Welcome my wonderful readers!
Thanks to your wonderful support I’m going to start posting TWO short stories a week now, every Monday and Friday, beginning with Wet-Foot, Dry-Foot! Given the fact that election day in the U.S. is know upon us, I felt it fitting to share a story that embodies The Land of Opportunity. A subject I can truly relate to, since I myself know what it’s like to long for something so special. My story is quite unique in that I was born and raised in the U.S., but do to life’s curveballs I currently find myself in a Third World country, where I have been residing for over fourteen years now.
A little more on that later, but first let’s go ahead and get to the first short story of this week, as such substance is what this blog is all about…:)
All Rights Reserved.
The wide-open ocean was his football field, Cantinflas hanging off a makeshift raft as he ran, kicked, shadow played while submerged from the chest down.
These three twenty-minute sessions a day were not only meant to keep him motivated, but healthy as well, as blood circulation was especially important when spending twenty-three hours a day alongside eight other souls as they all floated toward The Promised Land.
Cantinflas was only twelve-years-old but taking a journey of a lifetime, the hopes and dreams of an entire Cuban village resting on his shoulders, or more accurately, his feet.
From the age of conscious desire Cantinflas was never seen without a football, or what the Americans called a soccer ball, his education of the world’s most popular sport largely coming from the airwaves of his grandpa’s radio. The little box even helped him learn geography, his favorite teams coming from the continent of Europe.
With dreams of making it to one of these Premiere Leagues, Cantinflas trained every day and night, living it, breathing it, knowing one day opportunity would present itself. And that’s exactly what happened one spring evening, he and grandpa listening to their radio news when talk of U.S./Cuban relations came up.
It appeared times were changing, interaction between the two nations becoming friendlier, and therefore, according to grandpa, eventually putting an end to Wet-Foot, Dry-foot, a policy which currently allowed Cubans to stay in America if they set foot on U.S. soil, but sent back to their country if captured at sea.
Hearing this, and the possible outcome it could entail, the boy knew what he had to do, his family and village rallying behind him as the trip was planned.
And so came game day on the fifth day at sea, Cantinflas staring out into the wide-open blue, visualizing his feet working a football to the motion of the ocean, when he spotted the horizon of dry land.
This was everyone’s cue to start paddling to freedom!
Soon thereafter a monster known as Coast Guard began to close in, the nine jumping overboard and swimming their hearts out.
Nearing the shore, a dozen men could be seen preparing for them, and this is when the refugees took up their rehearsed formation, building a wall of their own around their star player as they headed for the beach.
One-by-one Cantinflas’ midfielders were taken down, but not before doing their job of being obstacles, and once the boy found his footing on the ocean floor he took off like never before, side-stepping, shuffling, pivoting away from one American after another.
And then it happened…
He felt dry sand beneath his feet, the giants that had been pursuing him no longer doing so.
Cantinflas looked up to the land they called Opportunity, spotting a few members of the media taking shots of him. Something that would become quite familiar to him in the not-so-distant future.
He then looked out to where he had come from, vowing he would one day return, along with bringing a piece of opportunity with him.
As Americans it’s hard to imagine what life is like in a Third World country, and what a dream it is to want to set foot in the greatest nation on this planet. I mean sure, we can have a mental image in our mind from what we see on the news and in movies, but until one actually experiences it firsthand, you can never truly know what it’s like. And even if you do visit such hardship, in most cases it’s very temporary, being able to go from dirt roads over-populated with extreme poverty to the clean paved sidewalks of our Land of Opportunity by simply boarding a plane. It really is like being on two different planets. How do I know?
For the first twenty-six years of my life American life was all I ever knew. But then one day I flew to Southeast Asia to meet my pen pal girlfriend. Due to circumstances I won’t go into right now due to the length of my own personal story, I ended staying with her for what I thought would be no longer than a year or two, believing opportunity would allow me to return home with her sooner than later.
Over fourteen years later and I can say with all honesty, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel American soil beneath my feet again. I dream of it every day, and due to the nature of my American Spirit I still believe in the possibility, and work each and every day to try and achieve it, but in reality, I really don’t know.
What I do know is that I’ll never stop storytelling.
If you enjoyed the substance of this story please tell the world by following this blog, Liking, Sharing, leaving a positive comment below.
Together we can beat the fluff!