Chapter 4

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Six days had passed since Miguel first went into hiding. He had missed all of his finals, and in four days he would miss Graduation Sunday, the day he had been looking forward to for so long. He had packed his gown, which, with his honors cords and stoles wrapped around the collar, now hung on the back of his door like a forsaken corpse at the gallows. Looking at it now brought him back to the day he had gone to collect it from the school theater.

Zed and Laila had waited for him outside the theater, gowns in hand, and Miguel Laila had made him promise to dress nicely so they could take pictures. "Not that you look like a scrub but please wear a tie," Laila said. Miguel protested but then Laila had tapped into her never-ending well of charisma, "Do it for the Gram, do it for me. Please." The smile he received from her after agreeing was well worth the discomfort he would face while wearing a tie.

Now, it didn't matter if Miguel wore a fully tailored suit under his gown or just put pn a pair of boxers. He wasn't going to graduate, he wasn't going to get his diploma, and he wasn't going to college in the fall. Four years of working hard, being an honors student, and for what? I showed up, I stayed out of trouble, and now I can't even be there. His parents still wouldn't let him come home even though the ICE raids had shown signs of slowing down. Daniela, and many people like her, believed that the raids were still happening and were no longer making the news. After several calls to his dad for a different answer, all of them the same as his mother's, Miguel accepted the fact that he was stuck.

"It's too soon for you to come back, Miguel. Give it another week and then we'll talk about it."

"Dad, they've stopped raiding places. I can still walk the stage if I miss my finals, they'll just delay sending my diploma. Please."

Sergio remained steady as an oak and now Miguel was skipping school, not because he didn't care, but because it wasn't safe for him to go home. His mood was further sullied as he read a news story story that detailed an upcoming White Nationalist rally, scheduled to take place in D.C. The story detailed that several other rallies around the country were in store, all to be held in solidarity. Miguel sneered at his phone as he read.

...the rally being held by White Nationalists brings to mind the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, five years ago. This latest rally is being held on the same day as the Heather Heyer Memorial 5K. A spokesman for the group released a statement that included the following: "This is the time for White America to honor what has been done under the strong leadership of our president, despite every obstacle that has been placed before him. We want to celebrate the latest achievement of the White House in ridding the illegal overflow that has soiled this great nation. With what has been done in the past week we find that our members feel safe and confident in showing their support for this righteous cause. God bless the President and God bless America."

Miguel scrolled through the rest of the story and skimmed the details. When he had finally had enough, he locked his phone, rolled off the bed, and stretched limbs that had seen little activity in the past week. He looked at himself in the mirror, unkempt hair, five-o-clock shadow setting in, and dark rings of fatigue encircling his eyes. Despite knowing he should shower he found that he lacked the energy to undress, nor did he even see the point in getting ready; he wasn't going anywhere today.

Miguel yawned and then turned from his reflection to exit the room. His gaze went towards the kitchen and he found his desire for food wasn't worth the exertion at that moment, another sign that he was in the cold embrace of depression. His sock-clad feet padded on the floor as he moved into the living room and collapsed onto the couch. He fumbled around the cushions and found the TV remote, turning on the news in the hopes of feeling connected to the outside world. As he watched, he felt his leg begin to tremble, signaling the beginning of an anxiety-depression tag-team match against his brain's serotonin production.

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