Date: 30 November 2007
Mood: ABSOLUTELY FANTASTICALLY GIDDY
Song: Suddenly I see- KT Tunstall
Place: My office chair (for the last time)
Could I start an entry in a more offbeat way? Could I start writing about this past week and not explain to the people who may happen upon my words how truly amazing I feel today?
Diary, I want to ignore all the unnecessary detail of how I was told that I would not be receiving the visa because one document (which was the first document I applied for) had “apparently”expired. I don’t really want to talk about how I stood in the wrong queue for two hours, or how I was smart enough to bring three sets of photographs in black and white and colour because of discrepancies in instructional documents from the exact same place or how my caseworker got sick and went home on the day of my interview.
I don’t even feel it necessary to talk about how utterly rude the man who assembled my documents was to me. I don’t want to talk about how I cried when I had to tell my husband I wouldn’t be able to see him soon. How I had resigned from my job and bought a plane ticket to the USA and how it was all shot to shit within a matter of minutes.
All the muscles tightened in my face. I was a wreck, only for the sake of Jane, I couldn’t let it show. She had stuck by me, drove me from point A to B, had me reapply for the document in question in the hope that we’d be able to get a new one within a matter of hours. My hope was waning and the tears were threatening again.
It was at this point Diary, that I realised that being with my husband was the one thing I wanted the most in the entire world. I had never felt so incredibly crushed before. Just how did we manage a long distance engagement and marriage for two years? I didn’t know anymore. I didn’t know how I was going to do it anymore. I felt perhaps that if he wanted to leave me, if it was too much, Diary, then perhaps we could come to reach an amicable decision. Because I was never going to see him again. I couldn’t believe that my fate lay in the hands of a stranger. And that I had no choice or say in this matter.
But when you’ve got two hours to kill before your (doomed) interview at the American Consulate General, you close your eyes, Diary. And you don’t care who sees you. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over. You pray. You ignore channel CNN, you ignore everything around you. You’re so fucking shattered. Nothing is simple anymore. And a prayer is all you’ve got. And you remember all your friends who’ve sent you their best wishes. And you hang on, because you can’t walk out of this place without having tried.
She called me to the window. She asked me how I met my husband. She read the extremely emotional e-mail my husband had sent my parents asking them for my hand in marriage. I told her about our wedding. Our road trip to Lousiana. I showed her my very first Walmart payslip. She laughs. She’s from Biloxi, Mississippi. She sees a picture from there in my photo album. She looks homesick for a second. She tells me it’s over before I could guess that it was.
I raise my right hand. And pledge. I walk out of there. And when I get outside. I look up. A tiny sound comes from deep inside my throat. It’s a cross between a yelp of elation and the death of anguished crying.
Today is my last day in this office. I am filled with mixed emotion (and renewed trepidation at the looming deadline!)
The party was held, the white wine was great, I left Johannesburg last night in tears from hugging my friend Jane at O.R Tambo International; To Jane, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for her emotional support during a rollercoaster of a day. I love you more than you understand.
To my friend Gnome: Thank you for making me your hero for your bday! What an honour. To me, it is important to let your friends know how important they are to you. And if you can help them in any way, why not Gnome? You’ve been one of my best friends for years, I’m glad I got you to elicit an excited yelp too! Love you so much.
Toby, for your love, phone calls and concern. I am so blessed to have you in my life, thank you for everything that you have been and will (hopefully) continue to be. You (like many others) will be on the other side of the world, but your friendship is irreplaceable. Love you always.
LT…you’re right…that I got the visa is all that matters! But oh, the dramah!!!!
To all my other friends, especially Bri, Abi, Ally and Molly and The Divine MISS M, your holding thumbs and prayers were instrumental in this process. Thank you for your love and friendship.
I am because we are.
Yes, folks…this is my last day at the office. It’s happened way too quickly. I don’t even have time for a proper observant goodbye. I leave South Africa in 10 days.