Amanda Murphy

Amanda Murphy

Austin, TX

I met the love of my life upside-down in a cave, in the UK. We were both in school there, and as archaeologists, seemed to spend a lot of time together in the dirt. He liked my pancakes, I liked his Yorkshire slang. We both liked indie music. It was an All-American story, the cliche of dumb kids falling in love, only like our meeting, it ran backwards. When my Master’s came to an end, I tried to find legitimate ways to stay in the UK with him, but he wasn’t eligible to bring me there as his wife. When my visa expired, he visited New York with me. We choked back tears at the airport, promising that next time would be forever (a lie we have told each other now so many times that the words taste of soap). My post-study visa to the UK was rejected (secret missing stamp), and then my scholarship for a PhD. He was still in school, and there was no way for him to gain status without dropping out. It was only a year and a half later, when his degree was winding to a close that we realized the Fiancee visa we had been hoping to bring him to the US on would take 5 months, or maybe 7. No one seemed sure, but the ambiguity was enough to crush even the simple plans of a tent on my grandparents’ lawn, fairy lights, a white dress, and a family, finally whole, that we had been dreaming of through the sorrows and holidays spent apart. On a blank, ordinary day in February, during his Christmas break, we put on unseasonable clothes, and trudged down to the Justice of the Peace. My mother (who had quite nearly forgiven us) cried through the whiny speakers of my iPhone, while we promised each other, and a stranger in a black robe, to love and to cherish. A few days later, he was gone again. That was eight months ago. He can try to gain entry while his visa is pending- try- there is no guarantee he won’t be turned away before our toes meet. There is a “line” for visa processing everyone says, but I can not understand where it begins or ends, as I see couples who applied a month ago speeding on to the next step, while we languish on the first. I don’t resent them their happiness, but it is hard not to resent the government for denying us ours with its inefficiency. For telling us that for our love, my mother’s half-angry tears on speakerphone are good enough; that for us, nights clutching a pillow will have to do, rather than entwined around a slow-rising chest, containing the only heart in the universe that beats the right rhythm for sleep to find you. Please consider signing this petition for spousal visa reform: http://wh.gov/2aH

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