To tell a tale of someone’s headlong rush into chaos is to open many doors at once. And doing so acknowledges the many conflicting winds that come from every direction upon a person; winds that create a chaotic, heady mixture of life lived in fear, doubt, suspicion, anger and pain. He had come to this one point at the convergence of many others. He was now the fly caught at the center of a complicated web of childish misfires. The swirling tempest that was his head found its root not so much in a life mis-lived, but more perhaps a life under-lived.
Adult life had never been especially easy for him. He took his cues from whoever was the most influential or interesting person in the room. This made him good at any party since he had already lived everyone else’s life and could draw on his social chameleon talents to woo and entertain. He had little to no knowledge, however, of his own. Such is a dangerous vacuum within one so predisposed to the inoculation of pain, the euphoria required to feel normal in a large, scary world.
Meanwhile back at home, pieces of an already piece-meal existence lay in shattered reminders on the kitchen floor of his inability to face his own reality. His wife had little reason to believe that hope was anywhere near this debacle. They had stood at this crossroads before. He had already been through at least one bout of drink, repent, drink, repeat. The incision of betrayal left on her soul was still red and raw. This, however, was a whole new level of betrayal and gut level disruption.
Her head spun round in a veritable tornado of disbelief and emotional turbulence. What now? was the question pounding in her mind so unrelentingly. She knew how tenuous was their circumstance here in Oregon. They had moved to this town one month before the horrific events of 9/11. And now, with American and, by association, world events in such turmoil, those poor bastards seeking permanent residency were indefinitely put out to pasture.
They were no strangers to upheaval having moved a total of eight times in just over fifteen years. It seemed the dust rarely settled, boxes remained packed, trinkets still stored was a family pattern. It had bored a restless hole in the center of things and left them feeling unmoored and afloat somewhere in the open ocean of discontented homelessness. The stakes were high with this one, and they knew it.
The move from Kelowna to McMinnville had been expedited the quickest by means of a Religious Worker Visa. These are considerably more rare than other more conventional ways of moving into the country. Hence, on advice that could never have been informed enough to provide adequate shelter from unforeseen events they drove their two busted down vehicles, their dog and two sons across the border.
Within three months of their arrival, his father-in-law had been diagnosed with colon cancer, his brother-in-law, an Edmonton city police officer, had sustained serious injuries in a foolish dive into his pool from a third story balcony leaving him a quadriplegic and planes had flown into buildings that crashed to the ground. They were living their own ground zero with no recourse of leaving the country for the comforts of extended family, now in profound suffering. To leave would mean forfeiting any hope of permanent residency. And too much was riding on this gig.
A border that had always meant freedom of movement and welcome was to become for a time a three thousand mile prison wall.