“And your middle name is Lynn?”

“Um, no, it’s Marie, actually…” I rechecked the official documents the DMV site had told me to bring. Surely I was still capable of getting my middle name right.

“Oh, yes, I see. Sorry, that was your marriage certificate. His middle name is Lynn,” the woman with heavy eyeliner behind the counter was trying to suppress a smile.

“Yeah, I know. It’s a girl’s name.”

She smiled silently and continued clacking on her keyboard. I read the signs on the pastel walls about wildlife preservation and drunk driving as she continued to verify the vital information I could confirm in my sleep.

“And your social?”

“Organ donor?”

I nodded, and moved in front of the blue makeshift photo screen that she was pointing at.


I did.

“Put your chin down a little.”

I felt my face flush a little while quietly thanking her for her help. I suck at taking pictures.

“And will you be going back to Iowa?”

“Excuse me?”

I was paying attention now, and noticed a pair of blue handled kitchen shears in her left hand, my Iowa driver’s license in her right.

“Are you staying here? Or will you be going back to Iowa?”

“Do I have to decide that now? Right here? I don’t understand…” my voice trailed off as I felt my throat constrict. It seemed like she was asking me to seal off an emergency exit door.

“You live here, right? I just want to make sure.”

My confusion must have been evident on my face. I didn’t understand why were discussing whether or not I’d move back some day. I wasn’t sure. I mean, I didn’t think, but… I was just here to get my Florida ID…

“I surrendered this one,” she decided for me with a casual wave of her right hand. Snip. She cut the corner off my license.

Instinctively, I held out my hand, silently asking her to leave me with the disfigured ID card.

“Have a seat. They’ll call you with your new card in 3-5 minutes.”

I thanked her and went to find my own blue office chair.


Surrendered. That was it. I was, in some kind of official capacity, no longer an Iowa resident. I didn’t live there anymore. It wasn’t, according to the government, home.

And… that was OK. It was strange, I thought, because it was OK and yet monumental for me. It seemed like the final string had been cut with that corner. It was time to let go.


“Yes, that’s me.”

I exchanged a $20 bill for my new ID. I walked out of the DMV casually, as if nothing had transpired here but some mundane civic business. When I got into my car, I pulled out the new piece of plastic and studied it for a minute before turning the key and heading back home.

Yep. It’s official.


I’m a Floridian.

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