To the government of Canada, I was known as number 013 067 694. I was four years old.
I found this old document while going through my parents filing cabinet over the weekend. Tucked between two folders was a yellow envelope that had the word "Immigration" written boldly in black ink. Pulling it out of the envelope, the scent of rotting paper filled my peripheral senses. The paper was thin--almost Kleenex like. As I unfolded the flaps, I discovered the picture of a little boy staring back at me. His hair uncombed. His face was without a smile. It didn't take me long to realize that it was me.
So I sat there--on a Sunday afternoon as the sun shined brightly through the attic window, casting a shadow of myself on the adjacent wall. Dust particles danced and glistened to rays of light, filling the void of an almost empty room. I didn't know what to think. My eyes were transfixed as I admired the old document--flipping it over again and again, reading every fine detail of every word transcribed. I slowly ran my fingers across the picture and felt my heart gradually beating even faster. I don't know why.
During dinner, I showed it to my parents. They couldn't believe what I had found. My mothers eyes glistened as the light above our dinning room table lit the food we were about to consume. I gave her a hug and she smiled. As a family, we've come a long way since this picture was taken--a long, long way since we left the brutality of a refugee camp over 25 years ago.
Sitting there and looking at my family, I realized that this was one of the best Sundays I've had in a very long time.
Read the Series here: Between Heaven and Earth