“I love you present tense,” I whispered, and then put my hand on the middle of his chest and said, “It’s okay, Gus. It’s okay. It is. It’s okay, you hear me?” I had—and have—absolutely no confidence that he could hear me. I leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “Okay,” I said. “Okay.”
"I grew up in a small village in Liberia. Everyone was like family. I left when I was 19 to study in France. While I was gone, the civil war came, and everyone in the village fled. Suddenly I had nowhere to go home to."
"My family made me come. But I hate it. I can’t get a job because I have a lot of accent. I was an assistant manager at a big jewelry store in the Dominican Republic, now I clean tables. We had a big house there. Now we live in a small apartment. If I was home right now, I’d be in a very nice restaurant, on the beach, laughing with my friends. Not sitting alone on a bench, trying to learn English. There I was a princess. Here I am an immigrant. A servant."