One Million Dollars | Teen Ink

One Million Dollars

September 4, 2012
By nazevedo BRONZE, La Jolla, California
nazevedo BRONZE, La Jolla, California
4 articles 33 photos 1 comment

We sit in plastic white chairs with straight legs. We sit facing one another, the chairs creak as we lean from one side to another, cross legs and uncross them, scrape the chair legs across the ground. Hands are folded, thumbs tap against our skin. Eyes looking down at our laps, at the ceiling, at the creased floor, at the peeling, yellowing wallpaper. Waiting for a hint of inspiration.

We could talk about family, our children, our spouses. We could speak eloquently about the trials and tribulations of the recent political efforts in the region, if we’d like. I glance down at a question on the paper. It reads, “What is your name?” I raise my eyes to the person across from me. “Como te llamas?”

She stares back. Her eyes illuminate her worn, wrinkled face. “Tia.”

We go through the list. Her name, her children, her job as a farm worker. How many hours she works per day, how her life has been in America. I sigh and crinkle the paper. I place my palms on the table and shift in my chair. “If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do?” She glances up at the unexpected question. She replies in Spanish. “I would bring my child to a doctor. She has down syndrome.”

We switch partners. I put the paper aside. “If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do?” A middle-aged man looks up at me. He grins at my spanish. “Hablas español? ¡Muy bien! ” He ponders the question for a moment. “I would send my child to school.”

My final partner sits down, scooting her chair a bit to the left. She flashes a small smile. “If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do?” She chuckles. “Well, I guess I would bring my family here to live with me. I have children in Mexico.”

A week later, I turn to my math partner in class. “If you had 1 million dollars, what would you do?” She laughs. “Buy a lamborghini.” She looks at my wary face.
“Why? What would you do?”

I glance up and shift in my seat, a worn brown chair, with straight legs and an arched back. The chair creaks as I lean from one side to another. I cross my legs and uncross them. So this is the view from the other side.

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