found them, that she hides this from me still and that somewhere out there I still have a history to look up for myself. At other times I picture her pulled up outside a house she might remember from her childhood, waiting in the car, watching the lights come on with night, or possibly the lights go out, my mother too scared to confront what she could never ask her own parents. And I guess that there are no gravestones telling of what happened, because this would be too easy, too much of a quick fix, too concrete a solution to my mother's history and my own. But what I believe has happened is that my great uncle and aunt have disappeared just like the town of San Marcial. And that they are out there still moving further and further away from where they began, to a place where no one, not even their own sister would recognize them.
WHAT I HAVE NOT TOLD YOU ABOUT THE BOY in the pickup truck, and the young-man I was then, is a story that surprises even me now. I have not told you that the city I was living in then was a small city in Northern Washington, where the primary source of industry was and still is agriculture. I stood there on that block for what must have been a minute, the growing city going up around me, and the sound of the pneumatic nail guns still firing across the street. At the time I was pushing a pair of car keys over and over again in my pocket, thinking about the possibility of catching that truck and using the softball bat I kept in my trunk for other purposes. Over all the years that have passed in between middle school and that moment outside my apartment complex, I was still friends with Adrian. We had both moved north out of the city and were roommates and classmates again in a small state school. But what crossed my mind then was the knife he still held onto, the blade, sharp and serrated at the end, as if meant to skin a deer, or cut through large pieces of sheet metal. I wondered at the possibility of my hand beneath the metal knuckles of the blade and at what cost I could bring myself to use it. These thoughts I do not think are odd, or even ridiculous. I think that there is a fear like this in many people. The way I have fit neither one place nor the other and have always been forced to choose between the two. People, I have come to realize, see me as they want to, they hold within their heads some format into which to fit me. No, I am not surprised at this, because I have judged people myself and have watched many do it before me. What does surprise me is that in this growing city, built on agriculture and becoming more and more dependent on Mexican labor, is that I was in that moment my great grandparents. For the shortest second, standing on the street outside my apartment I wanted to-like my grandparents and their parents before them-disappear into white America. F 70
The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho