As she completed her thought, mouthed the name of her native country, her expression changed. Her eyes seemed to glaze over as she thought back to her life before she moved to the United States. Anastasia sat in silence for a while, absent-mindedly shifting her gaze around her small, but comfortable home, a double-wide trailer she made sure to decorate with hints of Mexico. Her gaze eventually locked on a family portrait of her children.

“I have three children now,” Anastasia said, “Diana who’s 18, Christian 14, and Francisco 13,” she said, as her lips turned up into a cautious smile. “We lived in Heflin for 14 years.”

She stopped again. Her eyes began to brim with tears. She tried to hold them back as the delicate skin around her eyes turned bright pink. Anastasia blinked and slowly, the tears streamed down her face, destroying any illusion that the past was long forgotten. It had crept up on her, and now, as it made its presence known, her anger became evident. She clutched for a napkin in front of her, folding it in between her fingers until its shape was no longer recognizable. She crushed it in her hands, gripping it tight, tugging at it until the sound of the ripping paper was the only thing that broke the silence in the room.

“It still affects me,” she finally said, as she used the torn napkin to dot away the tears that had escaped. “It was a very difficult time, a really sad time. We had a lot of problems, but most of them stemmed from the domestic abuse. It happens all too often when you leave your country and go to another, its something you expose yourself to. We come here with many illusions, but that is how they remain.”

Anastasia’s voice trembled as she came to that conclusion; she shook her head as tears once again ran down her cheeks.

“They are but illusions, reality is different.”