This is government office. Dress respectfully.
I look down at my dress. Topshop maxi. Slit up the thigh on both sides. Slit at the sides, to the waist. At least I am wearing a bra though. And knickers. You can see both. They’re black.
Fail in the respectfully dressed stakes.
Shit, I think. I’m going to be deported. And it will be Topshop’s fault.
At least Alula looks respectfully dressed. She’s in a sundress. Mind you it’s too big and you can see both her boobies as she cheerfully informs me (she calls nipples boobies for some reason we haven’t yet fathomed) as I try to hold down both sides of my dress so that my thighs aren’t on display. Perhaps it is a little much for a trip to Immigration. But I had to literally run out the house to get here. I didn’t even have time to pee. When Imigrasi tell you jump you ask how high. Although the word ‘high’ spoken anywhere near an Indonesian in uniform freaks me out.
Anyway, I dashed out the house and I didn’t stop to consider clothing or respect because I was too busy worrying about deportation if I didn’t arrive on time.
I turn around in my seat and try to gauge what respectfully dressed might mean. The woman behind me is dressed in a full on hijab. Hmmmm.
Finally we get called in. I feel like a common criminal. I’m told to sit down and give my fingerprints. Sitting is a problem in this dress. It requires both hands to hold down the slits to avoid flashing my thighs. If I cross my legs one side tends to flap open revealingly. But as Alula is clutching both my arms and refuses to let me go, revealing myself is the only option.
Nil points so far.
The two men mutter something in Indonesian and then motion for me to stand Alula in front of the camera.
Of course she’s having none of it. She tries to claw her way up my body like she’s a monkey in the sacred forest and I’m a banyan tree. I have to force her off me but she only grabs onto me harder and refuses to look at the camera.
I crouch down aware that my thighs are now on display and flashing like bill boards in Times Square. They don’t seem impressed either with my wonton display of flesh or with her general cuteness. They look irritated. I don’t want Alula to think I’m scared but I kind of am.
They’re going to put mummy in prison unless you look at the camera and say cheese.
No, she squeals.
I will buy you ten chubba chups if you let go of me and look at the camera.
Please Lula? Please I’m begging you.
Ok. A lolly. If you buy me an ice lolly.
Ok, done, deal. You got it. just look at the camera.
Done? Are we done? I ask the man as I stand and try to rearrange myself.
Yes we’re done, he says ominously.
For the moment I have not been deported. But I do wonder what notes might have been written on my file and sent to Jakarta.