I was able to get most of my debt under control and I started school again. It seems like the only thing that was stable in my life. Work was not good. Hector was my supervisor. He belittled Jamaicans all the time. He made my left miserable. I could not quit as work requirements were now tighter for me to get a job. At school life felt normal. There were quite a few news faces on campus as many of the regulars had graduated. I was left behind because of the debt I was in after my “visit”. I would have to wait another year to get my 2 year degree.
Occasionally there would be the discussion on from another “yardie” on “what they did when they were in Jamaica”. You would always here a “yardie” student who returned from a visit to Jamaica say “Mi jus come back fram yard. Jamaica nice”. Even though I had feelings of jealousy I was always happy to hear anything about Jamaica.
Things were looking up until I came home a late summer afternoon towards the end of the semester.
Angela left me a message on the answering machine. She sounded upset. I called her back.
“I have some news I have to tell you face to face?”
“What is it I asked?”
“Can you come by later tonight.”
“Sure” I was anxious to know what was going on.
She and I were still flirting but nothing more. She still had a boyfriend. Even though I wanted to be with her really badly I did not have much to offer. I also did not need anymore complications in my life. I enjoyed flirting.
Later that night I went by Angela’s apartment.
She met me at the door with a big hug.
“Can we go for a walk?”
“Sure” I replied. She held on to my hand. It was weird because she still had a boyfriend.
We started walking and ending up at the park nearby in silence. We sat on one of the benches.
“My student visa will be expiring in 3 months once I finish school”
“Ohh, I did not realize you would be finished that quickly” I replied.
“Yes, I had doubled up on all my credits”
She looked me in the eyes.
“I want to stay here”
She was looking at me with a helpless look in her eyes. I think she was expecting me to say I could help her to stay here. I tried to play dumb.
How can I help?
Her reply was bold. “You can marry me so I can get my green card”
I knew this was coming. I had no response.
She continued. “I know you love me”
“I do love you” I replied.
It was the first time we admitted the “Chemistry” between us.
She started to cry. “I have been holding that back for a while because I was not sure if you loved me.
We were hugging.
“Do you really love me”?
We began to kiss passionately. It was a kiss I would never forget. I felt right. I felt like we were one.
Suddenly she pulled back.
“Are you going to help me stay”?
I desperately wanted to say yes but I know I could not.
“I can’t help you”
She had a look of shock on her face.
This was the love of my life. None of the other girls I have dated affected me the way she did. I had to say something.
“I am waiting on my green card. My Aunt in New York filled for me and the family” I lied.
There was a look of disappointment on her face.
“Why did you not tell me this before” she asked.
“Why would it matter if you loved me?” I asked
“I would not have fallen in love for you” she replied.
It was a strange answer.
Her next statement was the shocker.
“My boyfriend is willing to marry me to get my green card. I don’t love him and wanted to see if you would do the same. I love you and it would be easier”
I was speechless. This was the second time this happened to me with a girl. I had nothing to say.
She got up from the bench. She was standing over me. I had my hands on my head.
“I wish there is something I could. Can you get a second student visa”?
“When were you getting married?”
“He said we could get married next week at the court house”
There was silence. Tension you could cut with a knife.
“I have to go now. Bye” she broke the silence.
“Is this it?” I asked
“Yes” she replied.
I watched the girl I love walk away. She was not only the girl I loved by my best friend. I was in slow motion like the movies. I desperately wanted to stop her by but I had nothing to offer but my undying love. You cannot get a green card in the United States based on love.
The pain of losing Angela was like no other I ever felt. I was numb for a few days. I went home that night and slept. I called in sick and took a day off. I was in pain. It was not physical.
My sister realized some was going on. I had not eaten. I just went from the room to the bathroom.
“Are you ok?” she asked
“Yes”, I replied from behind the room door.
“You sure?” she was insistent
“Yes” I replied again. I wanted her to go away.
“Let me in” she was now knocking at the door.
“What do you want?”
“I have something for you” she replied.
I mustered enough energy to get up from the bed and open the door.
“Here, eat this”
It was a bowl of red peas soup. My favorite. I am sure she bought it from the Jamaican restaurant in the neighborhood. The smell melted me and I forgot about the paid I was feeling. I sat on the bedside eating the soup.
Suzanne stood in the doorway.
“So what is going on”, she asked.
“Nothing”, I replied.
I was not going to tell her anything. Since she started dating Ritchie, I did not feel anything that I said to her would be held in confidence.
“You are lying”. She knew me well enough. I had to tell her something.
“I lost a very close friend” I replied.
“Who? How did they die?” Now I was feeling sorry I said anything.
“It is no one you know”. I evaded the question on how they died.
“It is a girlfriend isn’t it?”
I was finished with my soup.
“Please leave me alone”. I gave her the soup bowl and ushered her out my room.
I was not sure I could ever trust her again after the Ritchie incident.
The soup ‘hit de spat’. I was feeling much better. I knew I had to ‘get up’ as I was going back tomorrow. More than one sick day would require a doctor’s note.
I went to the bathroom to take a shower. I looked awful. There was matter build-up around my eyes. There was dry “stuff” around my mouth. I looked like a “bum”. After taking a shower I went back to my room and turned on the radio. It was like someone had it on queue. The first song I heard was, ‘Even though I hate, leave as I cry’ by Guy. Then ‘Tender Love’ by Full Force. The other songs followed, ‘Tender Love’, Tears on my pillow’…
It was now two weeks since the break-up. I need to do something to break my new mundane routine of work, school and sleep. I did not want a “rebound” girlfriend.
I went out with my uncle to stingers, a night club in a city called Miramar. It was not the club ‘young’ people go to. I need to do something different, the club was smoky. The men were wearing those big old fashion chains around there necks. The women were wearing tight clothes. I think I was the youngest person there. My uncle seemed to know everyone.
The old time music was good. And, I was sitting at the bar enjoying myself. There was an attractive older lady at the bar. She told me her name was Sharon. I got really drunk that night and probably said too much to her. We made a connection. Well at least that is what I thought. Maybe she was just being a bartender. It was now my new watering hold. I went mainly to talk to Sharon.
Uncle Teddy was there again with the same lady. He and her drank together and talked. She left. Two weeks ago they had an argument. I was far away and could not hear what they were saying. I was curious to find out who she was. I knew the best time to ask was when he was drunk. I stayed sober enough one night and asked.
“Who is that lady?”
“My wife”, he laughed.
“Stop joking Uncle Teddy” I replied.
“Fe real, is mi wife. Me duh a biznizz marriage fi get mi paypas”.
I was a little surprised. Uncle Teddy always ranted about going back to Jamaica. He complained the life here was too fast. People were too mean. He sounded like he missed Jamaica.
He continued, “she comes every week to meet him at Stingers for the money he agreed to pay her for the ‘business marriage’”. The argument was about her wanting him to move in and help her. Suzanne also had a girlfriend who married a guy. He raped her and she got pregnant. She could not go to the police because of fear of deportation. She had an abortion and ran away to another city.
“How long will it take to get your green card”, I once asked uncle Teddy.
“Four years from now” he replied.
My mind started to work. Finally I would have a relative who had a green card. Maybe this is my break to finally get one legitimately. If that did not work well there was still Sue and Ritchie.
I thought of Angela. Even though she liked her boyfriend she did not love him. Her marriage was really about “bizness”.
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