So much to say.
So many lessons.
I feel as though the building of this house has speed-brought me to me. To the grown up me. I feel as though these last four months have peeled off old layers (some of them not quite ready to go and therefore a bit painfully) and here I am on the other side: a little raw, a little fresh, a lot altered.
The morning after the banner went up on my house and on several houses in the neighborhood, I drove an hour and a half to the municipal office, where I was to meet the judge. It was a quiet town, pleasant and still waking up as I made sure to arrive early in case there would be a wait.
A guard in front of the big wooden door. He let me in to the cool waiting room where a lady sat behind a desk. I handed her my paper and told her that I was here to see the judge. The lady judge, in fact.
I felt ready to plead my case. To explain that I had been assured several times that no permits were needed "because we did not have access to services." That I had now learned that this was not the case, that I was so very close to finishing my house, and that the rain was coming any day now and could we please please install the doors? That I was sorry, too.
And I was sorry.
I did not like having broken a law, "taken" something without the right protocol. It felt arrogant on my part.
The lady took my paper, looked at it, confirmed that I was here to see "the jueza," and to please sit down.
I really had to pee but there was no way I was risking missing my interview, or whatever this was going to be.
So I sat there, knowing it could be a long time. I would squirm for as a long as was needed.
But within minutes the door opened and a very tall man ushered me into the office where I assumed I would meet her, the special judge who would decide my fate.
Of course, that's not how it happened.
Instead, he had me sit on a chair in front of him, while he remained standing, towering over me. Asked me for the paper again.
I soon realized he was it. No lady judge, just this man who consciously or not was determined to point out how big he was - and how small I was. I could deal with that.
I took a breath and started to explain: the not knowing, the rain, the windows, the being sorry.
He never acknowledged any of it. Instead he took a photocopy of my residency card, kept the paper and said that he would talk with the judge and would let me know her decision in the next two days. That I would then have to go to another office, in another town (the town where I had received my residency card) and get all my permits in order.
I asked if I could do this today and he nodded.
I asked if he could please make me a copy of the paper. He said his copy machine only made copies of IDs. He said I could take a photo if I wanted. I wanted. Then gave me his phone number so I could check in with him.
Out the big wooden door I went, no paper, no resolution except my own resolution to do whatever I could to get this big banner off my house as soon as possible.
I got in the car and headed away from home, towards that big office where things happen - and where I remember them having decent carrot cake.