Quitting : Memoirs Of An Illegal Alien Part 15

The period right after that first kiss from Sherry-Ann started out as one of the best times since leaving Jamaica but quickly became one of the worst.

The bad started the next day. Mary sue and I still

One week later I came home to find a letter in from the Social Security Administration addresses to me. I quickly opened it to find a social security card with my name on it. I stood there staring at the card in disbelief. I was so happy I could not believe. This little card was the key to getting my name back. I could finally get a better job and a bank account.

My first inclination was to call Sheri-Ann to tell her the news but then I realized that she really new nothing about my situation. It was late night and everyone was in bed. I could not call Jamaica because it was late night. I had to wait till tomorrow to tell anyone. My call that night with Sherri that night was difficult as I was bursting inside to share the news but could not. My mind was also on the friends would be leaving.

I was up early the next morning and called home. My father was an early riser so I know I would not be disturbing anyone. He picked up the phone and I was about to tell him when I realized I could not just say it. I had learned that I must talk in code because someone may have tapped the line. The belief that INS was everywhere was always in the back of my mind.

Everyone was happy. And the timing was perfect you see my cousin who was deported was making his way back to the US through the Bahamas. He would need his Identity back. The plan was for me continue working but also start looking for a new job.

The job search started immediately as I was excited to have my identity back. I wanted a mall job. It seems like every teenagers dream. I picked up an application to be a stock boy at a Gap store in the 163rd Street Mall. This mall was a major bus terminal. Sherri-Ann had to stop everyday to catch her second bus either to go to school or go home. If I worked here we would see each other. I soon realized I would have difficulty filling out applications because it was almost like starting over. I could not put my handy man job down because my boss told me I get paid under the table and I should never use him or the company as a reference. And at my Mc Donald’s job I was someone else there for that job experience would not help the real me. I was a new person entering the market. I also had learned that I must always check of citizen because it alleviates questions. That first week I filled out 10 applications at the mall. Aunt Fern knew I was looking and suggested that I do supermarkets and some of the other fast food places close by the house. To humor her I told her I would pick up the application when I got a chance. I never did.

Week Two – I started to fill applications for some of the stores on the outskirts of the mall. I found nothing….

I was beginning to get frustrated. I was constantly pre-occupied with the thought of a new job. I told Sherri-Ann I was trying to get a new job too. She often asked about me and school. It was a topic I avoided. I was getting used to the idea of working and bringing in money and school was not a part of my plan. With money I earned I was able to buy things my own things and give Aunt Fern a little money for groceries and also to lodge in the bank… I was into comics and had a large collection at home in Jamaica. I would by about 10 each week at a comic shop near Mc Donald’s. I also discovered this plastics slip that was used to store comics to keep them in god condition. I would by those each week to protect my comic. Comics here were big business as they grew in value. The early issues Spiderman and Superman were worth lots of money. I had the number 3 issue of Spiderman in Jamaica. I hoped no one threw it away.

It was now week four and still no new job. Aunt Fern could probably see the disappointment in my face every night when I got in to find no messages for jobs for me. The only bright spot was when got on the phone with Sherri-Ann at night.

It was week five and the pressure was even worse. My dad called me that week to find out if I got a job. There was now a new urgency as my cousin was in route to Miami via the Bahamas. My application filling intensified. I tried the Sky Lake Mall. It was slow and in a neighborhood with a lot of senior citizens. Not the best mall but I it was still a Mall. I also “sloppily” filled out an application at the Burger King and Winn Dixie supermarket near the house. I did these 2 just to fulfill my promise to Aunt Fern. I doubt they would call back because the only thing I believe was legible was my name.

Later that week I got a call just when I walked in. It was my cousin. He was in Miami. We talked a little bit about Jamaica and the family. Then the moment I dreaded came.

“When can I come and pick up my Social Security card?”

I did not know how to reply. “Can you give me at least 10 days to put in a resignation? I have been looking for a job but nothing came through yet”.

“Alright” he said.

What a relief. I hung up and told Aunt Fern. She advised me to keep the day job, quit the evening job and concentrate my efforts on finding a job during the evening.

How do I quit? Was the thought that was running through my mind? I thought of calling home but it really made no sense since my Dad had warned me this would happen.

That night my conversations with Sherri-Ann were really “bland”. I don’t think I remember a word she said that night. I was really not listening. I could not really tell her what was going on even though I was hurting inside. All I could think about was how I quit me job. I had to do it the next day but just did not know how. What excuse would I use?

I also thought about MaryAnn. We had a close friendship even though Sherri-Ann was my girlfriend. I never told one about the other because I did not see the reason to. There was something between myself MaryAnn that we both knew was there. We just never wanted to venture any further. Everyone including MaryAnn knew about the incident with Shauntell so it helped keep us a nothing more than friends even before Sherri-Ann came in the picture. I would miss her friendship if I quit the job.

Well the night quickly turned to day…It was d-day. I dragged through most of the work day. I was like a zombie and as it got closer to the time to go to Mc Donald’s I became numb.

I don’t remember what happened from talking the bus to Mc Donald’s but as soon as I walked in the restaurant I went straight to the back and told the manager I had to talk to him.

“I have will have to go” I said

“Where are you going? What time do you clock in?” He asked

“I mean I have to resign” I replied

“Oohh, you are quitting? he replied. I could see a puzzled look in his face.

“Yes.’ I replied not looking him directly in the eyes

“You are a very hard work. Why are you quitting?” He asked

“I am to evening classes at a community college in 2 weeks.” I replied. A blatant lie but it was one of the many that had crossed my mind as a good one to use. At this point I looked up feeling a little more confidence to look him in the eyes.

“Ok. I understand that” he replied “What degree are you going to get”

I am going to do an Engineering degree. I replied with more confidence. It seemed like the lies where just flowing. Actually I was thinking my whole life is a lie so why not just embellish my actually dreams. I did want to be an Electrical Engineer at one point in my life.

“Do you want to leave today or work the week out” he asked.

“I will work the week out” I responded. I did not want to miss any money. I also figure it would give me a chance to say good bye to all the other people that were on different shifts and schedules.

“Ok” he said.

I left the office and when back out in the restaurant. It was not time for me to start work as I was always 1 ½ early. My regular routine was to find a table and sit at until it was time and read the newspapers which people left all over the restaurant. MaryAnn would normally come out a half an hour later and we would talk for about 30 minutes before she would leave and catch the bus.

It was strange that day as there was no newspapers lying around or on top of the trash can. I was left to sit and stare. I was thinking of how much I would miss everyone.

It was not very long before MaryAnn came up and sat by me. Her eyes had water in them and her face was red.

“So when were you going to tell me” she asked looking me directly in the face from across the table.

I knew she knew. Word probably spread quickly back there. The last time some quit the manager told everyone immediately and then asked who wanted to work overtime until they hired a new person.

“I did not know I was going to quit until last night” I replied. I was trying to think of what to say next with out comprising my situation. You see with MaryAnn I had to be extra careful because we were good friends. Unlike Sherri-Ann who only heard a voice on the phone everyday she saw my face. I was at a lost for a further explanation but then something came to me. “My Aunt signed me up for community college. She had a friend there who registered me. She wanted to surprise me with the news. She is willing to pay for it but I had to go evenings”

I was watching her face. Did she believe me? The tears were coming down now.

“Oh. I see. Why didn’t she tell you? I hate when people make decisions for me” she replied. You see here parents had been very overbearing on her also being that she lived at home. This was good because I think this helped her to believe me.

I was still a speechless. Then out of the blue I said “Don’t worry we can trade numbers”. I wish I could have taken it back. I really liked her but if she called me I would still have my cousin’s name. Also every since the “race issue” with Shauntell I was not sure if me calling her at home would be good.


“I would like that” she replied with a slight smile that was a little shy. There was a look in her eye that was different. I knew MaryAnn liked me as a friend but that look was more than a like.

She then started to write her number on one of the napkins on the paper. It was awkward for me as I wrote my cousins name on the paper with my home number. Everyone at the house knew I had 2 names so it would not be a major problem. However I still hated having 2 names. Our conversation that day was very different. She seemed more attentive. More giggly. I was starting to feel a little guilty because the more we spoke the more I realized that her actions indicated she may want to go further than a friendship.

The rest of the evening went fairly well. Everyone now knew I was leaving and I was given the nickname was “College Boy”. It was a little relief to know that no one got upset that I quit.

That night I got home Aunt Fern greeted me at the door.

With a smile she said “You got a call about a job today”

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