August 28, 2009

The Story I Can’t Tell

I came home today with a heavy heart. I walked home from my interview in the rain, not really feeling the raindrops, just feeling a dull pain all over my chest.

I had an interview with a person who was deported from the US. We both shed tears during the interview. He shed more. I’d like to tell the story, because writing about it is therapeutic for me. I hope it was therapeutic for him to tell the story. I think it was. He has to process what has happened to him and to figure out what his next steps are.

As much as I’d like to tell the story, I can’t. At the end, he asked me not to tell his story. It’s too personal, he said. He said that no one can imagine the suffering he feels, the pain he feels in his heart. He doesn’t want me to tell the story. So, I won’t.

I can tell how it made me feel to hear his story. It broke my heart to hear how much he has suffered, and how much those he loves have suffered. Sometimes people tell me stories and I imagine how I would feel if it happened to me. With his story, I can’t even imagine it happening to me. It’s like it couldn’t happen to me. Or, at least, I am not willing to imagine it, to put myself in his shoes.

Of course I can’t feel his pain. But, I know it takes a lot to make a grown man cry.

I could see in his eyes that his whole world has fallen apart.

He couldn’t decide whether to speak to me in English or Spanish, so he spoke both.

His sister was with him, and she tried to convince him to let me tell his story. I didn’t try to convince him. I told him the choice was his, that some people might benefit from hearing his story, that his story might change some people’s minds about immigration laws. But, I didn’t try to convince him. If he doesn’t want me to tell his story, I won’t.

However, I never will forget it.

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