I am not sure why I decided to say yes, it had been a struggle to get my life back on track after my Father’s death, but there I was, in the building I named “the chocolate cake” when I was a kid. The ugliest building in architectural history, a ghastly chocolate-brown building, that looked painful, not elegant, sleek, or even intimidating, just a brown blob. I walked up those front steps, visually able to see my Father standing all those times over the years, at the top step, dressed in his suit, holding his briefcase, and smiling as he saw recognized my Mother behind the wheel, eager to get in the car and head home with us. I stood at the top step, feeling his presence, knowing he was with me as I entered a building I thought I would ever go into again. The last time I had entered the building, was a day after my Father’s death, I had to muster up so much courage to walk in and not cry, we used his parking pass for the last time, and walked to his office to pick up 2 cardboard boxes and a handful of paintings, his work life summed up in 2 sad boxes, he left no trace of who he really was or what he had accomplished at work. It was a surreal experience, his light was extinguished, and then that was it. That life was gone in a second. I was then back at the door, entering a building I had attempted hard to forget.
Something pulled me towards that building, I walked in, knowing that there was so much that I needed to understand about my Father’s work life, and so much I needed to understand about him. I was being pulled in, to mend wounds, to embrace the hole his death left in my heart, and to finally grieve the death of a coming of age I never got to have, when you finally graduate from being a diplomatic kid to being an adult (which is the age in which you no longer are a dependent and you lose your Diplomatic passport after finishing University), I never got that chance, it had all been taken away from me at the age of 19. My identity had been defined by a tiny burgundy passport since birth, and as my father drew his last breath, the rug was ripped from under me. I knew my journey in the building was to understand and meet him in a way, in turn I would understand me and meet myself again, and we would finally finish our mentoring relationship. It was a strange realization, but it felt so obvious at that moment on the front steps. The past was something I needed to release, in order to move forward. It would be in this big chocolate building, that all memories of my past, which had so carefully been buried deep inside, carefully locked away, bubbled to the surface for me to embrace.
It was while working in the department, that I began to write down all my stories of the past, and kept track of the stories of the present.