The Other Side of the Fence

We met under the oak tree, near the river, right where we said we always would.  It was mid-autumn, and the cold slithered and slowly infiltrated the thick layers of clothes I had recently “borrowed”. With every movement, dead leaves crunched beneath our feet.

The time was just after midnight, during the wee hours of the morning. We could see the millions and millions of stars above our heads. Then I looked down, as she was still gazing at the sky. I saw her eyes, brown and oval, with specks of amber shining in the moonlight. It took me a moment to realize that she was quivering, even under her heavy woolen coat. I attempted to comfort her.

“Hey, it’s okay. We’re going to be fine. Just fine.”

She looked right into my eyes, and now the specks of amber were covered in a slick and glossy coat of moisture. A single tear slid down her face, starting from her eye, cascading down her cheek, and dying in the corner of her pursed lips.

“You know that’s not true, Seb. They’re coming at us with everything they have,” her lips trembled and she began to sob.

“They can’t find us here Sofía. We’re so close to the border. They won’t bother following us now,” I knew this wasn’t true, but I had to keep it together, for her sake.

“Do you really think they would let us escape? After all we’ve done?” She grew angry now, knowing I was trying to spare her feelings. “They will never give up. We killed his son Seb! His only son!”

“I know Sofía, I know! I know we’ll never escape! We’re going to die and there’s nothing we can do!” Her mouth opened, and then closed. Her eyes were wide, and her face was slack with disbelief. I was the calm, cool, and collected one. I was the one who said, No, it’s fine. He’s okay. Leave a note and call the police. Not the one who said, He’s dead, Sofía. We have to get the out of here before we’re next.

“Okay. Okay. We’re going to die,” She started nodding, and I could almost see the the lump in her throat forming as she began to cry again.

“Sofía, I’m sorry. We’re not going to die. I promise you, I’ll always protect you. I won’t let you die,” She looked at me with a gaze that scared me. Not because her eyes were flaming, but because they were empty.

“No. This is my fault. I can’t let you die because I ruined your life.”

She was staring at the ground now, twisting the pendant on her necklace back and forth. The one I bought for her on her birthday. So long ago, before we were wanted all over the country. Before we were considered “Armed and Dangerous”. Before we killed the Senator’s son.

“Look, Sofía–” Before I could finish my thought, I was interrupted by the wail of sirens, and suddenly, we were engulfed in a spotlight. Sofía dropped to her knees, and put her arms on top of her head. A police officer emerged from his car, and began speaking, but we couldn’t understand what he was saying. He didn’t speak our language.

“I’m so sorry, we surrender ourselves! Please don’t hurt her!” I pleaded with the officer, begged him to spare Sofía. He replied again in a different language, and he appeared to be angry with me. He motioned to one of the other officers, and he stepped forward. I felt his fist make contact with my jaw. I heard a crack. I felt myself falling to the ground.

I heard Sofía say “I love you Sebastián. I promise I’ll find you. One day.”

I opened my eyes, and saw hers one last time before a gunshot split the night air, and blood splattered my face and body. I heard one last command in that strange language and then nothing.

The sheriff took one look at the scene and shook his head. Two dead. One shot and one beaten. After a while, he spoke. “Those damned Mexicans. Why can’t they just stay on their side of the fence?”