Everyone comes to America for a better opportunity, a better life style, or even if they have to make a sacrifice to help someone else. Others because where they once lived their whole lives get really bad and is not safe to stay there any longer. A terrible incident happened to Maribel when she was just 15 years of age. Her parents Arturo and Alma Rivera came to the United States in hopes that Maribel would get better in this school program that would help with her condition but instead they are in for a rude awakening. As for a boy named Mayor whose parents came from Panama because life in Panama was very violent and wanted to be in a more safe environment so they move to Delaware. The Toro’s live in the same apartment as the Rivera’s, Maribel and Mayor have a very special relationship and are understanding of each other.
Mayor Toro is a shy timid kid has who has a hard time fitting in his surroundings, often feeling out casted. He is nothing like his older brother Enrique who is loved and adored by everybody. Enrique played soccer all throughout high school and was one of the most popular kids, he now attends Maryland College with an athletic scholarship. Mayor hopes to be like his older brother but has a hard time socializing with his peers, they often make fun of him. One kid in particular named Garret gives Mayor a real tough time by bullying him for no apparent reason. He calls him names like “Bitch”, “Pussy”, and makes fun of him because of his Hispanic descent.
Maribel on the other hand comes from Patzcuaro Mexico and suffered a devastating injury when she was only fifteen years old. She went with her father Arturo to his work sight one day and she wanted to help him so bad. Her parents let her go because they could never tell her no. This ended in tragedy, Maribel was climbing the ladder to help her father when suddenly Alma got distracted causing her to lose control of the ladder. Maribel fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury causing the doctors to cut a piece of her brain out to stop the swelling. Maribel’s family then moved to Newark, Delaware to start a new life and to enroll Maribel into a school called “Evers” that Alma and Arturo believed would help Maribel become a normal person again or go back to the way she was. Having moved into their new apartment and Maribel attending a different school, Alma receives reports from the teachers that Maribel has a hard time remembering things they went over, has a hard time paying attention, and has a hard time doing the work. Then one day Alma decided to attend an English class so she could learn how to speak English, in hopes she could be there for Maribel if she needs to talk with her teachers. Alma lost track of time and began to worry that she would not make it back in time to be there and get Maribel. When she finally got there she seen Maribel talking to Mayor who lived in their apartment, and looked at them in frantic.
Mayor had seen Maribel at her bus stop just standing there. This was not the first time that he had seen her, in fact when he first seen her he said “She’s fucking hot”. He then met her when she was at the store with her mother Alma, but now it was just them two all alone. That was until Garrett came along and started checking out Maribel and began talking to her. Even though Maribel didn’t speak English Garrett continued to mess with Maribel, asking what was wrong with her and throwing her glasses on the floor. Mayor came to Maribel’s defense. Mayor waited for Garrett to leave and began to talk to Maribel, even though she wasn’t listening to him he still went on talking to her and making her smile. That to him was the most important thing to him was making her smile. Every chance Mayor got to see Maribel he would make an effort to talk to her every time and share stories with her. Even though she would ask him “what did you say” and he would often have to repeat it. It didn’t matter to Mayor he would repeat it and he began to feel as if finally someone didn’t outcast him, judge him, or make fun of him. He felt like he finally had a connection with someone. He also even questioned himself and asked himself as if he would be taking advantage of her since Maribel was impaired from her brain. None the less he kept talking to her. His intentions were good, if anyone was talking bad about Maribel he would quickly come to her defense. When Garrett asked Mayor, “Hey, how’s the retard doing?” Garrett kept going on and on continuing to talk bad about Maribel that Mayor got tired of it and actually hit Garrett. He was punished and was not allowed to go anywhere and when he got out of school he was to go straight home. That didn’t stop him from seeing Maribel and even got her a gift and bought her a scarf for Christmas. He went in to kiss her and when he did she smiled and that made him feel happy because that’s all he wanted to make her do. Even though the little connection that they had didn’t get to last long due to Garrett killing Maribel’s father Arturo. Maribel went back to Mexico with her mother but left Mayor with her notebook for all the memories that they shared together. They both went on their separate ways but it seemed as if they helped each other out while they were in each other’s life’s and Maribel did end up getting better.
Henríquez Cristina. The Book of Unknown Americans. Vintage Books, a Division of Random House LLC, 2015.