Everything was coming together. I let Genie out the lease only taking 50% of the penalty. I needed her at the wedding so I was very lenient. Juliet moved in a week after Geanie left. She did not have a lot as she had sold some of her items before moving. The arrangement was great. We stayed out of each other’s way like roommates. We talked mainly in the evenings as she was a night owl when it came to studying.
With Juliet now living with me, the next step was to call my family and tell them the news.
I would have to call my mother. She would spread the news to everyone that I was getting married. I could not tell her it was a business marriage. She would not approve of it. Even though her marriage with my father had its ups and downs she valued what it stood for. She did not think the institution of marriage was something to use to gain a green card. We spoke about this in detail when she visited me a few years back. She kept telling me to be patient and that something would work out. She would constantly remind me that President Reagan’s 1986 ¬Immigration Reform and Control Act allowed people who were illegal aliens to get legal status. She believed that the US would pass another immigration act and I just had to be patient.
Forget patience. I was getting married for a green card. What she does not know won’t hurt her.
“Mommy I am getting married…” I was unable to complete the sentence before she interrupted.
“Ooh this is the best news I have gotten for a long time.
Is it Rosa? Did you get back together”
“No it’s not Rosa” I replied.
“Oohhh” I heard a sigh of disappoint in her voice.
“Who is it?” She asked sounding exasperated.
“It is no one you know” I replied
There was silence. I knew she had a million questions as I had not hinted to them about a relationship during our regular monthly conversations.
“This is so sudden. Who is it?” She asks.
I told her it was Juliet. She heard me talk about her before in passing. I told her we were good friends and fell I love.
“What does her family do?” she asked.
I was now getting the typical Jamaican uptown grilling to see if she had the pedigree to marry an uptowner’s son. I could hear the disappointment in her voice when she realized that Juliet was not from Jamaica. She could not call around to find out anything about her.
“This is great news “, She was pretending to be excited.
I heard Sue in the background asking for the phone. She was eavesdropping and heard the conversation.
Sue got on the phone. I did not expect her to be home.
“Mommy just told me you are getting married”
I had to tell Sue the truth. I know she would keep the secret.
“Nuh seh nuttin but mi a do ah bizness ting”
I broke in patois to mask our conversation. As an illegal alien I was always paranoid about someone listening to me. I always assumed the phone was bugged. If someone had bugged my phone they would not understand the conversation.
“Fe real” Sue replied.
“Yeah, mi ah try a ting fe get de green paypah”, I replied.
Sue and I chatted some more before I spoke back to my mother.
“Have you started the wedding plans”, she asked.
“Not yet” I replied. “Juliet is going to try…”
“I guess we need to get started. I am coming next week to help you start planning” she interrupted me.
She was excited. She was going to take over the planning. It is exactly what I was hoping for. The normal bride would want to control the planning of her wedding. Juliet did not want to plan the wedding at all. It was not her “real” wedding”.
Everything was coming together.
Juliet was acting strange. We usually chat in the evenings then she goes off to her room and me to mine. The pass 2 days she came and went straight to her room.
Something was wrong. I knew it was not school work as she was an early morning person. My biggest fear was she was having second thoughts about the business marriage.
I had to confront her. This could not wait. My mother was coming next week and if she was going to call it off I needed to let her know.
I pulled up to the front of the house and waited in the car. It was the only way I could confront her as her room is at the front of the house by the front door.
As she was opening the front door I came out the car and approached
She looked up
“What are trying to do, scare me?”, It was the most she said to me in the last few days.
I was direct
“No, I am trying to talk to you. Why have you been avoiding me. Is there something going on?”
We were both in the house.
“Nothing is going on,” she could not look me in the face.
“Here we go again”, I thought to myself. Women play this cat and mice game where you have to constantly badger them to get them to open up.
“Juliet, don’t play games with me. You have been avoiding me the past few days. What’s going on? Are you having second thoughts about this?”, I asked.
She looked directly at me.
“Yes, I am having second thoughts”
It was the words I did not want to hear.
“Why? I agreed to everything you wanted. What’s changed “
“Have you spoken to your mother this week?” She asked. It was a strange question but I felt obligated to respond being that I wanted to know what was going on.
She looked away
“I spoke to your mother 4 days ago” she replied
The look on her face said it all. Something transpired between them. It was four days ago when she started to avoid me.
What did you talk about?
“She called to talk about the wedding” she replied. She looked away again. My mother never told me she would call about the wedding. It was obvious the conversation upset Juliet. I wondered if my mother quizzed her. She never felt anyone was good enough for me.
“So how did it go?” I asked
“It did not go well. I thought you told her it was a business marriage. She went off on me when I told her.”
My head started to spin.
Why did Juliet tell her? I wanted to tell her what she did was dumb. She knew the goal was to make this marriage look real.
“She was talking about a glamorous wedding which would be expensive and tedious. I don’t think that was what we wanted” she continued
In my mind I was thinking “you had no right to say that”.
She explained how my mother berated her and compared her to a prostitute. She told Juliet she would not plan a “sham” wedding and hung up.
I know I probably should have not said anything but you never told me your family did not know.
She was right. Even in a business marriage we needed to communicate. Now I had to figure out how to fix the situation. She went to her room and I sat down trying to relax. I needed to clear my mind to figure out the next move.
The phone rang.
It was a familiar voice on the end.
It was Rosa.
She got right to the point in a serious tone.
“Your mother asked me to call you about your upcoming marriage”