My visit to my husband in December was like a second honeymoon. Not that we really had a first.
It isn’t something that I like to acknowledge, but our relationship changed for the worst the moment I married him. We had actually begun the immigration process about a month prior to our wedding, but it didn’t become overwhelming until we were husband and wife. The entire first year and a half of our marriage was consumed by the stress of immigration paperwork, artifacts, meetings, and—above all—our vision for our future. I am not proud of what I allowed the stress to do to our relationship.
It was all on me, and me alone, to get everything together. I had the language and technological skills to get us started. He was out of the country by the time anything he could have helped with came about. I had school, teaching, family, housework, the loss of him, and everything with the immigration to deal with. Nearly every night ended with my crying myself into comatose exhaustion; I was in a very bad place.
Working with my lawyer, he would come up with different types of evidence I should try to collect to make our case stronger. Occasionally, I had to ask that Sal do things in Mexico for the sake of the immigration case. Take pictures, get letters, hire translators, etc. I would explain all of this, as clearly as possible, repeating everything multiple times, and having him write it down. Somehow, despite my efforts and his best intentions, it always came out wrong.
Some days, I hated him. I was full of anger, and his apparent ineptness when I needed to count on him would break me. I would think he was stupid, incapable, and uncaring. How could he not do something as small as take photos of ugly buildings where he lives to show that he lives in poverty? Instead, he took photos of beautiful, landscaped parks. The weight of our future was on my ability to complete a compelling hardship case and I was failing, due in small part to him.
My first two trips to Mexico were purely on immigration business. These were stressful trips to Ciudad Juarez. This isn’t a city most want to be in at all, much less with all of your dreams hinged on the outcome. My second trip ended in a one week stay in Pachuca, but that was a stressing event in itself. We had not intended to go, but the consulate mailed his passport home, so we had no choice but to go there and wait to learn if he was accepted.
He wasn’t. The second trip was in May and I spent my entire summer working on making the hardship case better. Fighting began again with him as I tried to collect more things, some of them in Mexico. There weren’t a lot of happy phone calls during that time. I knew it was hurting us because every time we had a decent conversation my husband would say, “I am so happy when you are happy. I love with you give me good conversations. I love you like this.”
Days before I left for my Christmas (3rd) trip to see him, I received the letter in the mail; my husband had been denied admission into the United States.
I did not mourn this failure.
There was a sudden lightness in me. I was no longer waiting for the gavel to come down nor was I working relentlessly to make a case for the validity of my relationship to the United States government. I was tasting freedom.
For the first time in nearly two years, I had enough certainty in my life that I could actually plan for the future. I knew that I would have to move to Mexico. I knew that I would need to find a job teaching English. I knew. It was incredible.
When I arrived that December, we spent two weeks together: one in Pachuca, one in Actopan. It was difficult at first, adjusting to having a husband after seven months of living as a single person. But two days in and I felt myself loving my husband as I had not since early 2009. It wasn’t that I had ever stopped loving him, it was that I no longer felt the need to blame him for stress in my life. I hadn’t even realized I was blaming him until I no longer was. That element was suddenly identifiable in its’ absence.
I came to my realization as we were lying in our hotel room on a mid December day. We were together, quiet, and we were perfect for that moment. I was not angry anymore, but the emotions I felt were overwhelming. Love, longing, contentment, and joy coursed through me. I realized then that I could not let this man go, that with him my world is right. That our lives are beautiful.