Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 58

My father sends his DNA in for testing. He purchases one of those online DNA tests that returns results in percentages. It also provides information on others you may be related to that have taken the same DNA test. His results are in: he has a high percentage of DNA with its origins in Africa. He asks if I’ve ever been curious enough to send mine in. I say, “No, I’ve always been comfortable being something other than white.” Melanosomes are organelles that hold and transport pigment. 58 The first time I almost end up in a holding cell is on entering Japan. The immigration officer’s fingers tighten around my arm to pull me out of line. “Why are you visiting Japan,” he shouts at us as he snatches the passports from my fingers. My husband tries to explain that we are visiting for a few days on a layover as we make our way back to the United States from a wedding in Thailand, but the officer cuts him off and speaks directly to me. I repeat the story. He enquires about our identical last names. “We’re married; he’s my husband,” I motion with my arm toward my husband. He asks me twice more to identify him. I point as if we’re contestants on The Price is Right. He hesitates before slowly returning the passports and announcing we are being questioned because we fit the description of an unknown man from the African continent who has been illegally importing drugs and Eastern European women; him, the possible African, me, the white woman. We just stare clutching our American passports. The seconds seem to linger in the air like witnesses until the immigration officer finally lifts a hand to the agent stamping passports and signals to let us through. Lineage specifications of cells carrying pigment are predisposed. The second time I almost end up in a holding cell in on entering Iceland. We are on a family trip for my daughter’s ninth birthday. I walk up to the counter with Granger and my daughter and we are allowed entry. We wait for my brothers on the other side of the glass immigration enclosure. A few minutes pass and we are still waiting. I think, for sure, my brothers should be through the barrier by now. I turn back and lean around the cubicles. The immigration officer is standing, walking out of the booth, and going to consult with another officer. I