Behind Bulletproof Glass

by | Jun 28, 2012 | Creative Nonfiction

I drink the formula from the baby bottle behind the metal detector, waving with a smile at the security camera as an aspiring diplomat determines if my milk is capable of causing a bomb threat. It tastes wonderful, warm, and sweet. I offer the thumbs-up sign. Who is that invisible angel (Australopithecus) watching through the glass in the corner where the ceiling meets the wall while we journey through the gauntlet of the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara? The Mexican security guard who requested I twist off the lid and drink from the plastic bottle, she laughs; her breasts shaking as the baby screams. I was ready to lick and suck the nipple if need be. I was prepared to pop every pimple on the human body to get my twelve-day-old son out of the cold December and into the heated fluorescent lobby. Though not yet nine in the morning, the waiting area is alive with warm whiskey candescence. Bad children throw tantrums, spill Coca-Cola, it trickles from folded chairs until it coagulates between the legs. Good children play on their knees with colored rubber puzzle pieces of a train passing between stations; borderless shapes with sharp and soft edges. There are bulletproof windows with slots beneath the center of the glass for passing marriage certificates, identifications, prenatal documents, papers of all persuasions. My wife holds the baby. She knows how difficult it is to enter this great melting pot. She has been denied a visa (four times) by the xenophobic geniuses who conduct interviews. She must look like an aspiring maid, or perhaps an accomplished gardener with ambitions of sculpting the lawns of the rich. Two hours pass. The bad children are screaming with crimson cheeks, dragging their limbs across the linoleum floor like fatally wounded fire ants. Crippled by their desire to enter that steaming melting pot seasoned by fifty thousand deaths from the hands of Felipe Calderón–mothers grab the monsters by their collars as they plead their cases. Vaqueros argue over who will pay for a paternity test. By the time my number gets called to a microphone, sixty illegal immigrants have hiked five miles closer to the U.S. border. They have journeyed through a desert desecrated with garbage. They have moved tons of cocaine through an elaborate tunnel connecting San Ysidro with Tijuana. The great American West is polluted with empty plastic bottles. Saguaros with middle fingers pointed toward cumulonimbus orgies. The baby runs out of formula. Three hours pass. The bad children chew the grimy mats of the train. Summoned to the window of dreams, that pivotal jigsaw moment of glory or devastation, the genius informs me I need to show additional proof of residency in order to substantiate the ten-year minimum prerequisite for my son to receive documentation for a birth abroad. I lived in the United States (for twenty-four years). Cheers to the decadence of wizards behind bulletproof glass who deny the existence of an insignificant illegal immigrant living in a third world country. I toast the baby bottle in your honor. Tomorrow, breakfast will be huevos rancheros with bacon and refried beans. Car thieves and drug dealers will maneuver through the system with ease, while benevolent Mexicans are forced to retreat like miserable cockroaches with broken legs and burst tracheae because of visceral honesty being misattributed to manipulation. Pray we build that ethereal border beanstalk higher. The blades of grass are in need of a fancy lawnmower. You might know somebody perfect for the job.







Photo by Xomiele on Flickr

About The Author

Matthew Dexter

Matthew Dexter lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Like the nomadic Pericú natives before him, he survives on a hunter-gatherer subsistence diet of shrimp tacos, smoked marlin, cold beer, and warm sunshine.