“Your mother was right, Amerigo!” Francesca opened and closed her eyes, blinking to adjust to the darkest night, but nothing changed. “It’s dark. Fucking dark. “
Francesca started thinking this was madness, crossing the Arizona’s desert, and risk everything to return to New York. That golden prison where Amerigo had left his family behind, and Francesca her dream of being a musician.
An Italian and a Mexican who attempt an insane task. “We are the Romeo and Juliet of the twenty-first century, reckless lovers ready for anything even death to crown their dream of love”. That was what they said a few weeks ago when were getting ready for the adventure. How it felt for them to be a century ago. Now they were no laughing anymore.
“Where are you? Why aren’t you answering to me?”
“I’m here, beside you.” Amerigo grabbed her hand.
They felt other people breathing all around, albeit no faces were seen. “How is it possible that there is no moon in the sky? Even the wind seems to have stopped.” Francesca remembered that disastrous day, in which the Italian police tried to arrest her. They found out of her attempt of stealing twenty thousand of euro from the bank accounts of that billionaire of his boss. She hated him so much, that arrogant rich asshole who took advantages of girls like her, offering them part time job as secretary and them asking them to clean bathrooms, seduce important clients, etc. Her ex boss who is also an important politician who can threat of making your life a nightmare if you don’t follow his rules.
It’s been a year since that fatal day she left Italy with a one way ticket to Nyc. Her world fell apart when after having traveled to Canada, at the US border they didn’t let her in.
She felt guilty, terribly guilty for having involved Amerigo, for having forced him to separate from his family, and plan this clandestine return. Meeting together in Mexico City, making a deal with this person, a coyote, a man who organizes these unofficial crossings, and put their destiny in this unknown man’s hands… and, ultimately just hope and pray God that everything would have ended well.
The coyote, Pantera, was waiting for them at the Tijuana bus station. A distant cousin of Amerigo, Juan El Destrozado, accompanied them. Juan El Destrozado was a guy in his thirties who left his job of taco seller at the pueblo market, to become a recruiter of Mexicans who want to cross the desert and enter the United States. It was him who put Francesca and Amerigo in connection with Pantera, who later arranged the whole thing.
Pantera, had a dark complexion and small feline eyes deep as a well, a round face, a scar on his cheek that seemed caused by a knife, and faded colors tattoo on his arm that represented the Virgin of Guadalupe.
While Juan El Destrozado was talking a lot to Francesca and Amerigo, telling them anecdotes and funny stories of his pueblo, about his new business with Pantera, and the million of pesos that was earning working with him, yet Pantera was a stiff and no talkative man. The only thing he asked Francesca and Amerigo: Where are you going? And Juan El Destrozado had answered for them, Al Norte, he said, New York City.
And then Pantera whispered something to the other two men who were standing a few steps away from him as if waiting for something to happen. One of the two men then nodded, making Francesca and Amerigo understand that the time had arrived. They followed the men to the parked car nearby. The approached car that looked like a police car, but there was no license plate. Everyone knew the favors Pantera exchanged every day with the police of Tijuana. Then Francesca, Amerigo, and the Pantera’s man made a trip in the car for a few hours. The road was raw and rough, made of hard terrain, and Francesca had started trembling as soon as the houses around them were no longer visible.
“Don’t worry, babe”, Amerigo holding her hand the whole time. But his voice was shaky and betrayed a growing nervousness.
Francesca and Amerigo were both thinking the same thing. She was a white girl.