I’ve got a secret

Close to the end of 8th grade, a new student came to my school. For legal reasons, I’m changing her name to Carmen. Carmen had recently entered the country along with her parents and two siblings. Although she was a new immigrant, she quickly picked up the language which helped hide her family’s biggest secret: they were undocumented. I quickly learned of her legal status given that I was the first and only person she spoke with on her first day of school. Although she never told me why, by the end of the day she asked me not to share with anyone else the details of her legal status.

I never doubted on keeping Carmen’s secret confidential. In fact, it was easy to understand her situation given that I had distant family members who were undocumented. [People keep a secret to protect personal space or a name.] [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] My biggest struggle was when it came to lying about it. I was forced to lie when other students wanted to know more about her. I was often tempted to just explain her situation but I couldn’t see myself breaking the promised I had made with Carmen. I sometimes tortured myself with the idea of teachers or authorities asking me about Carmen’s situation and me not being able to lie about it. Fortunately, I was never put in that horrifying scenario. Although my lying was only meant to protect Carmen and her family’s secret, it was an emotional struggle that I never imagined carrying.

Carmen, on the other hand, embrace her secret courageously. By omitting her legal status to others (and sometimes herself), she felt empowered and lived her high school years as if there were no limits. Many undocumented students often shy away from the possibility of university, but Carmen’s secret helped her face reality from another perspective. That same perspective allowed her to excel during her junior year of high school. By her senior year, Carmen was awarded a scholarship as an international student at a community college. Let’s just say that she didn’t lie her way towards that scholarship, but when asked whether she was undocumented or not, she often lied her way out of the question.

Over ten years have passed since Carmen and I first met [comma] and we still remain friends. I kept her secret for many years even if it meant lying in order to protect it. I kept my confidentiality to her and her family who are no longer undocumented. [Organize your writing: new idea, new paragraph.] After eight years of studying and working full-time, Carmen was able to graduate from a great university and received her Bachelor’s Degree [lowercase]. One of her siblings serves in the armed forces of this country while the other is still attending university. Her parents will soon fly back to their native country after twelve years of non-stop labor.

I lied and protected Carmen’s secret until the day she told me it wasn’t necessary to do so. If I had to, I would lie again in order to protect families like Carmen’s even if it means a moral battle and emotional struggle for myself.

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