My husband was undocumented.
For years, I dreamed of what it would be like to finally type those words and to publish them without fear. And sometimes I did type them, just to see what it would feel like. Then I'd erase them or hide them away because the risk was too much and the anxiety too great.
In February of last year, Adrian became a legal permanent resident of the United States. Most of me can't believe that those words are even true because for years, I rarely allowed my thoughts to wander so far. Contemplating life as legal residents seemed too sweet and the disappointment, should it not happen, was far too devastating. So I researched and I mentally packed and I prepped myself to move abroad because I figured that if that happened, well, at least I should be logistically ready, knowing that my heart would never be.
My husband was undocumented and now he isn't. It is true and real and I still can't believe it. After five years married, two years dating, one year of friendship and innumerable hugs and tears and phone calls and separated holidays and lonely flights and nightmare-filled nights and thousands of dollars and hundreds of pages of paperwork, we are here and we are together and we are fine.
My husband was undocumented and now he's not and we used to live in a small, dark apartment but now we live in this lovely little apartment high up with lots of sunlight. We moved because we finally could. No more lawyers fees and immigration fees. Plus Adrian can pass a background check now. And we saw a rat in that small, dark apartment. So we left. Within hours.
In the new apartment in the mornings, I make my bed as a gift to my afternoon self. In the afternoons, I come home from work and I close myself in my bedroom. I lay on my bed with the curtains open, treating myself to all that beautiful natural light that my old bedroom never had. And I sit there. I sit and think and listen to the muffled sounds of my husband making dinner in the kitchen. Because I still can't believe it.
I still can't believe that I have this life that I prayed for night after night. “Please Lord, just let me have this little life,” I'd plead. This little life where my husband comes home every day after work. Where an unanswered call doesn't mean he's been detained, soon to be deported. Where we both have opportunities and, finally, achievable dreams. And where we are fearless and hopeful.
Most every day, I am so very aware that this life may not have been. That ten-minute interview through a plexiglass window could have ended with those much anticipated words, “I'm sorry. You've been denied.” And it would have made just as much sense because it happens every day. And it happens to good, good people with a deep love. And it could have been us.
It so easily could have been us.
This year, I have a renewed sense of awe. Because it was almost us, but it wasn't. I want to remember how close we came and how hard we fought and how much we wanted this life together. And I want to take time each day to simply be in awe of this small life we have that almost wasn't.
My husband was undocumented and now he isn't. I've waited so long to type those words.