Opening words . . .

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Birth Certificate

The door to our apartment closed patiently behind me. I put away my purse, hung up my jacket, and clomped across the tiled floor. I moved through the solarium to the filing cabinet, kicking off my shoes to end the annoying sound. I knew I had to do an important errand right away or my mind would not free me to relax this evening.

I carefully finger-walked over the tops of the hanging files and found the "Important Documents" folder.

I can see the "aging" documents through the crinkled plastic folder. I carefully drew out the brown papers and squinted at the text on the delicate sheets. The date and time of birth were scrawled in French along with my maiden name in bold ink. My thoughts time-warped back to the event.

I remembered during one of the plateau moments in the birthing room, the mid-wife divulged that she was from Central African Republic. I remember thinking that it was such a far away country, forgetting that I too was a visitor from a land far away. The mid-wife's name was written in swirly script. As I held the document, a French colonial remnant, my mind searched, trying to remember her face. My imagination continued its trek, conjuring up blurred scenes, what was left of the memory. Thankfully, an unidentifiable sound broke the spell and halted my mind's wandering.

On one of our more and more rare visits with our daughter a couple days ago, we mentioned in a moody tone like only parents can do, it was just two months until her wedding. Her mouth popped open and the shock on her face was that of a bride when she realizes she has forgotten something vital on the special day - maybe even the date itself?

But no, she had not forgotten about her wedding. She was alerting me to the fact that I had not yet called the seamstress to set up an appointment for a fitting of the size “2” dress that resembled a super-sized bowl of whipped cream. I just don’t believe I was that many sizes larger than her when I got married. What has happened to the “sizing” chart?

Ah, yes, the certificate. The request came a few days ago in the form of a text message that essentially said she needed her birth certificate to authenticate her humanness to enable them to attain a wedding license in Mexico. That’s the way I understood it, anyway, and it makes perfect sense. The padre needs to know that they, the couple, were born to humans. I suppose a bit like how we have to verify that we are human when we sign up for a new email address, PayPal, etc. 
The bride and groom are human all right, they have the certificates to prove it; never mind that their parents might just remember the events as they happened. So, we will go to Mexico, God willing; we will board and land where the sun has priority in weather, when no doubt, it’s snowing in Toronto. The authenticating birth certificate will have been a thing already taken care of and a new certificate will accept ink, giving birth to a new celebration to be cherished.