The Immigration Officer

I stood at the airport, my hair still dripping from the rushed shower I had just taken at the hotel. I had been blissfully isolated this past week and it was disorienting being around so many people all rushing through the disorganised airport. I gripped my passport in my hand and stood motionless, observing all the foreign families leaving paradise. I could sense everyones grief as they threw their heavy bags onto the carousels filled with their new souvenirs that would remind them of their trip to Bali.

As I waited in the immigration line I replayed the past week in my head: the incredible sun rise I watched every morning as I set up the chairs on the beach, the cool wind wafting up from the ocean carrying the sweet smell of salt, and the warm rays of the topical golden sun beating down on everyone’s faces. I could still remember the feeling of the sand between my toes and water that would flow over my feet as I walked the shoreline.

“Next” the immigration officer stated unemotionally pulling me out of my Bali daze.

I walked forward placing my passport on his desk. I always felt a bit nervous about immigration, I have no idea why. I have never had problems at the airport but I always was unsure of where to look and I became acutely aware of my body’s movements.

He peered over my passport at me and my body flushed with anxiety. He looks so confused…

“You hair colour changed” he said indifferently as he examined my documents, holding his face in a permanent state of callousness.

“Yes” I responded with an air of caution in my voice.

“Why?” He continued to inspect me as I looked uncomfortably in his eyes.

“I don’t know. I just dyed it. I was bored I suppose.”

He stared at me and then averted his gaze back to my passport. What is wrong? Had I done something? Did he not believe that I am the same person?

“The other hair is better.”

Excuse me? I looked at him shocked at his comment. I felt so exposed and raw. I knew I couldn’t say anything, he had all the power. Understanding this, I just stared into his eyes and tried to express my resentment and disbelief.

“It’s just my opinion” he said as he closed my passport and slid it across his desk. His face never even flinched.

I grabbed my passport from his desk, lightly slamming my hand on the smooth wooden countertop. Heat rose up my back and trickled down my arms as I walked briskly away. Fuck you.

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