Missed Opportunity 2: Memoirs Of An Illegal Alien Part 12

Well the stage was now set. I had to either own up to Aunt Fern about what I had done or wait for the police to contact her to verify my application. I waited a day and had another sleepless night. All I could think about was how the confession would go. I played out a few scenarios in my in mind. None of them had a good resolution but one seemed to work. Trying to be smart on my break at work I called her at home from a phone booth across the street and confessed. I figure it was easier that looking her in the eyes if we were face to face.

There was silence. I was now marked and she would never see me in the same light. I had come under her household and defied her. She broke the silence and calmly said lets discuss this tonight when you get in. I hung up the phone knowing a lecture was coming and there was no way I could avoid a face to face confrontation. I was not looking forward to going home that night.

The bus ride home was just so fast. My mind was racing a mile a second. Would my parent get word of this and ask that I return to Jamaica? Would Aunt firm follow me to the police station or let the deadline pass? I was so pre-occupied that I almost missed the bus stop. As I got off the bus I purposely walked really slowly home. It made no sense because the bus stop was really close to the house however I just wanted to delay the confrontation.

Slowly I opened the door with my keys. I was surprised to find Uncle Wade up. He normally is not up this late as he rises very early in the morning. He was one of the old time Jamaican men who rarely talked and was the ‘big’ gun enforcer of discipline. If he was not asleep it meant that I was really in trouble. I am sure my parents would be calling me about this. The only question now was if I would continue to live there.

The lecture began and Uncle Wade did all the talking. Every thing he said made sense so I had no real points to make. Yes I could have been held and deported. Yes the reason I was told not to do this was because they cared. It was true but in my mind it was about trying to make up for a missed opportunity and make a decision as my own man. By the time we had finished discussion I had agreed that I would consult them on decisions I made because I was their responsibility as long as I was under their roof. Aunt Fern would take me down tomorrow to get the ID. I went to bed that night feeling real bad about defying their advise but happy to still be living there.

Aunt Fern picked me up from my first job the next day to take me to the police station.

We drove there in complete silence. Aunt Fern is the friendliest person you will find and a talker. When we walked in the police station it became familiar. I was at ease. My fear was more about what was going on in Aunt Ferns mind. .

It was deja-vu. The same officer who greeted me the first time was at the desk. He smiled. “You are back.”
” Is this your guardian?”
” Yes Sir. This is Aunt Fern.”
“Sir can you please explain what I need to do to get him his ID?” She interrupted all niceties. She was abrupt and serious.

Madam, all we needed was for you to be present. Have seat and let me get everything ready to take the photo. Sign this while I get things ready he beckoned to me.

It was kind of weird. I almost wrote my cousins name. It is sometimes hard to remember who I am.

By the time I signed he was back. “Come with me“. I followed him behind the counter to a room next to the front desk with a big camera in it. Memories of taking my school magazine picture came to mind. He rolled down a white sheet from the roof and put a chair in front of it. He told me to sit and look directly at the camera.

“Look here and smile” he said.

We walked out of the room and he told me to wait a few minutes as he get the picture developed and the ID prepared.

I went over to the sitting area where Aunt Fern was. I could not look her in the eyes. I could not sit right beside. Not sure how this came out my mouth but I said “Aunt Fern you don’t have to wait on me. I can walk it to work once the ID is ready”

She looked up at me and in a very stern tone said “You are my responsibility while you are here. I will take you to work. Now sit down here”

I sat down beside her in silence and just stared at the desk and waited. I was wishing that the police man would hurry up with the ID card. I was looked up at the clock and it was like the second hand was moving in slow motion. The silence was never wrecking. I was in my little world not noticing any of the activity that was happening in the police station. I took at quick glance at Aunt Fern to see what she was doing. Here face was blank. No emotion of what was going through her head but I am sure she was angry.

Then the police man appeared. He walked over and handed me the ID.

“Nice picture, young man. You both have a good day”

I took it and without looking put it in my pocket. Aunt Fern was already up and headed to the door.

We got in the car and we were on our way. More silence.

As we stopped in front of my second job I hurried to get out the car. Suddenly there was a voice…yes it was Aunt Fern.

“Let me see the ID”

Again without looking I took it out my pocket and gave it to her. I was kind still in shock that she spoke.

She broke out in patois with a smile “Yuh gi choble but yuh tek a nice piccha.”

Aunt Fern barely ever spoke patois so I know she was trying to break the tension. I took a quick look at it and saw I was smiling. I don’t remember smiling but as they say “pictures don’t lie”

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