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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


by Aaron O. Gillego

O J Simpson gets arrested as Hillary Clinton unveils her universal health care plan. It’s 1994 and my father sits there with his dialysis machine, watching Peter Jennings on World News Tonight. On the dining table, I work on Ms. DiLeo’s world map contest for the 8th grade Social Studies class. There are new nations to color in like Namibia, the Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and old ones that I don’t know how to label: Myanmar or Burma, the CIS or the USSR. Nations that had once been there have disappeared as if wiped out by a nuclear bomb or as if their existence didn’t matter. The U.S.A is still red, white and blue….and the Philippines just yellow traces on the corner of a map, next to the legend that’s supposed to make things easily understood: that an international border is a solid line, a provincial border is a dotted line…That’s how I viewed the map in front of me, as my father soaked in the news of the world.

Now in 2007, I watch the news anchored by a woman: OJ Simpson gets arrested as Hillary Clinton unveils her universal health care plan. The news doesn’t get old as I do. They show a provincial map of Iraq where war rages on—and there’s a legend that draws the lines in the desert sand, lines that are blurred by blood.

Aaron O. Gillego, 27, graduated summa cum laude (B.A. in English) from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, where he was a recipient of the Corazon C. Aquino Scholarship. He received a fellowship to finish his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (May 2007) at the University of Miami. He resides in Miami Beach, FL and teaches high school English at Toras Emes Academy, where he has worked for four years.