13 hours later with Kiev in our airline rear-view mirror…
we arrive at JFK, and begin the slow-mo shuffle down to passport control. For some reason, people in New York thought it was too cold outside (It was 45 degrees…) so the heat was on in the airport. Heat on. Five planes arrived at the same time and emptied hundreds of people into the same border control. One by one, the passport control booths empty of the control agents, until it’s just one person at each end of the border control.
When it’s finally our turn, Mark and I give each other a look and had decided earlier that we would be “randomly selected.” Mark hasn’t trimmed his beard in about 3 months – it’s a week away from having its own zip code and town hall.
The border agent is a portly, pale balding man in his 50s and we’re giving him the run down of the places we’ve been when the agent scans Mark’s passport. He turns to Mark and tells him that he’s been selected for interrogation.
We called it. I look at the agent and say, “OK, it will tell you the same thing for me, then.”
But it didn’t, Isn’t that interesting? Portly man stamps my passport. You’re good to go! Welcome home! he says.
Our passports have the exact same stamps, dates overseas, and “questionable” countries visited, yet I wasn’t selected for interrogation.
Portly man steps out of his border control booth and walks us to the interrogation room, where a dozen other people could not be more excited about their interrogations, too.
/There really isn’t anything quite like sitting in an aluminum tube for 13 hours and taking your first steps in America after 5 months abroad to an interrogation room./
I could tell you a bunch of other waiting games and things in that interrogation room, but the thing is I wasn’t allowed to speak to the agent. Only Mark was. And about 2 hours later we were free to move about our home. And wow, nothing could have prepared us for how we felt coming back to America.