I never had problems getting a visa, but horror stories about being denied by the US Embassy was discouraging. So be it, I had no reason to go back to the US again.
Then JB and Gianina had Adrian—that little wallop of a kid who leads us around by the nose. “Come to Michigan and have more time with Adrian,” JB would invite his father and me each time he and his family came home for a vacation.
JB sure knew the magic word.
So I made a decision to apply for a new US Visa, cajoling Tony to do likewise, but he said he is through with things like that—meaning, he has lost his good humor.
It took one month to finish my application on-line. And another three to summon some energy to make an appointment for interview.
Friends advised showing this and that document, which would have covered my whole life. JB said bring photos of you and Adrian. I listened to JB and to myself. Somehow, I felt compelled to bring five of my books.
Wearing my faux pearls, I marched to the US embassy with Adrian's photos and five books, no documents.
There I made instant friends. Two lovely young ladies were to my right and another two to my left, all anxious and nervous.
Sitting on orange chairs then on blue then on black (as the queue moved), I watched hopefuls turn around from a row of glass-covered booths with their passports and sad, sour faces. Denied, denied, denied, denied, denied.
I immediately wrote in my mind an email to JB and Gianina: Sorry, I'd have wanted to come but . . .
“Hello!” the consul, with blonde hair, and not much older than my eldest son, chirped. “Have you been to the US before?”
“Many times, I went to school there,” I replied.
“Columbia and Chicago Art Institute.”
“Why do you want to go to the States again?”
“To visit Adrian, my three-year-old grandson. He's adorable!”
“Adrian's father, what does he do?” he was nosy.
“He's a physician in Grand Rapids,” I replied.
“And what do you do?” he probed.
“I am an author. Wanna' see some of my books?” I grinned.
His eyes lit up. “Yes, please.”
Hmmm, a closet writer, I thought, and fanned all five proudly. He pointed to Gifts of Grace 3, which I slotted into his teeny window. He read the back cover.
Knows his blurbs, I murmured.
He then tackled the inside pages and started reading . . . and reading . . . flipping the page . . . and reading . . . chuckling . . . and reading . . .
Finishing the whole book? I wanted to ask, but knew better.
Finally he looked up, “Is your husband traveling with you?”
“Nope! He has no patience for the Visa application process,” I said. Oooops, that wasn't a very nice thing to say.
“How long do you intend to stay there?”
Now, that question unnerved me. I wasn't sure, I have not decided. “Ahhhhgh . . .” I babbled, all spaced out. Oooops, I just dug my grave.
“That's good enough for me!” he laughed again, throwing my passport in his drawer and closing it with a thud.
Before I could ask, “That's it?!” he said in earnest, “God bless you, Ma'am.”