By Nicolas Vergara
This story is about two people. Two adults, Vivian and Andres, and other adults whose names are on a badge. The first two adults were partners. The other adults were border officers. The story is about, in a way, North America in general.
Andres and Vivian were living in Toronto. Vivian was a Ph.D student. Andres was a successful writer and consultant who went to Canada for learning English. Why English? Because ten years ago, his favorite poets were English writers (or at least, people that were using English as a way of expression). He loves French and German poets too, especially the ones that were writing in the 1940-50s, but during that time —despite the technological advances—, Europe was looking so far away.
After three years, they became common law. Before that, Vivian got a Ph.D in English literature, Andrés’s mother passed away and they traveled together to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Patagonia, Chile and the United States. Officially, their home was in Canada, in a basement shared with a few bugs in summer, which probably disappeared in winter because of the cold.
The bugs and the cold have names. The potato bug was named Ramiro. The centipede was called Frederic. Every family has its preferences and this was not an exception: the appearance of Ramiro was always celebrated but the reaction that Frederic provoked was controversial. Vivian says Frederic was gross, what happens if it climbs the bed. Andres agreed in part with her, elaborating an explanation about how centipedes don't like beds, but that was never satisfactory enough to Vivian. Frederic made Andres think of the kind of bugs that you can find under the soil. Could my mother be eaten by something like Frederic? He thought, but luckily those kinds of ideas disappear quickly from his mind.
Technically, the cold doesn't have a name. It has adjectives. The cold in a basement is kind of a strange animal that is always changing. One day you experience his gaze like a friendly pet, other days the cold is something threatening, which you feel lucky is in a cage. Sometimes, the cold is resting in one of the corners, and you can barely notice that it is there. You think it must be liberated, because Zoos aren’t good places for animals, no matter the sustainability or the noble aims that humans could have. The day that Vivian and Andres spoke about the immigration process, the cold was an animal that was walking from side to side, aimless. Although, the warmness of their bodies was a spring animal.
The plan was the following: they will get the fiancé’s visa in the United States, break one of its conditions and then ask for a refugee’ visa in Canada. The fiancé’s visa says this: “you have 90 days to get married, otherwise you will be expelled from the country”.
To be continued…
Poet Nicolás Vergara (Santiago de Chile, 1981), lives and works in Toronto.