I’d blithely assumed that a marriage certificate would be enough to prove that Arthur and I are in a genuine and stable relationship, as required for my visa application.
As the lady at the immigration office explained to me reasonably patiently yesterday, anyone can get married. (Well, not anyone. Not people of the same sex who live anywhere except Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), the United States, or Uruguay. But I digress.)
So that leaves us in the position of having to demonstrate to strangers that we’re really inextricably woven into each other’s lives. How do you evidence such a life-altering bond? I don’t know where to begin in summing up almost ten years together with a paper trail.
Everything I collect seems so empty. Journeys taken together, possessions held together. Insurance documents. These aren’t the things that matter. Maybe the journeys do. But it’s not buying the tickets together, it’s the sitting side by side, the sharing a bunk bed, or a cabin, for hours or days, or weeks. The hikes mean as much as anything. But where is the evidence of travelling by foot? The evidence of the whispered conversations late at night. The feeling of the other person’s hand in yours.
Photos capture something of it. But not enough.
If it’s hard to show what it is that we have, I wonder how hard it is to determine if what you’re seeing is real. How much evidence is enough? I feel the urge to overwhelm them with all of the things we’ve done together, and shared. But I’m shy of it too. How much is too much? Presenting our case almost feels like boasting. For me it’s bringing up pangs of that feeling that sometimes visits me in the middle of the night. We are too lucky. Somebody is going to take this away from us.
The thing, I suppose, is to focus on the first part.
We are so very lucky.