Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Green and Gold

Just before M left for Pakistan we had a huge fight. M did not have a permanent apartment in Canada, so he had to leave his possessions somewhere. There were very few of them, so few that they fit into a small suitcase. It had been my assumption that I would keep them for him since we had already discussed my coming to pick him up when he got back from Pakistan.

One of my favorite M pastimes was going through his stuff. Silly, I know, but it felt good that he really didn't care that I did it. One of my favorites was his wallet, and my new favorite second was this suitcase. M had used his Canadian passport to get his visa to go to Pakistan, and his old, outdated Paksitani passport was inside this suitcase. I opened the book in awe of the picture I found there. In M's Canadian passport was the most beautiful picture of M ever. He was wearing a very fancy burgundy shirt with a tie that appeared silk and was a slightly different color than the shirt.

That outfit had been his pride on the day he went to get his Canadian citizenship and he had had the passport photo taken the same day. Getting his Canadian passport was very important to M. He loved the country and was very proud that he had made it there and made his way to citizenship. In the picture he looked very fancy, hair perfectly coiffed with gel, short and just a tiny up part in the front. He was freshly shaven and had this half smile that was typical for him when he was really proud or happy about something. In this picture, you could even see the tiny dimple to the left of his mouth, the one I fell in love with.

The M inside the Pakistani passport was an entirely different person. The M in that picture had longer, more tousseled hair. He was wearing a large jacket that looked like something a Canadian would wear to a hockey game. The M in the Pakistani passport looked a little mean and very bulky with a square jaw. He was very concerned with bodybuilding back then. My eyes were wide looking at it and M got embarrassed. We laughed over how much he had changed in such a short time.

We drove to M's friend's house and I sat in the car while he walked in to borrow a bigger suitcase. M and I had gone shopping for the relatives and he needed a much larger suitcase than what he had to hold all of the gifts. Shortly after going in, M returned to retrieve his small belongings bag and asked me to give him the Pakistani passport. His friend was going to hold it for him.

I'm not sure if it was the stress of M's trip, or my trip or simply the embarrassment I felt at being asked to hand the belongings over to a complete stranger (to me) or that we'd been discussing his own forebodence of the Pakistan trip, but I got angry. I became a strange kind of angry. I to this day cannot explain what made me so mad because it was nearly unexplainable. My only explanation is that as the girl he was going to marry, it would stand to reason that I would hold his things for him. Besides, I was still insecure about the whole no return ticket thing. His thought was that his friend always did this for him and why would this time be any different?

As a result of the fight, M asked me to keep his things, and I, being stubborn, refused. The Pakistani passport ended up torn into two separate pieces and nearly chucked out the window in a shopping center parking lot. It was the first time I had seen M truly angry. In the end it was returned to the suitcase and dropped with M's friend.

The loss of that passport changed my ability to react in those long months that M was in Pakistan. I lost one very important key to the problem, his address in Karachi which had remained constant, the same over twenty years. The same address written inside that tiny green book with the golden design.

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