Residency

“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.

“Smile.”

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.

“Britt?”

“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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