|Image: Salvatore Vuono|
A million things to blog about lately. But I’m often flat on the blog floor by the sheer weight of all those words.
I’ve been filling out a lot of forms in this new phase of my life. At my job, at the bank, at the community acupuncture clinic.
On many of these forms, there’s often an emergency contact section. I always falter.
My mom helps us out with a phone line in Mexico. So we have a US line through the Internet. If there ever was an emergency, reaching R becomes a national call, as opposed to an international one.
But here’s what makes me tear up when I’m dutifully putting in the emergency info: What can R really do in an emergency? He can’t enter the US with papers. He’s not familiar with San Francisco. He can’t demand to speak to whoever is in charge and tell them that his lawyer/doctor/etc…will be there immediately to represent him.
And yet, I put him down as the first contact. Under “Relationship,” I write in black or blue pen: Husband.
I won’t stand down. I write his full name.
On my US W-4 tax form, I’m required by law to check off the “single” box when it comes to my marital status. By being married to a man that is not recognized by the eyes of the law in this country, I’m rendered single. There’s a specific note next to an asterisk for people like me.
And even at these levels of humiliation, there’s an asterisk only for the straight people filling out the W-4. If you’re in a LGBTQ marriage, you don’t even get an asterisk on that federal form.
The exact language on the W-4 calls R and others like him a “nonresident alien.”
When I fill out tax forms for payment of a performance of my show, “The Deportee’s Wife,” I have to check off the box that says “single.”
I don’t call R a nonresident alien. I usually call him amorcito, or mi lindo.
Or I call him by his name, my tongue rolling on that first R sound.
Relationship? My husband.