In Miami driving is a must. The thought of driving never crossed my mind. In Jamaica very few get there license as a teenager. Even though having a car in Miami would make life easier I did not have the money. Well it was not a problem till the 7th month of being in the USA. I had called my contact, Trevor, in NY to find out about the social security card issue. He asked me if I had a gotten my Drivers License. I asked him for what reason. He asked how long I was given to stay in the USA. I told him 6 months.
“Ra** Cl**t yuh blow yuh chance fe get a drivers license” he said.
“What do you mean” I asked.
“Yuh coulda use yuh 6 months stay dem gi yuh an get a driver license. Now dat yuh overstay dem nah gi yuh no licsence. Yuh a illegal alien now” he explained.
It was like some sucked the air out of the room. I had hopes of driving some day but now that was gone. It would be a handicap.
“Yuh go get police ID yet?” he asked.
Again my answer was no.
“ Youth man nobody nuh tell how fe run tings?” he asked sounding a bit concerned.
“No” I responded timidly.
“Go dung a de nearest police station an just show dem yuh passport an get a ID. Mek sure yuh nuh show dem the six month stamp inna yuh passport. Ef dem ask why yuh need it just say yuh a open a bank account an yuh need ID” he explained.
“Ok” I responded.
I think he heard the disappointment in my voice and tried to give me some hope.
‘Mi ave bredren down suh whey bring up im youth pon smaddy else passport. Im figured out away to get im wan liscence de adda day. Mi wi chek wid him an link yuh back’.
In the back of my mind I thought this would probably take a while just like him not finding the social security contact.
As soon as I hung up I went and spoke to Aunt Fern about getting the police Id. She was a little concerned and advised me not to do it. She said right now no one knows I am here and doing this may alert them. I now had a dilemma on who should I listen to. I did not want to blow another opportunity and it seemed very important to get some type of identification in the USA. I also was very grateful to Aunt Fern and did not want to disappoint her by going against her wishes. Two days passed by all I could hear was my Trevor saying you missed the chance. The voices in my head also said I had to start making some decisions on my own. To add to matters worse something happened at work. Call it a coincidence but when I had gone back to work the next day Damien had some news. He bought a new car. On our break he took me out to see it. It was a vintage Mustang. It was black with nice rims and tires. It was very nice.
He asked “When are you getting some wheels so you can stop taking the bus”. “Very soon, I am saving my money”, I replied.
But I thought to myself, I would never get a license to drive. I did not know what a police ID would do in getting me closer to a drivers license but Damiens new car pushed me to make a decision. I would go get the police ID this week. On my break that evening I looked in the phone book and found the police station nearest to the restaurant. It was about 2 blocks away and the bus stops right there. I arrived at an hour early everyday so I figured I would have enough time to get there and back to work. It was all set. Tomorrow I would do it.
That night I slept restlessly. All types of questions ran through my mind. Would they lock me up and deport? I think the scolding from Trevor was a bigger fear.
Work the next morning was hard to do. I was distracted by what I had to do that afternoon. Every police car I saw I looked in the back to see if any one was being help in custody. The day just seemed to drag on and the work day ended and I got on the bus time just seem to speed up. I was now two stops away. The bus was now approaching the stop. I was stuck in my seat as the bus stopped. I started to sweat. Fear gripped me. Should I get off? My brain wanted to…I think. I stayed on the bus.
The rest of the day was a nightmare. There was a battle raging within. I was questioning myself and the confidence I had to be on my own. I knew I had to do this tomorrow. I could not stand another day like this and the battle within. Another sleepless night.
The next day was like a repeat of the previous day right until I got up the bus stop. This time my focus was different. I kept thinking ‘missed opportunity’. I got off the bus and boldly walked towards the police station. I walked in went up to the front desk. An officer was there.
He asked “How may I help you”
“I am here for a police ID sir” I replied.
“Do you have any ID with you” he asked.
“Yes” I responded and I showed him my passport. All that time I am praying he does not go to the page with the stamp.
“You are from Jamaica.” he said as he flipped to the page with my picture and birth information.
“Yes sir.” I responsed.
“Why do you need a Police ID” he asked.
“I spend time here in Miami frequently and many places ask for ID. I to want a bank account” I responded praying that the explanation was good enough.
“Ok. Fill out this the form at the table over there” he responded as he reached for a form from under the front desk.
I took the form and went over to the table to fill it out. The form was not long and it had an area where I could see fingerprints would go. I filled it out quickly handed back to him.
“Sit over there while I process the form” he explained as he took the form from me.
Questions started to set in. I looked at the door and the seat in the lobby. Were they going to check immigration? Do I wait or do I leave. I knew I had to do this so sat down. It was about 15 minutes before the officer appeared. Oh..no. There was another officer walking with him. They were headed in my direction. There was no escaping as the door was on the other end of the lobby. My heart was in my mouth and beating a mile a minute. I should have listened to Aunt Fern. I was certainly going to be deported. My parents are going to kill me.
The officer from the desk spoke first ‘Young man this is my supervisor Sergeant Silinowsky’
“Hi” the Sergeant said. He continured “our policy is not to issue Id to anyone 16 or under with out a guardian or relative present. Sorry about that. If you comeback tomorrow with a relative we can issue the ID. Can you do that? If not we will mail this to the address you listed here this week and have them sign the form”
“Yes Sir, I can come back” I quickly replied. I was so scared just wanted to go.
“Ok. See tomorrow” he replieded and they left.
I sprang up quickly out of that lobby chair and left the office. My heart was still beating a mile a minute and my throat was dry. I needed something to drink or I was going to pass out.
There was a 7/11 across from the station. I got a slurpee and then started walking to work. I was slowly getting back my senses. It was a close call but it was not over. I now had to explain to Aunt Fern that I went against her wishes and now needed her help. I could not avoid this because she would get the mail from the police. I was now worried more than ever and thoughts raced away. Aunt Fern had welcomed me into her home and now I do this. She always had my best interest at heart. Now I would have to gain the courage again in one day to do something really hard. I could not think about that right now. My mind went back to the police station incident. A simple ID is a struggle for me. I wondered if life for me would always be like this. Am I always going to be looking behind my back with fear?
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