I have only good things to say about Vancouver and grad school. Even though these first weeks have kept me so busy I can’t get a full night of shut-eye, I am loving every second of my life here… with one very large exception.
I miss Leo.
I’ve never felt Missing like this before. The Missing feels alive – like a cold, tentacled creature in my gut. It won’t stop turning over, latching onto my insides, pulling at them, disconnecting them and tying them in knots. Whenever the Missing goes quiet, and I think it might be sleeping, it will suddenly reach up my throat with a long arm, close off the air and fill the back of my mouth with its stale taste. It’s so large, that most days there’s no room left for food. But on other days, it’s furiously hungry, and I can’t stop feeding it thoughts of panic and uncertainty.
At no moment am I free from it; it is all-consuming and oppressive. It has attached a slender, duplicitous tentacle to the back of my brain, at the place just inside where the rounding of my skull attaches to my neck, and from there it murmurs and tugs ceaselessly.
The only thing that subdues the Missing long enough to sleep is prayer. I assume it’s because in prayer I’m speaking its same language of mysteries, the unknown beyond my corporeal efforts to plan and manage. The Missing hates rationality, and when I try to strategize, it becomes defiant – screaming doubts inside my head, throwing itself against the wall of my abdomen and jarring my body with the force of its weight. During these temper tantrums, the only thing that soothes it is a complete release of myself, is to whisper “faith. This is not forever. Patience and faith.”
My only issue with the Canadian consulate is that there seems to be little recognition of what it means to be a couple. Not only did I get the feeling that we were not evaluated together initially, but I’ve now been told that I cannot accompany our case from here on out because they’ve separated our cases, closed mine, and that the consulate no longer has any of my documents. I do hope that they don’t mean any of my documents since we applied with my student visa application on which he is my accompanying spouse; the reason for us going is my Master’s program; the bank account proving our financial stability is my bank account (by virtue of it being a US account); additional financial support would come from my parents; you get the idea…
I’ve said it before: the whole of a human being is not captured in a snapshot of their “paper life.” My husband is entirely unimpressive on paper, while I am no lightweight. I would argue that our flesh-and-bone lives, however, are very much reversed. He is in many ways so much more enlightened than I am – just a truly solid human being. I, on the other hand, tend to be a pain in the ass.
The fact of the matter is that almost no rich nation – evaluating the paper person – would give Leo a visa independently! But he’s not going anywhere alone; we’re a married, pledged-for-life, in-sickness-and-in-health, ‘til-death-do-us-part couple!
I keep hearing that conversation with the visa officer in my head: “I told you, I’m not concerned about you.” Do they think I could stay here without Leo? The only thing keeping me sane is that I stubbornly believe my husband will be here with me next month!
This also puts Leo in the position of having to be his own advocate, and if he has one serious deficit it is that he is a terrible advocate for himself.
A Brazilian friend once told me about some such theorist who said that North Americans have a “who do you think you are?!” attitude, which Latin Americans (and, in particular, Brazilians) rephrase as, “who do you think you’re talking to?!” If I understand this correctly, it means that, for North Americans, there are standards that apply to everyone, while Latin Americans take an exceptionalist view; some people are above the laws of the “little people.”
I am quite sure that my husband has always thought himself as among the “little people,” which means that aside from never receiving any privileges, he wholly expects to be disadvantaged. When I tell him to request the same treatment as anyone else – like, “Pumpkin, anyone can go into the consulate and ask about the status of their case” – he doesn’t view these actions as rights but rather as privileges that he cannot possibly access.
We’re also toying with the idea of moving his flight (now scheduled for the beginning of October) into late October or November. The consulate said that they would likely have the information necessary to proceed by mid-September (late September “at the latest”), but we haven’t heard anything yet. They also have yet to request a medical clearance check-up – which takes a few weeks – so it looks like almost any way we slice it, he won’t have a visa in time for his current flight. All of this has enormous fall out in our emotional, professional, and financial lives, but I’ve totally run out of ideas. I just don’t know what to do.