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The City

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immigrant experience

boy and girl at party

boy in street

Home - Casa

A young man walks between the tall city buildings, searching for an address he has written on a scrap of paper. He enters a dark hallway and knocks on a door, but the woman who answers tells him he has the wrong apartment. Confused, he continues his search, asking directions, wandering the streets, fascinated by the scale and similarity of each of the buildings.

boy and girl dancing

boy and girl talking

Hearing music, he enters a room where people are celebrating a young woman's quinceañera, her fifteenth birthday and official coming of age. As the guest of honor dances in her long white dress with her escorts, the young man sees a pretty girl across the room. He circles to her and asks her to dance, but she refuses because she doesn't know him. He introduces himself and asks her questions, breaking the barrier of anonymity. Finally she agrees to dance with him, and they sway to the music, their faces close but not touching.

After the birthday cake is cut, the two young people walk outside through the darkness, listening to the sounds of crickets among the concrete and asphalt that surrounds them. "The city has disappeared," says Francisco. "I feel like I'm back home." Maria reminds him that Mexico is far away. As they talk, they discover that they are both from the same village in Puebla.

When the party is over, Maria invites Francisco home with her, since he is lost and has nowhere to stay. She lives with her uncle, but he is not home. She makes tea while Francisco examines the apartment, family photographs and Maria's uncles' large shoes. They talk about their relatives and family resemblances, and Maria says she hasn't seen her parents in four years. Her entire family depends on the money she makes in the U.S., and she feels trapped. Francisco says that until he saw Maria, he didn't know why he had come, he hadn't known there was someone for him in the U.S.

boy looking for way home

Finally too tired to talk any longer, Maria agrees to let Francisco sleep on the couch, and after asking politely, he kisses her for the first time. The next morning, while Maria sleeps, Francisco goes out for provisions for breakfast. He buys a bag of groceries, but when he tries to return, he cannot find Maria's apartment among the identical tenement buildings towering over his head. He has found love, but he is lost in the indeterminate city.

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