“Mami, I can make it work,” I pleaded. My mom and I were talking about whether or not I could go to D.R. with her even though I still had school.
“The internet is very bad over there,” my mom said. She was going to go for two weeks and stay at this house with our cousins. I didn’t feel like staying here with my grandma.
I was stressed about it so I went outside. There was a porch and a fence with two houses next to it and grass all around. I went to a spot with a small plant and some rocks.
I saw a blue circle on the ground. I decided to take it inside and hide it so I could figure out what it was later. I went to my room. I took a look at it and I saw that there were these buttons that said different stuff. The buttons had labels that said, “put in a location,” and that’s when I figured it out.
I typed in, “Puerto Plata, D.R.” A person’s voice came from the machine and told me to put the circle on the floor and stand inside it. There was a bright light and I had to close my eyes. When I opened them I was in Puerto Plata! There were trees and then a beach, with a lot of houses that looked like they were all stuck together. I got happy because I knew it actually worked. I went back home before anyone could notice I was gone.
I went to find my mom and told her about it. Now I could definitely go to the D.R. with her. She thought it was a bad idea. “What about if it stops working, what about if you get stuck over there?”
“It’s not gonna stop working,” I said. I made her try it out. She went to Paris for like ten minutes. I was just sitting down, hoping that she would let me use it to go with her. When she came back, she had a smile on her face.
“Maybe you could use it. I’ll think about it,” she said.
A week went by, and then she decided that I could go with her. I explained to her how I could make it work, that every time I had class I could go back home and when I was done I could go back to where she was. She said, “All right.”
We went, and it was fun. I just had to wake up very early for school. I went to the pool. The first day I went, we went and visited everybody we know. We went to some kids’ parties. I felt happy because I got to have a break from my siblings. My mom and I got to get our hair done too.
We got back, and my mom started telling people about it. They started talking about how they wanted to see their families.
I said, “You all can use it.” Then those people started telling other people. We started accepting money for it, but if you couldn’t pay we’d let you use it for free.
In the 2020 Young Authors’ Book Project, I Closed My Eyes and Imagined: Visions for a Better Boston, twelfth-graders at the Margarita Muñiz Academy and eighth-graders at the Rafael Hernández School paint a powerful, quirky, and authentic vision of what students want to see in their future and in the future of their city. The Muñiz seniors crafted op-eds on a social issue of their choosing, from climate change and internet access to raising the minimum wage and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. The Hernández eighth-graders wrote pieces about what life in Boston could be like if some of our city's biggest challenges had been solved—from racism and gender equality to difficulties with remote learning and the antics of mischievous younger siblings. Jennifer De Leon, writer, professor, and author of Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, wrote the book’s foreword. [pvfw-embed viewer_id="9812" width="100%" height="800"]View In Store Read more from this book »