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Images by Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo National Archives and used under the terms of a Creative Commons license Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands.

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Chapter Six: Closer to the Dream

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When Marshall arrived at the brothers’ house, a few blocks from Sabria’s and using her directions, the two were gathering clothes from a shared bedroom and stuffing them into duffel bags. Their house was like Sabria’s, like the rest of the homes in that neighborhood, and it was small and humid with low candles casting dancing shadows of the brothers as they worked.

Tomasito, who saw Marshall first, hugged him and squealed excitedly in Spanish.

“He is thanking you,” Ernesto said with a sheepish grin. He laid a strong hand on Marshall’s shoulder. “I must thank you too. It has always been my dream to play in the major league.”

“Don’t thank me yet. You’ll still have to earn a spot with your workout.”

Tomasito, evidently understanding the English, dismissed a breath of air between his lips and went back to packing.

“It is true,” said Ernesto. “We will not let you down. Tomasito will bring his sacred objects and I will play with confidence.”

Marshall was not worried for Ernesto, though he did not really believe that Tomasito was capable of influencing the tryout. If Ernesto believed his brother’s guidance was a help, then it was so. He was not worried for himself either, strangely, since he had left his job and his home and for the time being, had no way of returning. The burning inside had steadily grown stronger and warmer as he brought the brothers closer to their dream. Since he had come to the island, he felt the guiding more clearly and comfortably than he ever had felt the sparkling dream of fame. He knew to care for it and feed it as he could and to not be afraid because it would always be there, deep. That calling was home now and he was never aimless and never wandering when he made strides to nourish it.

As the brothers finished their packing in the candlelight, the rest of their family came to greet Marshall. There were several small, wrinkled adults, brothers and sisters, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles. They shook Marshall’s hands and thanked him, Ernesto or a younger sibling translating a few of the phrases. They drank sodas at a small linoleum table and the brothers asked him about America. Tomasito wanted to know where he could buy sports cars, Ernesto if there was really a Louisville Slugger museum. They had already asked Sabria their important questions.

Then, after drinking and talking late into the night, Marshall got up to leave. The brothers hugged him and Ernesto promised to send his money back when he could. As he left the house and walked down the empty street, the warm tropical night felt thick as a blanket around him. He walked to Sabria’s house excited and full of pride for the brothers and for himself. He had succeeded in doing the thing he came to and found something rewarding in it for himself. He was eager to see where the warm feeling would guide him next but at that time, it guided him to bed.
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