For Jackie, who requested that I write something about this for her. ^_^

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Being Foreign

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Nevada steadily crept into the small, darkened room, holding her breath, careful to avoid the slightest creak that should sound under her feet. The only real reason this was difficult was the fact that she was carrying a scarlet red backpack that weighed as much as solid gray rock.

The act of being deadly quiet had first occurred to her when she had first read about her ancestors. The sly cunning they used when hunting, or the skill they attained in riding boats through rapids never ceased to intrigue her, and she enjoyed being just like one of her people out in the wilderness.

Nevada Montañez had improved this skill of being extremely silent over time, and it was rare that anyone ever heard her. At school she was ignored very easily, and she liked to pride herself into thinking that the only reason that was so was because she ignored them first. Her younger brothers and one sister might as well have been deaf for all he could hear her. No one could begin to realize her footsteps were approaching until she arrived, anyone except...

"Nevada! Hija! Estoy en mi cuarto!" (Nevada! Daughter! I'm in my room!)

A heavy sigh escaped the plain, lanky girl of about fourteen. For one, her mother had spoken in Spanish, which most likely meant that she hadn't been studying for her English test the following day. Another more important thing was that she had been discovered again. It was a real mystery how her mother knew exactly where she was and when all the time.

As she ascended the stairs, she murmured under her breath, "It must be a gift she was given when I was born...what luck!"

When she entered the dormitory of her mother, she giggled half-heartedly when her mother showed her the newest cotton dresses she had just bought at a trendy store downtown. She clapped tremendously after the third one, which was a light shade of blue and green mixed in together. Emilia Montañez modeled them all for approving daughter and whistled in happiness.

"Hay tantas cosas bonitas en los Estados Unidos!" (There are so many pretty things in the U.S.!)

"Yeah, I'm glad we moved here." After a pause she added, "Have you studied for your test, mama? You know how important it is to your grade, and then to get your citizenship."

The soft brown eyes that belonged to her mother went blank, and the corners of her mouth slowly turned down into a frown. In halted English, she spoke insistently, "Why? Why...not go...have fun?"

Nevada sighed, not believing that her mother hadn't seen the reason to be able to speak English. "Because just about everyone needs to learn English if we live in the U.S., mama. Besides, I can't go have fun today. I have homework to do..."

Emilia grinned at the last remark and switched gears to Spanish again.

"Te puedo ayudar, hija?" (Can I help you, daughter?)

"Mama...it's English homework."

With that, Nevada turned on her heel and left.

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Emilia Montañez lay in her comfy bed that night, thinking about what her daughter had said. In more ways than one, Nevada had proven that she had the capacity of thinking just like an adult, and it scared Emilia that her daughter was all grown up and telling her what to do.

"Pero ella tiene razon...tengo que estudiar. Sólo así puedo ayudar mi familia."

(But she's right...I have to study. In that way I can help my family.)

She spoke again after a moment, a determined smile on her face this time. "I...will...learn."

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Months later, she had. A beaming Emilia Montañez received her degree of citizenship, and Nevada was the first one to hug her after she had stepped down from the podium.

"I knew you could do it!" She cried happily, joyful at her mother's achievement.

"All thanks to you, my daughter," Emilia replied simply, a soft glow about her face.

"Oh, mom, could you help me study? My vocabulary is really giving me a tough time."

They left hand in hand, united again.

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This was kind of short because it's a first draft...but I was urged to write it, and I think it came out okay. Sayonara, everyone! ^_^