Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Immigrations officers and deportation


My boss had warned me that Avon’s health had already deteriorated and that I probably was going to be at the job for a month, tops. I prayed everyday for another job; of course I did apply as well, NOTHING! Most agencies require you to have a car. Which I hadn’t bought yet for a bundle of reasons. FYI I neither went clothes shopping nor Cellphone shopping. Mainly because I didn’t want to and because I never heard from T again. I was grateful for each day I had a job.

In October, my friend, Effie had to take time off work. An acquaintance found her a relief, She asked me nicely to help the new girl who we’ll call Liz. I remember, I was on my way shopping when Liz arrived. WE were gone for about an hour to an hour and a half. She and I talked afterwards. She seemed nice, she was Jamaican. My other Jamaican friend had left, she found a better offer. It was just this lady and I who were Private Aides at time, everybody else had left.

I love my friends but sometimes, I like to do my own thing, you know? Be in my head a little bit. Liz liked to hang out all the time, talking about how great a person she was, how great a friend, cousin, wife and all that she was. Her stories got tired FAST! I was ready to hide under a rock and never ever come back.

Out of desperation of wanting my clothes, I needed them, I was tired of wearing the same clothes for more than a month. I called N. She seemed happy to hear from me. The thing about N is, she seemed like a nice, sociable person, we had our fun times, she and I. When she wasn’t busy kicking me out of the apartment. T had told me never to talk to her again and not to tell her I had left those clothes of mine there, but turned around and denied it all. She was also not about to help ship the stuff to me. What I wasn’t going to do was to go to N’s apartment to get my stuff, AND SPEND THE NIGHT THERE, on T’s bed. There was nothing there for me! Everything had changed.

N was nice, she asked where I was and what I was doing. I needed a favour from her, the last person I thought I would ever ask for anything. She was happy to help. She told me she would do it as soon as she could. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t about to believe it until I saw the stuff on my doorstep either. I got a text one morning around 5 from T. It went something like this, “Brook, I helped you when  you had nothing in America, now that you have a job, you won’t even pay your share of rent for the apartment...” It was going to be easier for me to pay the money, instead of arguing that I was never there, not one day that month and she was the one who told me to leave some of my clothes. I prayed about it, and made arrangements with N as to how I was going to transfer the money into her account.

N told me T had paid a third of her share of rent. N texted her for the first time in months to find out what was going on. She told her Brook would pay the rest. Good thing I called N when I did. T told me to pay an additional $50  (R450) penalties for late rent. Great! Basically all the money I was getting for my first month was poof, out the window. Rent, gifting people for helping me with the job, shipping my stuff, birthday gifts. I had been talking to some man from New Jersey online. I asked him for a ride to run some errands. I also got a chance to deposit the rent money into N’s account. It came as a surprise to her, the whole thing did. She got to pay a bit less than she would normally have had because someone else was going to pay a third of the rent.

 

Weeks passed and N didn’t have time to ship me my stuff. My concern was that another month was going to go by and I was going to find myself having to pay rent again. It would have been better if I was renting an apartment in New Jersey, where I could go hang out whenever I had time. That one was just too far. I brought that up on one of our conversations, N said, you know you will have to pay rent this month as well, right? GREAT! WTF! She was doing a T on me. Promising to ship me the stuff, withholding it and then turning around and making me pay for it. I remembered an old “friend” of mine, Jack, remember him? Guy from the library, who took me out for  A SLICE OF PIZZA?

I called him, we talked about a few things. He offered to help me get my stuff to the post office. I would then pay him back whatever costs he would incur. When he had a chance, he liaised with both N and I and went over to the apartment to collect the stuff. Apparently N was at the library. Interesting because In the time I had lived there, N never went to the library, but okay. It was pouring outside. He called and told me he was going to WALK home IN THE RAIN, CHANGE  into DRY clothes and then WALK back to N’s IN THE POURING rain! I asked him to wait a few more minutes for N. He knew the library wasn’t far from the apartment, that’s where he and I met!

A few minutes later, I got a call from N. She was at the apartment, Jack was nowhere to be found, awesome! She had been trying to reach him on the phone, he wouldn’t pick up. I call and texted him too to no avail. Well, that was close! I almost got my stuff.  T put in her notice. She was moving out. That could really complicate things for me. My stuff being there, and her being gone. I had to get my stuff before she moved. Apparently she packed all her stuff and took mine off the hangers and piled it up somewhere in the closed. I have no proof of that though.

While Effie was on her leave, the old lady she was taking care off was complaining to anyone who would listen about how Effie left her without saying goodbye That was not true. Trust me! I know Effie and I know that lady. Old lady also told her daughter, who was there almost everyday, that she didn’t want Effie back, she was happy with Liz. Initially, Effie thought she was going to need only a few days off, she had to extend, so she told her boss, the daughter that. When she did, the daughter told her not to bother returning. They fired her and replaced her with the lady she got them as her relief! That was a slap on the face if there ever was one!

It didn’t end there. I got a call from Effie asking me what Liz had been telling me about the job. I told her Liz had been complaining from day one about how she didn’t like the job and how she couldn’t wait to have Liz back so she could go back home. I bumped into Liz in the hallway crying her lungs out. I asked her what’s wrong, but she just kept running, completely ignoring me. Effie called again, I asked her what the heck was going on. She told me that Liz had stole her job and she wanted it back. She had told Liz to tell their boss that she didn’t want the job and to leave the following day. On asking Effie if she was going to be back the following day, she told me, she couldn’t, she was very busy with her personal stuff but wanted the boss to find her own replacement, not someone she, Effie introduced them too. I was like My Gosh, these people don’t play!

Everybody knew about that drama! I tried to stay as clear of it as I possibly could. Effie was my friend, Liz was an ok girl, we were getting along. Plus, I didn’t know who was lying of the two of them. The daughter tried to talk to me about the whole thing and how disappointed she was in Effie, I told her, I didn’t want to get involved. That I wasn’t going to talk to her about my friend and then turn around and pretend that I didn’t have that conversation with her to Effie. Liz had told me that she had been in the country for five years. She was a permanent citizen. In the midst of the drama, she came to me in the TV room. She told me she was leaving. WHAT? WHY? WHAT’S HAPPENING? “Effie and ‘er friends ‘ave been texting and calling me threatening to turn me into immigrations” But why? You shouldn’t care cos you’re legal, right? That’s what you told me! “Let me tell you something, I’m ‘ere on vacation, my visa will expire in November whereupon I will go back to Jamaica, me now uhm, very scared! They said immigrations will be ‘ere tomorrow to deport me”

LORDA MERCY! She said her goodbyes, told me to stay in touch, the whole shebang. I was confused. Effie kept calling Liz and I back to back. I put my phone on silence and ignored her because the whole thing was getting out of hand. I wanted no part of it. The next morning, I was in the TV room. That was kinda like my office, l my chill place. I was usually by myself in there, I could Skype and do whatever in peace.  Liz came in, she is tall and walks very fast, her steps are really long, she rushed in there bearing gifts; a pair of earrings: silver hoops with green ball like decorative things, three on one hoop and two on the other. Don’t ask! And a matching ring, you know the ones that are adjustable? If you know me, you know I don’t feel comfortable when someone gives me a gift, Half the time, I won’t accept it, or I will take if it you force me, then give it back to you. Apparently that’s rude, I’m sorry but It’s just how I am.

I refused the gifts (for more reasons than one), she put them on the table next to me and walked out. I was tempted to leave them there. I showed them to Avon and tried to regift them to her haha, she wouldn’t take them. A few days later, I heard that Liz might be returning to work. Crap! There goes my peace of mind! I called to confirm the rumour, she didn’t know what I was talking about. The old lady ended up without an Aide now that they had fired Effie too. One day, I had a strange feeling while waiting in line outside the nursing station with Avon (see I did work, I wasn’t just chilling at the TV station everydayJ). I called Liz to ask if she was back, she told me no, but while we were talking on the phone, I was walking around looking for her at the dining room. THERE SHE WAS! She was so happy, jumping up and down for joy. She ran upstairs to tell me she had something for me, GREAT, more  presents!