by Jessica Polanco ’20
I haven’t spoken to him in years but he called me over the other day. I had the time so I flew in. As I arrive at his house, I realize a piece of his land has been swallowed by a big square that resembles a foundation. “Can you guess what I’m building, chiquita?” I turn around and look at him with my eyes wide open, waiting for him to answer. “A home, I’m building a home.” The foundation that sits on his field of land reflects a strong base, something that could have taken some time to perfect. “How long have you been working on it?” He says three years, just on the foundation. I ask him, “Is it possible to build a home all by yourself?” Jokingly, he says, “Only if his name is Sebastian Manuel De Leon,” pointing to himself and smiling as if it is far from a joke and the person he is pointing to has something to prove.
Ahead of us stands nothing but his dream. Growing up it was all that he talked about. His vision of returning to his homeland, La Republica Dominicana, and building una casa para su familia. I remember seeing his lips curl and his eyes twinkle every time he expressed his desire. I see that same smile today as Papi and I face everything he has worked for. He explains that it will take him only a couple more years to build the rest. El baño, la cocina, la sala, a couple cuartos for all of us. “Like five more years mi niña and it’ll be all built,” he touches my nose, smiles, and says, “And your room is going to be the first room we furnish.” I laugh with hope and ask him, “How about all of las tormentas, los huracánes y los vientos fuertes de la noche. Would it stand to protect us from all of that?” Without turning his body towards me and standing with his arms crossed, he gives me a stare and confesses, “Only time will tell.”