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Amber Paulen

The Doldrums

The immigration documentation is in the mail and now I only must wait for the U.S. government to decide my fate: if I will move to the States or if I won’t. That they have the power to decide the direction of my life is something I can’t get used to, but there it is, and there’s nothing more that I can do. We must wait anywhere from 4 to 10 months to hear back from them. Simon said, the other morning, “These are the doldrums.”

There are two definitions of doldrums. The first is a period of inactivity and has a depressing implication. The second is the calm place on the sea. The word itself sounds depressing, feels depressing the way it flops off the tongue: dol. drum. But yet when I picture the second definition, when I send myself to that place on the water where there are no storms or waves, the effect is peacefulness. That’s how I want these next months to be, to enjoy the summer in Rome as it is my favorite place to spend a summer, hot and lethargic. It is from a calm place that I can continue doing what I’m doing and prepare for the worst because it’s always a good idea to have a Plan B. Or, at least, that’s what this experience is teaching me.


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