Guillermo: “When I first came here in 1999, I had a girlfriend in Mexico. We were dating for a year. I wanted to marry her and I could only get the money for a proper wedding if I worked in the states. I left without telling her because I knew if I told her, she wouldn’t want me to make the trip. Also, it all happened very fast and I didn’t really have time to tell her. 

The moms in Mexico are very different and the guy doesn’t meet the parents until he is ready to ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage. After I had been in the states for a few months, I tried to call Mariana and get in touch with her, but that was before cell phones so it was hard.”

Mariana: “When Guillermo disappeared, I thought he had found someone else. There was a phone call at my Grandma’s house and then later at my mom’s house, but I wasn’t home. My mom was asking who it was that was trying to get ahold of me and I told her that I honestly had no idea who it was. He got in touch with my cousin and my cousin came by and said, ‘Come to my house tomorrow afternoon at 4.’ I told my mom and my grandma that I was going to pick up some things at my cousin’s house because I couldn’t tell them about a boyfriend or give them any hints that I was taking a phone call from a guy. I picked up the phone and he told me that he was in the states. I told him: “Not even God told me where you were!” He told me he wanted to talk to my mom and that he went to the US to get some money together so that we can get married. I said, ‘Are you serious?!’ and he said, ‘Of course.’ 

Then, I had to work up the courage to tell my mom that Guillermo wanted to talk to her. We made a plan that he was going to call a certain phone booth by a store in the center of town. So, my sister and I just told my mom that we wanted to take a walk with her and buy her some elotes. We didn’t tell her the real reason. While we were walking to the park, my sister tapped me on the arm and told me, ‘Tell her!’ I told her: ‘Wait just a minute-why don’t you tell her?!’ She said, ‘the phone is going to ring any minute, you have to tell her!’ 

Finally, I told her that sometimes we come here because a guy who went to the US calls me and we’ve been talking. We were talking before he left, but now he wants to talk to you to ask your permission. She said, ‘But why does he want to talk to me?’ Then I said, ‘he wants to talk to you so that you know.’ She said ‘Ah, okay’, but really she kept dragging her feet and saying what could he possibly say to me? She figured it out, but like we said, the moms in Mexico are different. It was kind of a big deal.”