I will never forget the “arrest experience” as long as I live. I would put this up there on the list of scares with my trip to the Bahamas. This was worse because I was caught.
Ritchie called a month after the incident. Sue was not at home and I picked up the phone.
“Who is this?” I asked
“Wha Yuh mean who dis?” he responded
“Sir I think you have the wrong number,” I replied and hung up.
I did not want anyone tracing Ritchie back to us. I was worried that the phone was bugged. The phone rang a few times after I hung up. I did not pick up. I think he was trying to call back.
It was painful telling Sue that she should hang up on Ritchie if he calls. I knew it would be difficult for her but after our experience with the “police” I knew she would do it. I told her if the phone was bugged we may get another visit. In fact Ritchie gave her a way out as 4 days later a greeting card arrived from Atlanta. He would write her every week from a different address in Atlanta. These letters would also be different every time. I was still very paranoid and insisted that she tear up the envelopes into little pieces before she threw them out. I also asked her to hide the letters.
The incident had a drastic effect on Sue. I hear her scream out one night. I ran to her door.
“Are you okay?” I asked
“Yes,” she replied.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Just a bad dream,” she replied.
For the next few months I would hear her get up very late at nights watching the TV.
She also had another new habit. She would come home and go for a walk. She would be away for hours.
I suspected something was going on.
I asked her about it. She told me she just needed fresh air. I did not believe her.
One evening while I was driving home I saw here a few blocks from the house using the phone at the Circle K convenience store.
She was receiving calls from Ritchie at phone booths around the neighborhood.
I told her it was dangerous but I am not sure if it deterred her. She still went on walks. On the nights she got the calls she would sleep well. I also think she wanted to be away from the apartment because of the neighbors.
Even though the “arrest incident” happened on a late night, we were convinced that some of the neighbors saw or heard something. I felt like they were staring at me. Sue said the same thing. No one seemed to greet us like they used to. We wanted to say we were not drug dealers but could not. Who would believe us after that dramatic show of force by those armed men? They saw the “police” raid so they must think we are criminals, even though we did not commit a crime. If they thought the “police” were “drug dealers” dressed as police, we must criminals who had something they wanted.
It felt like Sue and I were going against the world. We could not tell anyone, especially our parents. It was our secret, but the neighbors’ knew. That was a problem.
We started a campaign to push our parents to move us to another apartment. We told them the place was becoming a “dump”. We even told them that we had neighbors busted for drugs.
My mother was very concerned about the whole situation and I know she believe me because Rosa would back me up. She never liked the place and had hinted that I move in with her on many occasions. She would certainly help our cause with my mother. My father was a different story.
He was concerned about the lease. We had 8 months left on the lease we just renewed. He did not want to break it. On my own I could probably pay a for small place and still go to school. With Sue, there is no way I could afford a place on my own. At some point we would each need to go on our own but the time was not ripe just yet. I told Sue to work on our father. He had a soft spot for the girls.
I joked with her and said “I am sure he does not want any of his virgin daughters to be raped in this crime infested place”.
I realized the joke was serious. My father would disown her if he knew she had a relationship with Ritchie.
Sue was not eating well and was getting colds very often. When she had a cold I would eventually catch it. I hate taking medicine but I had a bad cold which I caught from her.
While at the pharmacy picking up cold medicine I saw Leroy who I worked with at Winn Dixie.
‘Long time. Yuh still at Winn Dixie?” I replied. He was dressed really nice with lots of jewelry.
“Nah, mi have mi own business now. Mi ship things to Jamaica.” “Yeah, mi jus come back fram yard yesterday, things sweet”
he replied. I could hear the pride in your voice.
We talked a little bit and then he left. I watched him as he walked outside into a new BMW.
I was happy for him. He now had his green card and was doing well. I was also jealous. Why not me? I am not a bad person. I just want to live my life. There is so much I could do with a green card. I dwelled on that feeling of jealousy for a while. The feeling of being happy and jealous at the same time is not a very nice emotion.
Seeing Leroy gave me confirmation that it was even more reason to get married to Rosa. I had a few months left before I would have my Bachelors degree and Sue was a year away from completing her Masters. I did not want to be stuck at BJ’s all my life because I did not have papers to get a better job. Sue would probably be going back home after her Masters was complete. With Ritchie now living in Atlanta there was no more hope for getting a green card through him and Sue getting married.
Since the day of the arrest I knew I had to get married to get my green card. Rosa would be my wife. I could not rush as she would get suspicious so I had to make the move gradually.
I also had to get my mind around the idea of loving Rosa as a wife. She was not a stranger but someone who was deeply in love with me. I would be with her for all life. I had to convince myself that I could love Rosa like I love Angela. She still crossed my mind many times. It is not good to compare them as they were very different. I just could not help it. I had to picture myself living with Rosa. I did not want to be married and fooling around like my father. I saw what it did to my mother and could never bear to do that to a woman. I may have been a dog before marriage but I will not be a dog during marriage.
I started to make gradual steps. Her parents lived in the Dominican Republic, even though they were both citizens of the US. They lived in Miami for a while but after the children had grown they went back. Rosa was the last of 6 children. There were 3 brothers and 3 sisters. I wanted to know more about how she grew up with them and how they interacted.
I wanted to spend more time with Rosa at her apartment however Sue did not like being in the house alone since the incident. Rosa knew something had happened but thought it was Sue going through “withdrawals” from Ritchie moving to Atlanta. The story we told her was that Ritchie had a job offer he could not refuse in Atlanta. She bought it.
Since my mission had changed to marrying Rosa I started to really get to know her. I thought if I was going to spend the rest of my life with her, I better know her well. I never really listened. I never talked to her about her past relationship. I really did not care then. A little bit of it could be some male jealousy. I would not want to hear if her ex-boyfriend did something better than me. I did not expect this relationship to last this long so her past was not important.
I soon realized how much her past played into the way this relationship was going. I realized why she gave me her all and loved to take care of me.
Her last relationship did not go well because of the time she spent at school. The guy in her last serious relationship gave it his all and she did not. Part of it was her first relationship where she was hurt really bad. She used school as a shield in her next relationship. It was her buffer to not get her heart broken again. It did not work.
Her next boyfriend left her for her best friend who she lived with while they both went to school. It really devastated her. They grew together in the Dominican Republic and now she stole her man. She found out about the relationship when her best friend became pregnant. After the baby was born her ex-best friend married her ex-boyfriend. Her family was close with her best friend because there mothers were also best friends. Even though her mother felt bad for her she did not understand her pain. It did not stop her from going to her ex-best friends wedding.
Rosa vowed that she would give her all in the next relationship. I was that relationship. I was benefiting from the hurt she felt in the past. She was opening up to me.
“Why have you been so attentive in the last few months”.
I lied. I told her that Sue and Ritchie’s long distant relationship showed me how lucky I was to have her around. It worked. I would soon start to wonder if it was really a lie. I was starting to have deeper feeling for her and even opened up.
I told her about past relationships. I did not give her enough details. The one relationship I never told her about was Angela. It was not really a relationship being we were never official. I wanted to keep that part of my past only to myself. It was dying but it was a happy time.
As the months went by I started to feel more comfortable that I could actually marry Rosa and be happy. My feeling for her was growing stronger. It was a type of love that I cannot explain. It was time to get engaged. I had to declare it to someone to get an idea of how it would be received.
I came home one evening and sat beside Sue in the living room.
“Sue, I am going to ask Rosa to marry me”.
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