Aurora Jimenez Cuellar lay panting in the cool darkness, amniotic fluid running down her thighs. Perspiration beaded her forehead, trickling down her face and dripping onto the desert floor. Her green eyes stared at the full moon as she thanked the Blessed Virgin. Her son would be an American.
The Humane Borders volunteer heard it again as she finished restocking the water station. The sound of a baby crying. Mouth slightly open, the woman slowed her breathing and listened. Stronger now. She ran toward the sound, nearly tripping over the woman. A girl, really. Dead eyes gazing sightlessly upward, hands cupped together as if in prayer. Lifting the woman’s skirt, she scooped up the crying newborn and raced to the jeep.
Aurora still lay in her supplicant position hours later, yet not alone. Streams of ants now joined her, their columns advancing across her face and under her skirt as the sun rose in the desert sky.
Adam Mitchell awakened abruptly, sitting bolt upright and shivering, although the room was quite warm. He’d had the dream again. A woman walking thru the desert. A girl, really. There was a full moon, and she was shivering from the cold. She occasionally stopped to pray, Adam thought it was in Spanish. The same dream almost every night.
Only this time it was different. This time she had turned and looked directly at him, whispering “Mihijo“.
The dreams began the day Adam had seen the old man. He’d been sitting in the car with his mother, chatting and waiting for the light to change. Sensing someone watching him, he’d turned to look directly into a pair of green eyes set in a weathered brown face, eyes which widened as their owner whispered “Aurora”, then with urgency “Aurora”. Harshly then, as if with a throat parched by thirst “Aurora!”
Puzzled, he stared back at the old man as the car pulled away, watching him begin to run behind them. At last the old man faltered, stopping in the middle of the street. Adam watched the lonely figure recede until it became a speck in the distance.
She would turn and look directly at him, whispering “Mihijo”.
School came easy to him, his studies unaffected by the dreams. In his spare time he had begun to look at maps, maps of the Sonora desert along the border with Mexico.
She would whisper “Mihijo“.
One Saturday he packed a lunch and took the car out, assuring his mother he’d be home before dark. He drove several hours, taking dirt roads and finally getting out and walking. He was surprised at how easily he found the water station.
Adam walked a little further, stopping to listen to the wind. He heard it whispering to him, he heard it whisper “Mihijo“. He knelt and dug a small hole, placing something inside and then covering it up, smoothing it over with his hand. After a while he rose to his feet, retracing his steps to the car.
Somewhere between Bisbee and Benson, Adam stopped to fill his tank. A young Mexican woman and a small boy sat in the shade, between them a cooler filled with sodas.
Purchasing one, he handed her a five and indicated she should keep the change. Adam got in his car, smiled at her and drove off, heading north.
Such a nice young man, she thought. And so handsome. Green eyes! She hoped her son would grow up to be like that nice young man. Leaning over, she kissed his head, and whispered “Mihijo”.