Friday, October 31, 2008

The Paperchase

There is a large FedEx envelope wedged into the security door. As I pull into the driveway I am both excited and angry by the sight.

The package has been left like a beacon to anyone passing on the street. I can’t recall how many times I’ve spoken with couriers about this. Really, I don’t mind going to pick up my packages from their offices. It’s better than it being left on my doorstep. I’m not just worried about the overly curious passerby who might help themselves, but the weather as well. One delivery man left a box of books in a puddle, and no one wanted to claim responsibility for that.

When I take the envelope from the iron scroll work covering the door I’m surprised by its weight. My eyes scan the senders address, it’s from the Agency. A strange feeling of detachment settles over me. I let myself into the house, greeted by a set of hungry cats and one excited dog. I put the envelope on the dining room table, drop my keys on top of it and get about the business of the evening.

It’s not yet six and I inform the cats that regardless of their complaints there will be no food. The dog waits at the back door for me, her tail lashing out her happiness; but if it’s over seeing me or getting to go outside, I don’t know. As I putter around the kitchen putting things away I keep glancing at the table where the FedEx envelope waits. In that same detached manner I continue fidgeting in the kitchen, putting the last of the groceries away, all the while glancing at that FedEx envelope.

When there’s no more work to be done in the kitchen I pick the envelope up. Carrying it into the office with me, it sits on the desk as I turn on the computer and move a few things around. When I finished reading the last email in my inbox I take the envelope and turn it over. My fingers pinch the small tab and rip it back, opening the envelope and tearing off a paper strip. I drop the curling paper strip into the waste bin and peer inside the yawning envelope where a bundle of papers sit.

Despite the fact I want to sit down and really study every piece of paper, I don’t. I simply scan the first page then quickly thumb through the rest. There are a lot of them.

This is the paperchase. Andrew and I are poised at the threshold of having to gather an enormous amount of paperwork documenting varying aspects of our lives. I know about it, I’ve read about it and could recite from memory all the documents we’ll be required to get. But right now, in the actual moment, I don’t even want to face it. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, notaries, medical exams, financial statements, biographies, adoption statements … they hover around me like abstract concepts.

The papers find their home back inside the FedEx envelope and I set it aside for Andrew. My excitement is gone. Evaporated like so much steam. I try to dismiss it, chalking it up to the arduous task of the paperchase.

No comments: