F is from a 3rd World Country. As many 3rd World Countries go, they are a tad bit, um, more militant when it comes to airports and points of entry into their country.
This was extremely evident as we landed in F’s Homeland. The airport was small and dingy and in need of some upgrading and some happier paint colors. As we made our way through the airport F’s body tensed. He became snippy with me. I was trudging along, dying for some clean knickers, secure in the mindset that customs would be a breeze (silly American that I am, why would there be a problem?). This is when F slows his step and tells me, “DH, my heart is pounding like crazy.”
“I don’t know. I just think that there’s going to be a problem getting through customs.”
“Why would there be?”
“They have mandatory military service here. They could detain me and make me serve maybe.”
“What? You have an American past port, don’t worry about it.”
“Do you have our marriage license?”
“What? Why would we need that? I don’t have it, YOU do.”
“Just let me do the talking, OK?!?!”
“FINE.” I had to bite my lip. I don’t like being told to keep quiet, who does?
“DH, you go first.”
And as I thought, my happy American ass sailed through customs. I waited next to F as he handed over his pass port to the less than smiley customs agent.
“Sir, please wait over there.”
My stomach dropped. Suddenly clean knickers were a luxury.
“Is there a problem?” F asked.
“Please wait over there.”
F turns to me. “GO THROUGH!”
“NO! I’m not leaving you, are you crazy?!?!?”
We make our way over to the waiting area where several well dressed men, ALL men, no women, are milling about. F digs into his backpack and hands me a cell phone we bought State side and therefore didn’t even know worked over there yet or not (it didn’t) a stack of papers and says, “Here, if they don’t let me go, you know what to do.”
WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAT? I had no freaking clue what to do!!!!
“I don’t know what to do!!”(he told me later that I was suppose to call his cousins, which even then he didn’t say which ones, and have them come get us. Or call FIL, who has government connections. All with a phone that wouldn't have worked. Yeah.)
“Fine. Stay here.”
We both fell into moody silence as we watched a customs agent take F’s passport and disappear through a door. All I could think was, they could take it, and say he never presented it. And he’d be stuck there forever as I wandered the airport parking lot trying to find someone who spoke English who could take me to the American Consulate so I could get help. (I also thought of Bridget Jones being rescued by Mark Darcy when she got jailed for drug smuggling and all I could think was, I don’t know a Mark Darcy!)
A man dressed in civilian clothing came into the waiting area and was asking for F. But we weren’t sure he was asking for F because he was using a different version of F’s name. (long complicated story, ok, maybe not, but I don't feel like explaining it. It has to do with their naming/nicknames customs.)
“I think he’s looking for me. Wait here while I go ask.”
I was hopeful. But F came back moments later, “I really think he was looking for me, but he didn’t understand the name issue.”
We probably waited no more than 15 minutes, but it seemed like days. Finally they called F back up again.
“You may go.”
“Was there a problem?” (WTF!!!! He said we could go, just flipping GO!!!! I wanted to scream at him.)
“You may go.”
Finally F lead the way out.
At that point, right there, I wanted to turn around, get back on the plane and go home. I’m not going to lie. I knew, in my gut, that F and I would encounter this kind of scrutiny in some form or other everywhere we went. I let F do the talking the rest of the trip. And it ground every independent feminist fiber in my body to shreds to stand there and keep my mouth shut while I smiled sweetly.
This my digital friends, is how our Honeymoon began.
Welcome to, The Homeland.