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casimiro manuel rendón
tw: violence, suggested rape, death.
you don't remember too much of your childhood as it was ripped out from beneath you at eleven. born the oldest and only boy, your role was establish well before each of your sisters were born. you were their protector, the calm, cheerful big brother that had given plenty of piggy-backs through the yard. your life was relatively kind to you for thirteen years. you played soccer out in the dusty streets with the other children in your neighborhood while your sisters stayed at home with your mother.
you father wasn't a bad man, but you knew he was involved with some bad shit. you had also learned never to ask questions when he was around because your persistence often got you into trouble. however, for a family of six living in mexico city, it was hard not to see how well off you were. where most people struggled to put food on the table, your family never once had that problem. in the long run it was that persistent trait of yours that got you to where you were after that day — one of the many you will never forget.
the sunset's red hues stained the walls after the gunshots echoed through your home. you father had been called a traitor as an assault rifle's barrel burns a mark onto your mother's caramel colored forehead. two of your sisters already lay motionless on the floor — dresses torn up past their hips. little natalia was nowhere to be seen. you know there is nothing you can do.
your mother yells to you as she meets your panicked eyes, "correr mi chico!". you listen, but not before the other men see you bolt from the house. you find your littlest sister sobbing underneath your father's lincoln continental. pulling her out from the car, she climbs onto your back and you run as far as your legs can take you — a pack of drug crazed wolves trailing not far behind.
but they never find you.
homeless, frightened and hungry you travel out of mexico city in search for safety. there was no way you could go back. not when you had nothing left, but the little girl on your back. how could you survive on your own, let alone take care of a three year old? you had nowhere to go and seeking refuge with extended family would only result in their deaths too (if they weren't already dead). so you move forward and try your best to push the horrifying visions to the back of your mind. you had to, for natalia. everything you would do now was for her.
the nights were long and filled with the cries of your little sister who longed for her mother's warm arms. you'd sing her to sleep every night to comfort her and drown out the nightmares she wakes to. eventually, you run into various families who talk about america. your cracked lips and empty bellies welcome the water and food they offer you — and soon you would follow them to a safe border crossing zone.
during the night you climb the border fence, fellow travelers helping your sister up over too. then like cucarachas, everyone scatters at the sound of a group of officers bellowing through a mic, "STOP!" luckily you both manage to escape and hide in time. you wait out behind some shrubbery, quiet as ever until they take their leave - rocking your little sister in your arms.
you have made it onto american soil at age eleven.
america is a new experience for you and california is everything and more. it's beautiful and as you make your way further up the state, you find out how hard it is to earn a living with a language barrier. that, and the fact that you were only eleven at the time. you weren't exactly sure what to do, or where to go, but anywhere was better than home. you needed to start a new life now and find a place you could call home.
curiosity leads you to find a perfectly good guitar in a dumpster one afternoon. something familiar sparks inside of you as you begin to strum on the strings. it is as if you already know how to play it. you don't remember ever learning to play the guitar before. in between a dish washing job at a diner, you play the guitar on the streets of san diego for a few extra bucks. you and your sister live out of various homeless shelters, hiding behind the backs of older hispanics, until one day the owner of the diner pulls you aside. she offers you and your sister a room at her place for a small fee and extra hands around the house. you accept, incredibly grateful for such an offer and vow to one day return the favor if ever need be.
you learn more about the older woman while living with her - her generous nature continuing to surprise you. she helps teach you both better english, which happened to be her second language as well. you had learned broken english from your coworkers and at the shelters; listening to people talk and utilizing books that you could get your hands on. however, it was much better having a teacher on hand to guide you. a couple years roll by and your surrogate guardian helps to enroll both of you in school and talks with you about another opportunity.
it is at age thirteen when you decide you want to become a permanent resident of america. this was your new home and there was no way you could go back and live a normal life in mexico. while your sister is at school, you sit down with your ms. martinez and explain your story. it would take time, but she knew you would eventually tell her. she cries though and you wonder if this was a good idea after all.
it is. even at sixty years old she begins her research for you. there is no easy way in lawfully becoming a citizen, but you start off at phase one. applying for an asylum status visa is the less time consuming path and you (and your sister's) life ticks all of the qualifying boxes. the cartel was messy. it was deranged and terrifying. no place for a child.
you join band in high school. as nerdy as it was, playing music helped alleviate a lot of the stresses of a pending status. and you still looked cool playing a guitar. a year of school, a first kiss, and scrubbing dishes passes by. at fifteen your visa is approved and a whole lot of celebrating is in store. ms. martinez makes you and your sister one of your favorite dishes; chili relleno.
after having your asylum grant for a year, you are qualified for permanent residency almost immediately. things during the next process go smoothly. you have nothing hide, nor have you been involved in anything criminal in america. ms. martinez helps pitch in money for the expenses, but you have been putting aside money since you were eleven.
summer of 2000 you receive your permanent residency card.
you cannot help but be overwhelmed with the feeling to help others do the same; to help those like you escape the clutches of evil or relentless hopelessness. america really was the land of the free; el sueño dorado.
your green card bumps your ego and you want to do much more with your life. school seems like the best opportunity for you and so you apply at a community college in the area. at age twenty-four, you become the first person in your family to graduate from school; let alone some type of college. from there you continue your schooling in criminal law at a university in southern california.
six months before you are about to get your bachelors degree you receive a notice congratulating you on your ten years of residency in the united states. ten years. living and working in a place you have now been calling home since you were eleven. the only step in achieving your goal, a dream every immigrant has, is applying for citizenship. the burden of your tragic past almost feels lifted.
during university, various firms and agencies showed up in your classes to offer up information on careers. it was never hard for you to choose a career path. it had been set in stone the moment you learned that there were "good people that took out the bad people." your sister had never approved of it and prayed that you'd take a job in music. you fought many times over it, but natalia still was the one who pinned the badge onto your uniform after you graduated from a grueling 18 week academy. and old ms. martinez sits in the crowd cheering you on. you are twenty-eight, a u.s. citizen, and a deputy for the san diego police department.
you still enjoy the comfort your guitar gives you. especially, after a long day working. you still have no idea where you inherited your musical gift from, but it is pretty uplifting in a world filled with crime and uncertainties. maybe one day you will find out, but for now it feels really good being just some hero out on the streets.
manolo sanchez - the book of life
occupation: sdpd detective (dreaming of music)
birthday: november 1, 1983
face claim: diego luna
Hey there Boon!
We thank you for adding in those extra details to the app. I loved reading over Casimiro and my heart broke for him over the sadness in his life. He's had his struggles but has been able to persevere not just for himself but also his sister which was uplifting to read. I'm excited to see what lies in store for him!
Congrats and don't forget your claims!