closer we picked up the scent of marijuana, it smelled like
skunk. Every guy that came out looked serious with red and glossy eyes. Now we were all worried that
these groups of men might be part of the cartel, my mom always told me to watch out for these guys as
I’m crossing. We enter the ware house and it’s filled with marijuana plants growing, it looks similar to a
greenhouse for plants. We saw an old man standing inside; he talked to one of the men in our group.
They both stopped and the man said to us

‘’stay here for the night’’. I look at Pedro and Lucia and they are fascinated by the plants.

‘’Ma there’s so many of them they look green and some look purple, it looks awesome’’ says
Lucia. The guy who is my husband stays with us so we all go to a room the armed men assigned us to.
Pedro, Lucia, and I say a prayer quietly then soon go to bed. In the morning we woke up and got ready,
as we walked out we saw women dressed up as prostitutes. I wondered why I didn’t see them last night,
plus there was more men then yesterday as well, that’s strange. One of the men say

‘’Damn she is fine!’’ but the old man looks at him and yells

‘’she’s a married women, with kids! Have respect and shut up!’’ I thanked god and the virgin
Mary that they are protecting us as we were walking to another truck.

‘’Ma, not this again it’s dark and noisy’’ says Lucia. I tell Pedro and Lucia to drink water and sit
tight. We arrived at a new destination; the man who drove us here said Texas wasn’t far from this point.
We all started to camp for the night, everyone was excited and glad. At midnight we all here a truck
that’s driving along a road, there was many lights going on and off. One man said its

‘’la migra’’ (the border patrol) the whole group panicked and some men started running, to
hide. Soon the car stopped and turned and drove after the men running… later the men were caught.
The car was there for at least half an hour then drove off, we were relieved. We all awoke and started to
walk as soon as possible, so we ate some snacks while walking. Minutes later a man calls out ‘’we made

it!!!!! We finally made it!!!!’’ I look and see a ‘’Welcome to Texas’’ sign. After that I felt like I won the
Grammy or a million dollars, it was as if all my hunger and desperation went away. I looked down and
I saw Pedro and Lucia smiling. Suddenly a wave of relief came and I felt as if I just dipped into a Jacuzzi
like the rich people do. But minutes later I was afraid of what is going to come when I see my husband.

2 weeks have passed and Pedro, Lucia, and I have arrived to phoenix, Arizona. We were
homeless and had dirty cloths we haven’t taken a shower in weeks, we looked terrible. We met up with
a sister of my husband that lived in Arizona and she bathed us, fed us, and gave us all spare cloths, then
gave me information of where I can find my husband. She told me that street address, state, and zip
code. Another 2 weeks later we are in East Boston. My brother lived in East Boston and owns a house
there in which he made room for us to live in for a while. He lived with his wife and 4 boys. I got a job as
a house cleaner working for a very generous and kind lady called Jocelyn. After two months with
working with Jocelyn I had enough money to rent a very small condo. Once we moved into the condo
my boy Pedro had his first day of school. 4 months after we settled in East Boston I showed my brother
the card my husband’s sister gave me with all his information when I was in Arizona. My brother told me
the directions and I thanked him. Later on Pedro, Lucia, and I went on a trip to find my husband’s house
and give him the big surprise! My heart starts racing, it’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen him. I can
see Pedro and Lucia are very excited. We knock the doorbell.

‘’What the fu**k are you doing here?!’’ says Francisco my husband.

‘’ I mean what are the odds of you coming here with these kids?’’ well I came here to be
together like a family should be… but I see you have a family of your own. SMACK!* straight to
Francisco’s face. I defined the odds and came all the way here for all of us I said to Francisco. After that
day I was the mother as well as the father of Pedro and Lucia and I will be strong for them always. At
least I know that here they can have a better life and that when they get older they recognize that this is
my gift to them, I hope they like it.

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