Time was a blur in the immigration centre. Perhaps it was still the first day when I was called in to speak to the consulate. My contact there was Sylvia, a Mexican woman who had never been to Australia, but spoke fluent English.
“Hello Kurt. Take a seat. How are you?”
-Hello. I’m a little stressed-
“Well… you look good.”
I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but I remember being very grateful that someone was there, on the outside, doing what they could for me. She didn’t advise me directly against getting a lawyer, but she did say if I got a lawyer, it was likely that my process would take 30 days or more, considering how slow the Mexican courts move.
She said I could talk to my family, and handed me her phone. I called my parents, told them I was sorry for getting them worried.
“We thought you were leaving and coming back every six months,” said Mum.
-I was… for a while.-
“Never mind,” said Dad. “What’s done is done.”
On some level, I’d feared that they would judge me for that. They were just happy to know I was okay.
I said even though the immigration department does some horrible things… separating Guatemalan families and so on, at least the individuals still showed some old-fashioned Mexican hospitality. They were relieved to hear it.
In Guadalajara, Gela had barely slept. As soon as she got into the bus station, she’d been using the Wifi there to try to find out what was going on and what could be done. She’d contacted the Freemans in Acapulco, who’d spoken to a lawyer. When she got into the city, she arranged to meet with my friends, Maria Fernanda and Maria Jose. Gela knew that I was dating Maria Fernanda, but as she wandered around downtown looking for Revolution Park, it occurred to her that maybe she’d organised for two of my girlfriends to get together… essentially scheduling a catfight. Her fears were unfounded. Majo is a good friend, but I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months. Gela, Mafer and Majo sat in the park discussing and meditating, turning their attention inwards to attempt to find answers.
I called Mafer. She was relieved to know that I was being fed and given water. Majo offered some words of support. Then Gela got on the phone and unleashed a torrent of intensity, bizarreness, and ultimately, positivity.
Gela said she would attempt to speak in code, in case anyone was listening.
“Maybe the problem isn’t here. Maybe it’s there.”
-What? In Australia?-
“Shhh – you’re not supposed to say that!”
“Okay, I’m going to speak in code. What you need to do… is put your phone, up your ass.”
-Like… literally?- Obviously I wasn’t very good at interpreting these codes.
“No no, not literally.” She was referring to a certain in-joke we had. She was saying that I should delete sensitive data off my phone. But I didn’t have any sensitive data on my phone.
“Do you know why you were detained?”
-Sure, because my tourist card expired.-
“Oh honey… no, that’s not it. It’s something else.”
“I can’t tell you the full story right now. But when I spoke to the embassy, they told me that you had refused to press charges and you had decided not to speak to a lawyer.”
-Press charges? I wasn’t even given that option.-
I had suddenly stepped into a spy novel. The consulate was suddenly suspect, subtly discouraging me from seeing a lawyer while telling my friends that I’d declined a lawyer. Were the Australian federal police waiting for me back home – conspiring to get me deported? It’s easy enough for government organisations to track debit card purchases, and mobile phone metadata, tracking my location and sending the information to the immigration department. I wasn’t aware that I’d done anything to warrant prosecution, but a man like me, with my unpopular opinions, could be targeted – right? Evidence can be planted, Facebook messages taken out of context to fit into indictments, little known laws can be dug up to make anyone a criminal.
I thought about how I told the clerk the last time I’d entered Mexico. -Maybe I’ve painted myself into a corner…- I said.
“Honey, no – don’t worry. You haven’t painted yourself in and there are no corners.” I don’t remember exactly what Gela said after that, but it went something like this: “Listen to me. Your reality is under your control. You are the Creation and the Creator. Take a deep breath and feel that energy collected in your belly.”
I adjusted my posture and followed the directions.
“Guide it up to your heart chakra, feel the peace and love emanating. You are happiness; you are purity. Everything is going to be fine. All that stuff we were talking about in Tolantongo, guiding yourself through life, manifesting – that was all preparation for what you’re facing now. It might seem overwhelming, but everything will work out. And hey, I’m sorry we had that fight on the bus. It wasn’t about you. I love you very much.”
-I love you, all of you. Thank you so much.-
Gela had guided me, and I had let myself be guided, like some instant meditation. The heaviness of my spirit had been lifted. I had been transformed in that moment.
Sylvia walked back in and told me that I would be banned from Mexico for one year. One year! I had expected seven. If I talked to the embassy, I might even get an exception after 6 months. At that moment, I knew that what Gela had told me was true. Your emotions make your reality.
To be continued.