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Not so Invincible

by Abraham Murguia At only ten years of age, I was terrified of heights. As I looked out the window of the office building, I wished I couldve admired the beautiful view of the city, for Chicago is amongst the most sublime, and the skyscraper I was in was nothing short of astonishing. Instead, all I thought about was the brutal death I would experience if I were to fall from such heights, as if death was advising me of its presence on Earth. Take a seat, said a robust voice of a man entering the office. I sat down, attempting to listen to the words of John Hammock, a man who would give my father a great opportunity for a well-paying job as a construction worker. I was present solely as a translator, explaining to my father what the white man with the tie had to say. I could feel Mr. Hammock judging me for my age. He did not view me as a translator, but more as a nave boy who made the setting seem less professional. I could not care less, due to how excited I was for my father, especially when I would look over at him smiling and knowing that his hard work in this country would finally pay off. All I had in my mind was how much better our lives would be. We would move out of our apartment and into a new house. We would also be able to afford a family car, as well as soccer equipment and video games for me. My thoughts of our family finally achieving the American Dream were interrupted again by the strong voice of Mr. Hammock. Alright, please clarify to your father that he will need to sign the first four pages, fill out personal information on the fifth page and leave the last page blank, I will explain that one when he is finished. I nod my head and translate for my father. As I waited, I kept thinking how I just wanted to go home and look forward to our new life. Ya termine hijo, my father said, notifying me that he was finished and ready to fill out the last page. Before I could inform Mr. Hammock, he had already noted that my father had finished. The words that came out of his mouth would change the way I view life for as long as I live. On this last page, I need you to explain to your father that he must sign on the lower right corner and fill out any personal information of the person he would give the construction workers life insurance money to. This, of course, is just in case he was to suffer a fatal accident while on the job, the insurance would provide $25,000 to a person of his choice. I could feel my face go pale and my body shaking. It took me a while to even process what he said to translate it to my father. I was aware of death, but at such a young age I did not consider it often, especially not when it involved a family member. Above all, I had no thoughts of my father dying, a man who I viewed as almost immortal, an invincible being that only kryptonite could kill. Ironically, there I was, translating to him about his possible death at work. I was devastated and on the verge of tears just thinking about it. I felt this experience as my first step

into manhood because I left the office with a new point of view of the world. I was now aware that anyone could die. I wasnt sure why I even thought about death when looking out the window earlier that day, since at that age, I never thought that way before. It was evident to me that death could come at any time, to anyone; even the person I believed would always be there would one day be gone. This job was impermanent, as is my father; there was no escaping the truth. The best I could do was make our time last. I held his hand a little tighter that day as we walked out the office belonging to the white man with the tie who is still to this day, the reason for my fathers temporary smile.