I found theperfect “business” marriage candidate, now it was time to propose to her. How would I do it? I could not do it on a date as Juliet could get the wrong impression if I asked her out. I needed to do it in a private setting. My bigger fear was her saying no.
I had to get it done. I could not wait any longer. I had built up enough courage over the past few weeks.
One evening I called her as I was leaving work.
“Hey there, how are you doing?” I asked.
“I am good. What’s going on? You don’t call me unless something is wrong.”
She was right. She was the one that typically called me.
“Can you swing by here when you leave school today?” I asked.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Just something I wanted to ask for your help on” I replied.
“Yuh cyan tell mi ova di phone” her patois was just like a Jamaican. Her Anguillan accent always made her sound Jamaican.
“No, I have to show you”, I replied lying.
“Suppose I tell yuh mi nah come ef yuh nuh gi mi a hint”, she said jokingly.
“Come on Juliet. I prefer to tell you everything when you get here. Just stop by…please”, I pleaded with her.
“Okay, you twisted my arm…plus I am curious,” she replied.
I left work and hurried home to make sure the house was clean. Geanie would not be there as she had classes that evening. Juliet and I would be alone at the house.
I was nervous.
Was I to get dinner for Juliet? Was I to take her out after my “proposal”. I cleaned up the house and waited.
The door bell rang.
I was about to have a life changing moment, I thought to myself.
Juliet was dressed in a feminine manner today. I was never sure what to expect with her gender bending moods. She had on a vintage looking outfit.
“You’ve been to the thrift store?”, I asked starting the conversation.
Juliet loved the thrift and vintage shops in Dania beach. She would laugh and say she saw a lot of Jamaicans in the thrift stores she visited. I remember some Jamaican friends saying they bought second hand novels there they probably bought clothes too but were too ashamed to admit it.
Yes, I was there with your friend Shellie.
She was taking a jab at me as she knew I did not like Shellie
I smiled. I was not going to “take her on”. I had more serious matters at hand.
“Come in and sit down” I beckoned her into the house.
“What the heck is going on? You are being nice to me. I already know where everything is in your house. You have AIDs or something? I told you to stop sleeping around”, she joked.
“Come sit let’s talk”
She reluctantly came in and sat down. She was giving me a look of annoyance as she sat on the couch in the living room. I sat on a small love seat adjacent to the couch.
My armpits were sweating even though the house was quite cool. The air condition unit was on.
“I don’t know any better way to say this so here goes…”, I looked up at her. I continued “I am in this country illegally. I don’t have a green card”
“Get out of here…you are kidding me” she had a look of astonishment on her face.
“No I am not. My visitor’s visa expired over 12 years ago. I have been living here illegal since”
“But you were at school, you are a manager at the store…how did you do that?” she asked.
She was shocked.
I told her my story. Thirty minutes later she still had a blank stare on her face.
“Okay so why are you confessing this to me?” she asked.
“Because I need your help” I replied
“How?” she asked.
It was the moment I had been building to. I was ready for it.
“Would you marry me so I can get my green card?” I asked
“What?”, she had a look of surprise on your face.
“A business marriage” I replied looking directly at her. I did not need to explain what a business marriage was. Every person who is from the Caribbean should know.
Dead silence. She looked away from my stare.
This was bad I thought to myself. I had to do something quickly.
“You don’t have to give me answer now”. I was lying. I was hoping she would tell me right away so I could move on to the next candidate.
She looked up at me.
“Why the urgency now after all these years?” she asked
“There is new legislation being discussed to deny green cards to anyone who has overstayed their visa. They would have to go back to their home country and wait 10 years before they could apply again for a visitor’s visa.” I replied.
“So why don’t you go back home to Jamaica? Your family is there and Jamaicans are always bragging that they are the best island” she asked .
I was not sure how to explain this to her. She was correct that Jamaicans love to brag about Jamaica but almost half the population of Jamaicans lived outside Jamaica. More Jamaicans would leave if they could get a coveted “US visa”. Then there are some who hold on to living in Jamaica because they remember the good old days and hope Jamaica goes back to those days. It’s a false hope as the government has destroyed the country. I explained this to her.
“Why did you ask me?”
“You are a close friend. You are someone I can trust. You are also in school and I did not think you were looking to get married while you complete your studies. ”
“How do you know that I am not getting married soon. Having a divorce on my record does not look good.”
I did not know what to say.
“Let me think about this. There is too much to digest,” she stated.
“Okay, let me know.”
“I will. Now can I go home? I have to study,” she said joking.
I walked her to the door and watched her drive off. I had a huge sigh of relief as I walked back into the house. That “business” marriage proposal was one of the most uncomfortable things I ever had to do in my life. Now I had to wait for an answer.