Delta Winds cover 1999Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College



Arianna Yepez

About eight years ago, when I first arrived in America I was only ten years old. I remember how glad I was to be in this country. At first I couldn't believe that I was actually in the United States. To me this country seemed big because my dad had a job here, and he used to send us money while we were in Mexico.

When I first arrived here, I was mostly happy because now I would spend more time with my whole family, especially my dad. Since he spent most of his life in this country, he wasn't around much when I grew-up. For only four to six months he was in Mexico, which is home, and the rest he spent here in the land of opportunities, the U.S.A. I never imagined that I would find something very special here in this country until I arrived.

My father brought the whole family to this country for two reasons. One was to be together as a family, and the other one was to improve ourselves as better persons and also as a family. This was why the first thing he did was to enroll us in school.

Out of this family I am the oldest, and so I had to set a good example for my brothers. I had to show them not to be scared of going to a new school with a new and different language. I was only about ten years old and out of three who were going to school I was probably the most scared of them all.

My little brother was seven years old, and he was enrolling in second grade. His name is Evanibaldo, but to make it short we call him Vany. Vany is the type of person who always wants to explore new things and to learn as much as possible so he could have an answer to basically everything that one might ask. I remember that he was one of the happiest to go to a new school. He was excited about meeting new people, especially girls. He wanted to see what white American girls looked like. It was funny how he acted, so I relaxed for a while. Since he was the smallest out of three, we dropped him off first in his classroom. He was happy to be there; one could tell by the way he was smiling at the teacher.

Then my other brother who goes after me was Elias; a short name for Elias can be Eli. Eli was about eight years old and he was enrolling in third grade. He was kind of scared because he said that he would miss his old classmates, but I don't think he was that scared because he also mentioned that he was eager to learn a new language and then go to Mexico and try to teach his classmates. When we dropped him off, he was calm. The only question he asked was what time were we going to have lunch. I was amazed how he could think of things so positively compared to me.

At last it was my turn. I remember I wanted to cry when my parents dropped me off, but then my dad told me to be brave and things would be all right. After that my mom kissed me and gave me a big hug. Feeling her warmth and love, I had more confidence in myself.

When I first walked into the class, I remember my teacher, Ms. Roldan, was right in the door. She first introduced herself to my parents and then to me. Luckily for me she spoke Spanish, so I felt a little bit calmer. Her first words were "Welcome to my class. Follow me and I'll show you to your seat." I was happy because she was walking towards a girl that looked kind of funny, but she also looked kind of Mexican, like me.

The first thing I looked at when I got into the class was my desk. It was dirty. It had ripped papers, candy wrappers, and broken pencils, and the books looked like nobody had taken good care of them. They looked as if somebody had thrown them into a toilet. The whole desk was really dirty and filthy.

After a few seconds the teacher was assigning some exercises from a history book. I became scared because I didn't have any paper or pencils. But the girl who looked Mexican talked to me, and she told me that her name was Maria. At his point I was happy, not just because she talked to me but also because she offered me her help. She said that we cold do the homework together and that she would give me a pencil and some paper.

By recess time, Maria came by and asked me if I wanted some Kit-Kat chocolates, my favorite. After she gave me some she started talking about her family, but I didn't really pay any attention because I was too busy looking for my brothers. Unfortunately, it turned out that we had different recesses because of the grades we were enrolled in.

Maria was a bit weird in all senses. She dressed kind of funny with clothes that didn't fit and didn't match. She had big glasses because she couldn't see well. Her teeth were all crooked, but she was getting some braces later on. Her hair looked like she hadn't brushed it in days. But with all these things that bothered me, I liked her because she was the only person who wanted to share her feelings with me, and she made me feel welcome, not only in school but also in this country. Her appearance was funny (to me), but her personality was great. She was really a listener; she was kind, gentle, sweet, very smart and willing to share her things with anyone who would just be her friend.

After school I was looking for my brothers again to see if I could find them to go to the office because my dad was picking us up there. Maria said she would take me to the office so I wouldn't get lost. On the way she asked me if I wanted to be her friend and if I wanted to hang around with her. I said, "Yes, as long as you don't talk to me in English." Her response was a laugh and an OK.

School years passed, and Maria and I became good friends. We went different places together. She taught me how to pronounce different words in English and she taught me how to do different things. She was like a sister to me because she was always there when I needed her. Maria was there in the bad times and in the happy times. We grew up together and shared everything. Schoolmates used to make fun of her because of the way she looked, and I used to get in trouble because I was always fighting with them. She helped too, but in a different sense. She helped me with my math, English, and history. She also taught me how to study because I used to study only when I was with her.

One Saturday evening we went out to the movies to see Aladdin. Her mom took us, and she also picked us up when the movie was finished. It was dark, but her mom was driving us off to Baskin Robbins because we wanted ice cream. On the way there a guy who was driving drunk crashed into us. I don't know what happened at that point because I was unconscious. What I do remember is that when I was in the hospital, I wanted to see how Maria and her mom turned out, and I wanted to tell Maria that I was fine. No one told me anything about Maria; they just told me that she was in a special room where I couldn't go. I had a feeling that she wasn't all right. Since nothing really bad happened to me I was allowed to leave the hospital. As soon as I got out, I wanted to see my friend, but my parents didn't let me go, so I waited. A few days later Maria's mom came over for a visit to my house. Her first words were "I know you and Maria were good friends, and I know that she will look over you to see how you are doing." My reaction was "What? What do you mean by that?" We sat down in the living room and she told me that the accident had affected Maria the most. She said so many things, but I didn't want to listen.

The last thing I remember was that her funeral would be on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in Rocha's Funeral Home. I went dressed in black. I didn't want to go. I still couldn't believe that my best friend was dead. My mom stayed with me during the whole funeral. When I got there I sat in the back, behind everyone else, so they wouldn't see me. I didn't want to see Maria. I preferred to remember her the way she used to be, all dressed weird. I bought her a big set of flowers and a ribbon that said, "You will always be my best friend." I also didn't stay for the internment of the funeral. I left before they started. I don't know why, but I just couldn't stay. Something pulled me and dragged me away. I didn't want to remember her by her funeral; instead, I preferred to remember her as my best friend.

I never knew this until two years passed after Maria's funeral. When Maria died, the doctors took out her heart. Maria said that when she died she wanted to donate her heart. Somebody somewhere in some hospital someone needed that heart to survive. This somebody was a guy suffering from heart disease. Maria's heart was implanted in him, and according to the doctors he lives a happy normal life now.

Reality, coincidence, or perhaps destiny, but today I have a boyfriend with the name of Jose Antonio, and one day he mentioned that his heart was not his. He said that his heart was implanted about three years ago. The same time that we had an accident and Maria donated her heart, he was waiting for a heart to be implanted in him. I would like to think that his heart belongs to Maria too. But at the same time I don't want to be ridiculous. However, the idea that his heart might have been Maria's makes me happy because now I would have my best friend's heart in my boyfriend's body. That's two in one.