I didn’t sleep last night. The darkness couldn’t have lasted long enough. I’d been counting down the days til now. Recent developments have rendered my position incompatible. Circumstances beyond my control have left me with no other moves to make. The overstay has occurred. What shall be done.
Simulated sunrise soundscapes rise in frequency over the intercom placed above the courtyard adjacent to my flat.
I was advised to dress well but understated. Government officials don’t much care for flash. All possible scenarios run through my mind. I know them now…they have spent so much time at the front of my brain these last few days that they seem more like memories that remain imprinted in my cerebral cortex. My dreams have run away with me. Even with a cold shower my body sweats from the impending verdict.
Hangman waits for me
I head to the train. My required paperwork in my backpack. I look at the biometric photos that I was informed to bring. They don’t cast a good light. I was too big for the photo booth so I was forced to crouch down. No smiling or emotion of any kind permitted.
I puff on my electronic vaporizer obsessively while standing in the gray cement walled train stop. I have my headphones listening to Kaytranada’s newest album. Clouds of blueberry scented vapor cloud around me as the impending doom of my overstay creeps closer.
The train speeds down its tube cutting through my nervous vapor cloud coming to a stop in front of me.
I transferred from this train to the main above ground train that cuts a ring around the city. It’s cloudy and damp. Chilly and the boxed off cement and rebar buildings are unforgiving in the gloom of this morning. Men in uniformed overalls carry tools to their government jobs.
Young men and women covered in body mods and leather boots sprinkle themselves in amongst the crowd. Old women from a bygone era huddle in seats on the train quietly while they clutch their bags and attempt to remember the place and time that they know.
Graffiti and political vandalism swarm every inch of the train and the cement boxed buildings that line it’s route. Decay is spelt in several different tongues. An old man complains about immigrants. A drunk kid with body mods gives the middle finger to anyone in his purview. A child begs for change. No shoes, no mother in sight.
I reach my stop. A friend is meeting me. He is the witness to my exile. I go out into the city under the gray sky. Hundreds load out of the compartments with me. But I’m still alone. Hermann, my friend, will be here at 8:45, I’m early. I’m always early. At least when I’m anxious.
I take out my vaporizer and begin to take in the blue berry scented nicotine. Over and over again, waiting.
Hermann arrives. I am not a natural citizen of this place so people advised me to bring along someone who can translate. Poor Hermann, he has to witness it. Originally of Chillaen descent, but has been here since he was young.
We pass a prison, a church, and a school. They all seem the same. Red brick with a hint of rust. Smoke billows from the stacks above the buildings. We walk the kilometer to the Government building. Americans to level 3.
We find the waiting room. And watch the screen for my number: 171357. My appointment is at 9:30. We’re early. So we wait. We go over the game plan. What to say, be honest, be sorry, take full responsibility, give them any names or information they require. Financials must be in order. Proof of registration is vital. They want to see that you are dedicated to them. Hopefully they won’t throw me out for my overstay of my visa. Hopefully I don’t go to prison. Hopefully I am not banned.
When your number is Up
My number comes up on the screen. Room 20. Hermann and I walk down the tiled hallway to the properly numbered room. A man is waiting. Blond hair and light eyes. Doesn’t seem threatening. I hand him my required documents and materials. My palms are sweating. He eyes me suspiciously. Hermann pleads my case in German. A woman comes over, takes some of my paperwork and walks off. He passes the rest of my documents to another woman. Older, probably the boss if I had to guess. She says something in German, Hermann answers back. I sit quietly with a vacant smile on my face. The overstay of my visa weighing heavily on my future existence.
They ask us to leave the room and they will come get us. Hermann informs me all is well he thinks with regards to my overstay. We sit and I feel a little better. Hopes are high for the first time in the past few days.
The man comes out. He asks for my passport. I give it to him. He leaves, comes back again, he needs my photos now.
He comes back a third time to ask us to come back into their office.
We sit down. They hand me my stuff. Plus a new paper with my picture on it. Hermann tells me to show this to the customs agent at the airport. I have to two weeks to leave.