It isn’t often, but it happens. Usually when I think about the past, or when I think about the things lost because of immigration.
I feel as though I have not personally lost much to our immigration situation. Truthfully, I am living a life that I had dreamed about when I was young: living in a new country, learning another language, getting to know a new culture. The one who has lost the most is my husband.
After he left for work this morning, I could not fall back asleep but did not want to get out of my warm bed; these moments are perfect for letting my mind run away with me. I used my phone to get on pinterest and saw a tile that was painted with the last name of some unknown couple. It made me think about my last name and my husband’s last name. Then I started to think about Salvador’s relationship with my father.
Sal was scared to death of dad the first time they met. He would not kiss, hug, or touch me at all in front of him. He later confessed he was certain my father would tear him apart for putting his Mexican hands on his daughter. But my father did not–when I am happy, dad, is happy, and that was all he cared about.
It took time for Sal to warm up to dad, but he did by the time we moved back home, saving up for lawyer fees. He helped fix up the basement with dad, cut the grass with dad, fixed cars with dad. If dad was going to the hardware store, Sal was the one to go with him. He idolized my dad.
Sal himself never really knew his own dad. His father left his little family behind when Sal was just 3 years old and went on to do some truly horrible things in his life. He is nothing more than a source of shame and anger to my husband. It took him a long time to tell me about his father and the man is still rarely spoken of.
As I laid in bed this morning and came across that painted tile, I thought about the day Sal came to me about changing his name. When I married him, I hyphenated, putting his last name behind mine; he wanted the same hyphenated name for himself. “I want your dad’s name,” he told me.
It will be two years this month since my husband has seen my father in person. And while I am happy living here, I am sad that doing so keeps my husband away from the only father he has ever known.