Two lives which couldn’t be more different: Carla’s in Teguchialpa in Honduras, living in a hut with her brothers and grandmother and picking rubbish at the dump to earn a basic lunches, and Alice, who owns a barbecue with her husband in Texas.
My home – silver hills rising to meet a dazzling sky. I felt heavy with the knowledge that the beauty was a mirage. Gangs, some made up of strangers, many consisting of boys I knew, roamed the streets. They had guns, these boys. They killed out of boredom. There were robbers and there were people like me: so hungry that we would do what we knew was wrong to survive.
Carla’s mother left years ago for America. All the girl grew up with are the weekly phone calls, the Western Union money and clothes from America. Her mother went to be able to give her children a better life and provide them with money. In reality though, they are still struggling, Carla’s grandmother is dying, and they were all hungry.
There was no point in crying. I was a pragmatic girl. My brain scanned like a radio, looking for a plan.
How can a life in a house, with a husband and a successful business compare to this? Surely nothing Alice has lived is comparable to Carla’s daily struggles? How could it? Even the girl from the local high school she meets up with at least goes to school and has a home to live in, and even her life seems worlds away from anything Alice has ever known. However she does have her own problems making her life unfulfilled.
“What didn’t work out?” said Benji, his brow furrowed. “What do you mean, Alice?”
“The birth mother has forty-eight hours to change her mind,” explained Jake, “And our … and we … “ Jake’s eyes grew teary, and he put his palm over his face.
“She took the baby back,” I said. “She just… we had him at our house. We had him on the couch, and even on top of our bed. We put him in clean diapers and a swaddling blanket. He slept in his crib. And then she… she changed her mind.”
“They came and got him this morning,” said Jake.
Maybe it is not about whether our problems are hunger or a feeling of emptiness, whether it is in Honduras or America. Each story on its own – a story of the journey from Central America to cross the border to America and a story of infertility – is nothing new, but what makes this book interesting is seeing that it is not about the situation or about comparison. What you can take away is that we have different dreams and different mountains to climb, but no one can compare pain or personal feelings.
Of course, the two will meet eventually, but how? It takes two long journeys and many failed attempts, but their paths do, of course, cross.
The Same Sky, by Amanda Eyre Ward
First published in the UK in February 2016
ISBN: 0349134324, ISBN13: 9780349134321