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