A letter from my father – by Nelson/Roberto

November 1997

Its 6:15 pm and its already dark out. I just got back from school and I’m the first one home. I dash up to my room and drop my bag. I fire up the computer and head back downstairs to get something to drink. As I go to the turn on the outside lights I bend over and pick up the mail. On my way back to the kitchen I start to go through it. Bill, bill, junk mail…but whats this?

Tossing the rest of the mail on the counter I’m starring down at a letter addressed to Roberto Coto form a Luis Coto. Its a letter from my father… When we got the original package from Probusqueda there was only letters from my aunt and grandmother. I take a second to look at it before opening it. Its three pages of neatly written cursive. I frown for a second. It all in Spanish and I can’t read any of it.

I head back up to my room letter in hand. Half an hour later my dad yells from downstairs “I’m home”

“Hi” I reply making my way out into the hall.

“How was your day?” he questions

“I got a letter from my dad.” I say excitedly

My adoptive father would tell me later these words made his heart sink because for 15 years he was the only one I called dad. There is a pause…”What does it say?”

“I’m not sure its all in Spanish”

Over dinner I show my parents the letter. My mom suggests that she could have one of her colleagues translate the letter for us. I tell her that I think some of my friend at school could translate it too.

The next day I stuff the letter in my bag as I head out the door. As I’m ride in on the T I stare at it I try to figure out what it says. All I can make out is “Dear Roberto,” So I just sit there staring out the window. I always sit in the the very first seat on the train. It has a window all to its self and I can get off the train quicker. I’ve made this 15 minuet trip for the past four years but today it seams endless. My leg is shaking in anticipation and everyone getting on the train is taking forever. Finally I arrive at my stop just in time to catch the last van.

I’m running late. Its 8:20am when I arrive and there is no time to find someone to translate. I’ll have to wait until lunch. I’m restless during my classes I pull out the letter every so often to look it over. I briefly show it to my friend Eric. Finally its time for lunch.

“Julia!” I call down the hall

She greats me with a smile, “Hey there”

“I got a letter from my father in Panama” I say pull the letter out of my bad

“Oh wow that’s so cool, what does it say?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t read it and I need to find someone who can translate it.”

“Maria might be able help you. She speaks some Spanish.”

“Really? Hmm I’ll have to ask her”

“She’s over there, Hey I got to run I’ll catch up with you later” She turns and walks off.

“yup, thanks I’ll see you later”

As she’s walking away she calls down the hall “Hey when are we gonna playing soccer?”

I smile “Anytime just let me know” I turn and head towards the lounge where Maria is sitting.

“Hey Maria are you busy?”

Maria look up “Not right now. Why whats up?”

“I got this letter from my dad and I have no idea what it says you think you could help me with it?”

“This is your father in Central America?” she ask examining the letter.


“Yea sure let me look at it”

Finally I’ll be able to find out what in the letter. Its loud in the foyer so we make are way in to the stair case and sit down on the steps going down to athletic office.

She sits and looks at it for a sec. She starts to read it to me but explains that its very hard with the writing and that he using some words she doesn’t know. As she tries to read it I realize that I’m not actually listening to what she is saying. I don’t think its the letter that I’m excited about. I can’t wait to see meet these people and see what they are like. For that I will have to wait, it will be another month before I get to meet them.

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