Fernando’s Footsteps

by Tony Carreño

Fernando hesitated and anxiously looked toward a group of people who were gathered just beyond official looking men checking papers. He was hoping to see his best friend, Ignacio, who had offered to meet him. He was gently nudged to continue moving forward in line.

"Next!"....followed by the translation..."Próximo!"

Fernando stepped forward and handed his passport and papers to the official. A translator stationed between the two checkpoints was doing his best to assist both stations simultaneously. Though there was not a very large number of passengers to process, the result was a bit frenzied. Fernando did his best to follow the rapid flow of translated questions and answers:

"Name?
Fernando Suarez Menéndez.
Birthplace?
Spain.
Province?
Asturias.
Town?
San Román de Candamo.
Date of birth?
November 17, 1882.
Age?
17."

The official continued to process this information, not looking up at all. The translator looked at Fernando and gave a "it's OK, don't worry" look, with a slight smile.

"What will be your address in Tampa?"

"Su dirección en Tampa?" asked the translator.

Fernando somewhat nervously searched for yet another piece of paper in his pocket. He handed the paper to the translator. Turning to the official the Spanish-speaker said, in accented English, "1822 14th Avenue East. Ybor City".

After a bit of shuffling and lots of rubber stamping, the official handed Fernando his passport and some of his papers. He then handed Fernando yet another paper, this one unfamiliar to him.

"PORT OF ENTRY: PORT TAMPA, FLORIDA
DATE OF ENTRY: NOVEMBER 9, 1900"

The older gentleman, sensing his curiosity, translated it for Fernando.

Without looking at the young Spaniard, the official gently waved him past the check point. Before moving on, Fernando turned to the translator.

"Señor, muchas gracias por ayudarme. Como se llama usted?" Fernando wanted to know who to thank for helping him.

"De nada, joven. Me llamo Armando Nogueira Yglesias, y te deseo la mejor suerte posible!" The older gentleman had introduced himself and wished Fernando the very best of luck.

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This is a work of fiction. With the exception of references to known and publicly documented historical entities, the following apply:

Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. ©Tony Carreño 2020