I’ve just had my green card stamped.
There’s a tiny, small hole, right in the bottom left corner of the card, invalidating its status, marking me as a non-resident of this foreign country.
A hole right through my identity.
Perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad if the immigration officer hadn’t uttered those last words as I wheeled my lone suitcase past him:
I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes.
And there’s no reason why they should have. I’m leaving this god-forsaken country. I’m going back to the place I call home. To the person that I call home. Why should I shed any tears for this life I’ve come to hate?
Because the life you hate is still your life. And every hated life is not full of only hated moments. Even blessed lives can be filled with cursed moments. And there are many things I love in this place that I have to leave behind.
A dear friend who, now more than ever, needed my company.
A bed that housed just as many sweet slumbers as it did hellish nightmares.
A desk that allowed me to gaze into the screen of my laptop and be with my lover through the magic of the internet, when I could not be there for him in person.
A long stretch of road that served as the bedrock for the generation of countless ideas as I strolled along it listening to music, the latest Lore podcast, or reading something about marriage and love.
The things, in essence, that made a tiny sliver of this place feel like home.
Of course it aches for your heart to get used to something and then to be torn away from it, potentially for forever. Whether I’m ready or not, that tiny little hole in my green card marks me as an outsider, even more explicitly than the snide and subtle comments I endured over the past year. It means I no longer live here. It means I can no longer call even that tiny stretch of memory my home.
In its place, I am left in vertigo.
Spinning wildly through a limbo of uncertainty, I don’t know how long I have until my feet will touch the ground – or if I’ll even be right side up by the time I hit it. I could break my knees, or smash open my head by the time I land for all I know. And that’s if there even is a bottom for me to land on; who knows how long that dark abyss stretches out beneath me.
I will. One day.
Will it go on forever, leaving me whirling in darkness for the rest of my days, resigned to the fact that I will never arrive safely with my feet on the ground, no matter where I go?
Will I crash and break, my bones scattering across the hardened floor, and spend the longest time struggling to gather up the pieces and put them back together again (if I can even remember where they go in the first place)?
Maybe I will land safely on my feet, an unexpected yet reasonable distance from where I had fallen, finding the landing a surprisingly pleasant experience.
Only time will tell. And I am fighting myself not to explode in a fit of anxious rage in the meantime while I wait it out to find the answer.
All I know is that finding the answer is so much more important than staying here and hiding in the dark. However much of a home I managed to carve for myself in this harsh land, I know I can grow much greener pastures in my own backyard if I simply have the courage to try.
So that’s where I’m headed now. Back to the land where I was raised, back to the place I once called home. Back to the man who will be my home, forever and always and eternity.
And when the immigration officer opens my passport and sees that I am a citizen of the United States, I can just imagine the look of elation that will spread across my face as my heart swells at his words: