I was having second thoughts about getting married. I was now regretting having mentioned my proposal plan to Sue. She told my mother who now called frequently to find out when I was going to ask. The pressure was building in my family. I asked them not to give Rosa any hints.
The reality of getting married started to hit me. Growing up I never expected to get married young. I started to remember many marriages I saw growing up. Many of the men had outside women. There were even a few women that were rumored to have outside men. Most of them got married young. I think if they got married older maybe the urge to cheat would have been out of their system.
Rosa loved children. I like them too, but from afar. I have seen how difficult it is for young couples and single parents with children. I see it at work when parents are shopping. The children run around, kick and scream, break things and are too much to handle for the parents. Children in the US are spoilt rotten. Some of the behaviour I have seen in the US would probably warrant to a public “backsidin” or a “box”. What is also disturbing is children threatening to call Child Services on their parents if they discipline them physically. I saw a child stomp and kick their mother’s leg purposely during a temper tantrum. The mother did nothing. I was tempted to say something but left it alone. People are very defensive about their child even if the child embarrass them.
One of my bigger fears about having children is having a girl. I have seen how young girls dress in revealing clothes. They dress inappropriately trying to attract men. Parent just doesn’t seem to have control. I would worry about boys trying to “check” them. I know what all boys want from girls and it is not a long term relationship. What a nightmare it would be for me if I had girls. I would be overprotective. I would probably send my daughter away to become a nun.
For boys I would only have to say don’t get a girl pregnant. That would be easy. Regardless I am not ready for children.
Even though I don’t want children, I knew what I wanted. I wanted a better job and a better life. I wanted a chance to travel back to Jamaica and other parts of the world. The only way to achieve that is to get married and get a green card. It was the only way. I am sure I could tell Rosa to hold off on the children for at least 10 years. She would do it for me. She would be limited in her career as a doctor if she had children right after marriage.
Hopefully she will not feel the pressure from my mother who constantly says “I can’t wait for my beautiful grandchildren”.
Rosa knew something was going on. She was close with my mother and sister. I would not be surprised if they did not hint of my upcoming proposal to her. In the first couple days after my declaration to Sue it seemed the hugs were tighter and the kisses more passionate. The hints about weddings were stronger and it seemed we were watching more romantic movies. But as the days turn to weeks things were back to normal. Actually there were days when she was not her cheery self. I sense she knew I was having second thoughts. Her expectations were probably set very high by Sue and my mother. I was not delivering on her expectations. She tried her best to hide her disappointment but it showed. I was not going to confront her about what was happening inside and my reservation. I just did not want to add to any of her expectations.
Sue was also solemn after a few weeks. I was still concerned about her and Ritchie. She was happy for me in the beginning but as time went on it seems she became very indifferent. I was not sure if it was because I took so long to ask Rosa or because of jealousy. She had jokingly mentioned that she wished she was getting married.
She told me that she and Ritchie were going to get married right after she had completed her masters. They had it all planned out. They had visited an immigration lawyer to find out long it would have taken for her to get her green card. She showed me the forms they had collected including the marriage application and immigration forms. When she confided this in me it helped me to understand why she was so depressed when Ritchie left. They had planned their life together. They still talked daily using phone booths. I did not like the idea of her going out in the evenings talking to him at the phone booths but as my grandmother used to say; it was her “comfort”.
Sue came to me about my delay in proposing. This is when I realized it was not jealousy.
“Why haven’t you proposed yet” she asked.
“I just need to think this whole thing out. I don’t want to rush.”
“What is there to think about?” she asked
I could not believe I made it slip out.
“I have to think about where to live, children, money all the things that marriage involved.” I replied
Sue responded “If you are worried about children, Rosa says she doesn’t not want to have any for a while”
Rosa had said that to me before but hearing someone else say it was a relief. It helped with some of the doubts I had.
I shot back.
“Will you help me shop for the engagement ring?” I asked.
Her eyes light up. She was not jealous she was just going to live her wish through this wedding.
“Sure,” she replied
“There is one catch,” I responded,
“What is it” she asked
“I will make the final decision and you can’t tell Rosa that you played any part in picking the ring”
“Ok, I know. Most women would not be happy with another lady picking out their ring.” she replied.
Even though she agreed I knew word would probably leak out. I was fine with it. Rosa loved Sue and I am sure she would love for her to help me choose something she would like.
We went to Luria’s Jewelry store that weekend. The store saleswoman thought we were a couple. Sue was like a child in a candy store. She was having more fun than I was. I was cringing at the cost of the rings. I was prepared to get a 1 carat but the cost was high.
After about ¾ hour in the store I found something we liked. It was out my range however I was willing to buy it using the store credit card. It was a simple 1 carat diamond. I asked them to inscribed our names and the year in it. The jeweler told me he could do it in less than an hour. I was going to act fast as I did not want to change my mind again. It had to be done.
On the way back from the store Sue wanted to know how I was going to ask.
“Don’t worry about it. I have it all planned out”
I had watched enough movies to know how to do it. I would start with dinner at her favorite restaurant. It was an authentic Dominican restaurant in Coral Gables near the University of Miami. She attends the medical school there. She always talked about going there with some friends and how good the food was. It was a distance away but it would be worth it.
Rosa was excited when I told her I was taking her to dinner. She knew it was going to happen that day.
I picked her up at her apartment that night.
The door opened. Rosa was stunning. She was in a beautiful long red dress that hugged her curves. Here hair was flowing down her back. She had on bright red seductive lipstick. She was not big on makeup. She did not need it. Her skin was always flawless. I asked her to “turn” for me so I could look at her fully.
On the drive down to Coral Gables I put on some of her favorite songs. One of the songs was “Because you loved me” by Celine Dion.
For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful baby
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through it all
As I looked over at Rosa enjoying the song I reflected on how true the words were for me. She really loved me and has stood by me in everything.
The drive down to the restaurant went really quickly. It was a Thursday so there was less traffic. We were quickly seated at a table by a window with candle lights. There were 2 couples near by engrossed in conversation. I could see people glance at her. I felt good about having her on my arm.
I could not stop looking at how beautiful Rosa was that night. My plan was to ask the question early. Get it out the way. I had ordered 2 glasses of wine to start our meal. I would make a toast, ask her to close her eye and then ask her to marry me. I felt for the ring in my pocket. It was still there.
As the waitress went back to get the wine we talked. I was staring directly in her eyes as we spoke.
The waitress brought the wine and poured it. My heart was beating really fast. The moment had come.
“A toast, to us”
Rosa’s face was glowing as we lifted our glasses. I reached inside my pocket for the ring. I took it out under the table.
Suddenly there was a loud scream from a woman sitting at the table behind us. It was a couple we saw when we came in.
“Leave me alone, you dog after 10 years of marriage you do this”
“But baby, we are just friends”
An argument ensued between them. It was loud. The waitress had to go over to try and calm things down.
I slowly slipped the ring back in my pocket. The ambiance was gone. My mind was now elsewhere. All my fear about marriage was back.
I can’t do this tonight.
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