Taking a break from the document I was working on, I noticed the instant messenger blink. Coffee? queried the green font. OK! I replied, glad to take a break and ambled along coffee cup in hand to the rather pleasant lunch room our building boasts. Settling in on one of those high bar stools, my friend and I sat in comfortable silence. Did you hear? he said simply. “What?” I said sipping on the freshly brewed cup. “Three people who came from our offshore vendor were turned back at the POE” he said. I stopped and stared, digesting what I just heard.
I have heard of stories, of nightmarish tales when elderly parents were stopped at the port of entry for failing to have extension papers with them. It all seemed distant and far. I felt cozy, insulated from the world of immigration services after spending a good four years lurking on 485 boards in the past. The anxiety and stress of it all lay comfortably buried in my psyche happy to be done with that part of my life.
It all came awake, in waves. Smaller first, building on each other for the past day and a half. Percolating in the innards of my brain, layering upon the feeling of helplessness I once felt. The questions rose like needles, pricking into my carefully constructed sense of safety. Will it ever feel like home? The question was rhetorical.
I tried to imagine the trauma of my colleague as he stood in front of the officer charged with being here unlawfully. Trying to make sense of the rapidly changing environment. Grappling with the enormity of what was happening to him. The anger, the denial, the acceptance and the shame. Yes, the shame.
It hit too close to home this time to be pushed back. To talk about it over coffee and get back to work. There are stirrings of unrest inside me. I quite do not know what to feel.