slow motion train crash
The faces of the gathered people seem to indicate they are experiencing pleasure. The assembly has been gathered for the purpose of playing music to the students. I was having some intense problems with my identity as I realized I was a minority in a place that much more closely resembled a communist society than a democratic one. I had turned to the woman next to me, someone I had known for some time, and told her that I had to get out of there. When she asked me why I told her it was because I was an illegal, and in my mind I was in Russia. In fact, that was true. I really wasn't in the United States anymore, I was in Russia, and I could clearly remember the boat trip I had taken to get there. The male across the table had no idea what I was talking about, and the woman seemed to think it was some sort of syntax problem, not a real problem. I felt as though I were reaching a crisis as the concert was about to begin. The concert hall was small, and I had begun to cry over the alien nature of the things around me. It was then the power came to me through my sorrow to say something. Everyone who could hear me crying was ignoring me. This was not the sort of thing that you were supposed to do at the concerts. The director of the concert, the person in charge, in fact was looking at me with a look of great disapproval. That was when I began to speak out. I said, "Round out." I could see that he could see that I was different and he was trying to stare me down, which I would not allow to happen because I was so unhappy with my new perception of the crowd around me. Even though I said that loud enough for the entire audience to hear (I had been crying much more quietly) no one would look at me. I could detect the irritation as it crossed over their faces. The director stared at me even more pointedly without pausing in his introduction of the pianist, so I simply mouthed my response to him. I knew he could see my lips saying "F*** you!" all too clearly. The grief was still pouring into my head from where I had no idea, I just knew that suddenly I was a stranger in a place where before I had been just like everyone else. I refused to be sucked back into the illusion of similarity. I thought about an ice skater trying to climb out of the water after she has fallen through thin ice, and the ice you try to climb on keeps breaking, as I reached out to the male across the table and began to shake him. I knew that this man had been my friend just minutes earlier, and for what reason he could not focus on me I did not know, but I wouldn't allow this to happen to me. I shook him until he could see me. The concert began across the room over my desperate attempts to wake up my friend. I could see the light in the back of his eyes as he began to see me, really see me, for the first time. It was then I began telling him we were going to have to get out. The woman next to me caught on to the reality a lot faster than he did, and she leaned over as I began whispering to both of them that we had to fight this school, we had to get out, we had to get out. An attendant came over to the booth we were supposed to watch the concert from and gave me the message that there was someone waiting for me outside. Immediately I knew that I should not get up and walk out, because that was the last time my "Russian" friends would ever see the Cuban "wet-back". I refused to stand up and leave. I began to get louder and louder as the attendant insisted more strongly. Finally I hit him, and the assembly was upon me. I could see the woman, who I knew that I must have loved, and my friend, fighting them before the crowd obscured my vision of them. From my pocket I pulled out a knife. I don't know where I got the forbidden object, or how, but I didn't care. I knew how to get my freedom at last. And then I was stabbing the students who were tearing at me and beating me. I must have hurt several of them critically because the armed guards came quickly. They must have seen that the students would not be able to take me. When the bullet entered my forehead I opened my eyes. I was on a beautiful sea, with an island nearby. The sun was shining and there was a trade wind blowing. The woman was next to me on the deck of the ship, and my friend appeared down closer to the keel. Opening her eyes she smiled at me and said, "That was easier than I ever thought it would be." Death had finally delivered us from the prison that we could not even see.