An American Returning to the U.S. As An Immigrant

It’s almost unfathomable to think that a single document can determine the entire course of one’s life—the very location which he or she is permitted to exist in. The borders and blocks established by people who themselves rarely ever leave the same place. Andrea Marchesi—who had changed his name to Andy around the time he could talk so as to make it more palatable and less feminine-seeming to his American classmates—had no idea just how much paper could mean until he lost his passport.

Sant Antoni de Portmany, commonly referred to as San Antonio, was where it happened. A party section of Ibiza (granted, that inferred most of the sections, but this one in particular was noted for a good time thanks to its Anglican population of British, Irish and Scottish revelers). Andy had found himself on the island after being talked into it by his close Spanish friend, Sebastián, who was three years younger than his twenty-three, and therefore at least a hair more eager to investigate what Ibiza had to offer. Though he had wanted to stay in Barcelona for the summer, where he was still capitalizing on his EU citizenship in order to remain there after graduating at the Institute for Advanced Architecture (because, of course, Gaudi had long been his favorite inspiration), something in Sebastián’s pleading spoke to him, and Andy ultimately conceded, buying a thirty-euro ticket on Ryanair to oblige.

He chose not to tell either of his parents about it, his mother a naturally worrisome type, would likely give him an uncomfortable lecture about the hazards of STDs and his father, the source of his Italian heritage, would shake his head in a way that Andy could see without even needing to FaceTime, asking how he planned to pay for such a trip. Yes, it was bizarre, being at this in-between age of still feeling concern over parental opinions while also being totally (technically) free of them. Luckily, just weeks after arriving at the Aeroport d’Eivissa, Andy was starting to feel further and further way from his American self, ergo any ties to his family save for his dad, who still visited Europe twice a year to sustain his business and personal relations.

It was liberating being this detached body, this free soul with two passports both U.S. and Italian. Maybe the freedom is what imbued him with an increased sense of arrogance. Or maybe it was how easy was to have sex with a different girl every night. Likely a combination of the two as Sebastián really didn’t seem to have half as much good fortune as he did in the latter regard. It was almost as though the remaining aura of his adolescence was serving as a repellent, and, at times, it could serve to embarrass Andy at places like Amnesia—though with such a name he really needn’t have felt any humiliation since no one would remember anything minutes later anyway.

Andy’s intention to go home, back to New York, had been longstanding—even before this unexpected trip. And the date for that journey was fast-approaching in a week. Even if he had planned to stay in Barcelona in the long run—which he had not—his sister, Silvana, was getting married (and just in time; she was thirty-seven). His presence at the nuptials on Long Island was not only expected but compulsory. He was to be Jeremy’s—that was her fiancé’s name—best man. This was not because they were particularly close, but only as a result of Jeremy having no immediate family of his own. His parents and only other brother were killed in a freak accident when Jeremy was fifteen. It happened while they were walking back home together from his brother’s soccer game, which Jeremy had opted out of due to an impending biology test he claimed he needed to study for. So as he was masturbating in the comfort of his bed, a tire from a car had rolled off with impeccable force, hitting all three of them in the back of the head in such a manner as to knock each of them onto the asphalt in a fatal way in one fell swoop. Not your typical “car” accident, to be sure. It was both tragic and envy-inducing to Andy, who, at times, wished he did not have a family. But these thoughts melted away for a while as an Australian girl sucked him off in her hotel room. She was blond and tan, of course. This is what he couldn’t help preferring. It was a natural complement to his own dark skin and Mediterranean aesthetic. In fact, he kept staring at how light her arms looked as her hands gripped to his thighs for support while she was on her knees.

This was the last thing he remembered before waking up to an entirely different girl shaking him back to consciousness. “What the fuck are you doing in my room? Get out!” She was an older American, maybe somewhere in her early forties, also blond, but far less attractive than the Australian one. Andy offered, “Your friend brought me back here.”

She glared at him. “I’m staying in this room with my husband. We got stranded on the other side of the island last night, otherwise I could’ve kicked you out sooner.”

Andy’s internal alarm–the one that tells you “this is fucked”–suddenly went off. Where was he? Where was Sebastián? But most importantly, where were his pants?

When he finally caught up with Sebastián later that day, his friend had even fewer details to offer, he himself waking up on the beach in front of a series of huts offering various water sports excursions. The bottom line, however, was that Andy had gone back to their hotel in his underwear with no trace of his U.S. passport, which he always kept in his pocket along with his wallet, to be found. The Italian one was still in the safe, mercifully. But he felt uneasy about returning to America under the current oppressor’s regime, feeling somehow he would be detained for being an illegal immigrant in spite of possessing citizenship in both countries.

After extensive research, Andy found his options were rather limited, and that his best bet was, as usual, to do nothing. He could report it stolen, sure, but not without also applying for a new one, which wouldn’t be mailed to him for weeks, and to an address he couldn’t even access. There was no viable embassy on the island for him to seek help from either. Sebastián, feeling pity for him, poured some molly into his drink without telling him. And, for the next five days or so of partying and recovering, this gesture really did take Andy’s mind off the issue. That is, until he had to finally go to the airport and take his flight back. Sebastián and Andy rode in a taxi there together, the former due back in Barcelona for the start of his new semester—in spite of being more than ready and willing to stay longer in Ibiza.

He pat his friend on the back and said, “Don’t worry Andy. They can’t do anything to you. You’re an American.”

Andy readjusted the strap on his backpack as he returned, “As of now, I’m just an American returning to the U.S. as an immigrant.”

And return he did, only to be taken into a detaining room, just as he had originally feared. Ibiza had suffused him with the liberty he had never known, only to rip it from him before he could leave.

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