I have my Green Card. This of course, is a most momentous event. The weirdest thing about it is that after that horrendous interview that I had that I wrote about a few posts ago where I met the odd little man with the half-moon glasses, I thought that I was going to have to go in for another round of weirdness at Immigration Downtown.
It was the thought that kept me up at night. It was the thought that made me put down beautiful things in homeware stores. It was Nigel No Mates’ final word in every argument. He was fond of telling me that none of this stuff I was doing would amount to anything if I didn’t get residency. Don’t buy anything that you couldn’t bear to leave on the street on your way to the airport.
Then in May, completely unannounced, my Green Card turned up in the mail. Between the Netflix and some junk mail from Penny Savers, was my shining beacon of hope. I opened the envelope, and there it was.
My first thought was, wow, I can buy nice furniture now. The second thought was, it’s not green, it’s like a pinkish-white. The third was wow, I look so bad in that photo that was taken nearly two years ago.
And I felt a weight lift off my shoulders that I’ve been carrying around since the first week that I landed in LA. It was the ten ton back-up plan that was always formulating and evolving in the back of my mind of what to do if this little piece of plastic didn’t get thrown my way.
I won’t pretend that it’s anything like being homeless, or a refugee, or displaced. But there is this absence of anything concrete under your feet. Life could shift this way or that and you have no control over it at all, like an invisible earthquake that could strike at any moment and you’ll be the only visible casualty. Conspicuous by your sudden absence.
Yet here it was, my Green Card, in my hand.
And then a wave of gratitude flooded over me and I burst into tears in front of my mailbox. Holy shit, I can stay.
You hear a lot of stories about people and what they do to try and make it to America and then be allowed to stay. And though I come from Australia and am able to apply as someone with a professional background, I never kidded myself that I wasn’t in the same boat as every single other illegal here.
I mean, you can have all the pieces of paper you like but at the end of the day, it comes down to some person, in an office, somewhere you’ll never get to go who you pray is in a good mood when your humble request lands on their table.
Thank you universe. Thank you.