I sat at the Houston ( pronounced House-ton, take that Texas!) airport reflecting on the previous twenty-four hours. It all happened too fast, but certainly not furious. Which was a good thing. Sitting down, my mind lapse considering the fact that I was in that English speaking Golden Cage. The passerby voices seemed awkward, strange… foreign; certainly compared to English-English. I had grown accustomed to the Brummies and Geordies! Now, to my surprise I waited to board a plane headed North from Mexico. I wad not expected this to happen for some time. My mind juggled reality with illusion. One negating the other. What is more, my feet and head felt dismembered. They were wear bearing Mexican adornments. Boots made they way unto my feet. Cowboy hat climbed unto me head. All of it was Duranguense style. The scenario would had been more ridiculous had I purchased the botas exoticas that I saw at El Mercado Aldama. Laughing, I contemplated the looks as I walked into El Paso taking giant pasos with three-feet long boots.
An entire week went by since my readmission into the US. It was still a puzzle to me as to how I was there, in that still idealized land of Silicon Valleys and Escalante backcountry trails. All directions point to complete wonderment. I had my interview, received notice that it was approved and was instructed to pick-up my visa, ALL within ONE month. After spending a week with Melissa’s family, I arrived to SLC airport wearing iconic Mexi-wear: mustache, boots and cowboy hat! Now, my bags in tow I sat at passenger pick up number four. I was initially at Terminal number two, however my bags were in terminal one.
At first, the realization that I was in the US had not really struck me as something corporeally bizzare. However, the onset of freedom ” to move about the country” struck me at the point of departure of the Southwest flight from El Paso to Chicago. With every growing lift and g-force a tear descended down the tears of this immigrant son of immigrant parents. Threatening and thundering clouds were the only witnesses to the disappearance of years of tormented agony with a government whose legislation did not have room for the complexity of my life. Precipitating moister clustered on that window, thirty thousand feet above the air. Absorbing my endurance and perseverance. All the money spent to applications, fees, flights and early morning flakes for breakfast, existed in a distant body. Not mine, not anymore. That which haunted me day and night… while at school… playing football with my friends…considering the prospects of going to college… were dumped in that Ciudad Juarez hotel. An exoskeleton left crumpling. Upon leaving the Chicago airport, the song “Staying Alive” echoed in my head. I also thought about Bon Jovi. Yes, we are “Livin on a prayer.”
I descended the passenger arrival staircase to spot Melissa searching the multitude of bodies at the baggage module. The escalator had reached its circuitous loop, I stopped on the ground floor. I scurried across strangers, attempting to hide just a biut longer from her. Giggling, my sombrero bobbed up and down jockeying for surprise point. She spotted me. Zig-zagged at lightening speed toward me. She hugged me. I hugged her back. Looking at my cowboy hat astonished, I too felt silly. Never before had I purchased such an adornment. It was fun! I felt confident. Liberating as it was. Regardless of the fact that I had read Sophie Nield’s analysis of the border as a performance and had used it for an argument or three in several conversations, I could not help but feel the very realness of that performance. It the border is a performance, then they deserve a standing ovation! We kissed passionately. She was wearing her white-summer dress and grey “Greek” style sandals. She was irresistible.
Recognizing that her family was waiting for us, we looked for my trusty yellow bag and made our way to the passenger pick up. Jill, Bob and Brooke received me with generous hugs and welcoming spirit. Bob even said jokingly, ” Welcome to America.” Being that parking is striclty regulated at airports, we wasted to time. The van’s door closed and we made our way to Grandma Davisson’s house in Wheaton, Illinois. The lateness of the night was conducive to quick welcomes and straight to bed behavior.
The following morning, I awoke to celebratory atmosphere regarding my arrival. The Jerrys and Joe welcomed me
back. The mood was joyous. How could we not help but acknowledge the fact that I was going to be able to attend Katie’s wedding? We joked about the serendipitous nature of the whole scenario. Katy and Dan even saved a seat for me in the likely event of me being able to attend. Behold, I was there.
Monday morning, the Styers and the Jerrys parted their separate ways. We arrived at Grandma Styer’s house in the late evening. That very evening I also heard a heart breaking story from Grandma Styer. She related how, days before his parting, Grandpa Styer shared that he was lonely. She went on to say that she felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities of the house. She was accustomed to having Grandpa Styer take care of all the responsibilities. even in his last days, she was comforted by his ability to tell her the agenda for the day. Now, she feels lonely. She looked over at the window where he laid for days before his passing. I was hear broken. Without words.
We spent from Monday to Wednesday at this Wisconsin resort. The family went for a ride up the peninsula. We stopped at several shops purchasing local goods. Another memorable activity was the cherry picking.