The handcuffs were tight and as I moved they felt like they would cut through my skin. I wiggled to get comfortable. I knew I should now have gone down to the immigration office. It felt like a set up but the thought of getting a USA passport was too good to pass up. I had gotten a fake birth certificate and applied for a passport. They sent a letter for me to come down to the office and pick it up. When I got there something did not feel right. I went to the front desk and gave my name. The receptionist told me to sit down. The lobby was empty. I should have realized that something was happening. She got on the phone and within minutes I was in handcuffs riding in a van. We drove for approximately 25 minutes. I was watching my watch as I wriggle in the handcuffs.
The guards took me out the van and walked me in a tall building with dark corridors. As I walked down the corridors I realized I was in a jail. I could see the other men in the cells. The smell was horrendous. We came to a cell door and stopped. The doors opened…
Then I woke up. My clothes wet from sweating it felt so real. I looked over at the clock. It was 3.00 am in the morning. I went to the kitchen for glass of water. I went back to bed and tried to go back to sleep. I could not.
For the past 2 months I have been having different “immigration nightmares” with the same theme; me being caught as an illegal alien. It started when I got a phone call from a distant cousin looking for money to post bail for immigration fraud. His story affected me for days. I started to internalize his situation and it came out in my dreams. I was losing sleep.
There was no one I could talk to about my nightmare. Sue and I had a strained relationship since the “incident”. Also she seemed to be having her own problems in her long distance relationship with Ritchie. I could not talk to Rosa as it would seem that I am trying to pressure her to marry me.
What amazed me about these dreams were that they continued. I remember as a child always wanting to continue a really good dream when I go back to sleep. It never happened. These dreams seem to continue when I go to bed at night. I wanted to get them out of my head.
It all started when my mother came to Miami for my graduation. She contacted her cousin Sandra, who came over to the apartment with her son, Ralston. They were both here illegally. I remember visiting them in the country, in Jamaica, when I was younger. How we are related is complicated. Sandra is my Grand Aunt’s (my mothers Aunt) daughter. She is my mother’s cousin.
Ralston and I hit it off. We both were into cars and dancehall music. When they were leaving my cousins said we must stay in touch. We probably were never going to see each other again until another family member visitor. In the USA people are busy and constantly on the move.
My mother gave us the speech that we are family and that we live in Miami so we need to stay in touch. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to stay in touch even when my mother left. I took it with a grain of salt.
“These are my cousins so they are also your cousins. They are family” I remember my mother saying that night.
Two months later my “cousins” called looking to borrow money to bail Ralston from jail. She had him on a 3 way with me. I sent her $50. He was released with restrictions but there were now 2 cases pending against him. One was criminal for fraud and one was a deportation hearing. Ralston had a good job and was never in trouble before. Because of this the judge gave him bail; however, he had a trail date. He contemplated going to another state but he had too many ties. They had a house and his mother was not working.
The trial did not go well. The criminal fraud charges were dropped but he lost the deportation case. They did not let him go home as in many deportation hearing. He was taken to Krome, an immigration detention center. Within a month he was deported. I felt really bad for him and wondered if this would be my fate.
I found someone who I could talk to. Her name was Tami and we worked together at BJ’s wholesaleFlorida Atlantic University. She had a great personality and was fun to be around. She was an international student but had permission to work off campus. club. She was Jamaican and attended Campion like I did. I vaguely remember her as she was 3 forms below me. She started working at the store a year ago and we developed a casual friendship. She worked part-time as she attended
She saw that something was wrong with me and inquired.
“What wrong?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“You are not your happy jovial self”, she pressed.
I took a chance and started talking to her. I was not specific but told her it was woman problems. I told her that women don’t seem to know what they want. She listened intently and nodded in agreement with me. I was vague but told her enough so she knew I was having issues with my girlfriend. She gave me no advice that day. I was a little disappointed but the next few weeks we continued to talk. She was studying psychology and soon began to give me little “snippets” of advice. It was great.
I talked to her about my mother and how she wanted to marry me off. Again I was vague but it helped me to relieve some of the pressure I had been feeling. The 3 weeks my mother stayed she constantly reminded me on how I blew it with Rosa. She and Rosa were like mother and daughter. I was hoping it would soften Rosa to start mentioning marriage again. It did not.
Tami was great as friend. Sometime you don’t tell your problems but listen to someone else. That is what she did.
One evening she needed a ride home because her Aunt was late. I took her home and we talked.
“Who is that?” she asked
I had a picture of Rosa on a chain that hung on my rear view mirror.
“My girl friend,” I replied.
“Oh! She is very pretty” she replied.
It is good to hear your girlfriend is pretty from another girl. I find some women have a hard time compliment another woman. They are normally criticizing them for something.
“Is she the one you were talking about not knowing what she wants” she asked.
I was a little hesitant with my answer. It was nice talking to Tami about Rosa when she was faceless. I was also vague. Now that she knows what Rosa looks like it felt very personal.
“Yuh ask too much questions” I responded with a smile.
“Do you love her?” she asked.
It was a strange question that caught me off guard. For some reason I paused.
“Sure…Yes,” I replied. I realized that it did not sound convincing.
“Yes I do love her,” I needed to make it a firm statement and not give the impression I was wavering. I did not want anything to mess with my plans to marry Rosa.
“Okay. The reason I asked is you never mentioned her by name and she is such a pretty girl”
“Why are you interrogating me?” I was getting defensive.
“Turn there” she stated “the house is the second one on the right”
Perfect timing, I thought to myself. The conversation was getting uncomfortable.
The walk way to the house she lived in was dark so I got out the car and walked her to the door. I really did not want to do that but I remember mother telling me to treat a lady like a queen no matter who it is.
When she got to the door she turned and hugged me and whispered “Thanks”
It was weird because she was positioned as a lady waiting for a kiss. Her eyes were closed and lips ready. I hugged her and quickly left.
That whole incident left me feeling awkward. I was not sure if she wanted to be more than friends. She knew I had a girlfriend so why would she “pucker” up for a kiss. Maybe I am reading too much into it. I forgot about it that day.
I soon realized that she was becoming friendlier. I did not try to stop the friendship from growing became I needed someone to talk to. What was great about the friendship was we were able to talk “patwa” and about Jamaica. I could not do this with Rosa and when I did it because frustrating as I tried to explain what it meant in English. I found myself looking forward to our “little meetings”. We seem to have breaks at the same times on the days she worked. We would sit and chat in the break room. There were also days I would go for a “run” at a near by Jamaican restaurant called Aunt I’s. It was 10 minutes away so I would pick up food and bring back. Things were going great with our friendship in my mind. I wanted nothing but that. I guess it was not clear in Tami’s mind.
It started with some slight hints and then more obvious hints. One day I was taking her home and playing some dancehall music. She started to talk about one of the songs where the DJ was “chanting” about sex. She started to talk about some of her sexual experience. It was very awkward but it was interesting so I let her continue.
I should not have done that.
Then she started to touch me more when we would meet in the break room and hugged me tighter when I dropped her home. It was obvious to some of my co workers. One mentioned, “She is in love with you”
That was the final straw.
I had to stop it even though I enjoyed the friendship, especially being that she was a fellow Jamaican. She was attractive but I was not attracted to her. I could follow Ritchie’s old motto which was sleep with ‘them’ then break their heart but I did not want to hurt her.
I have not had a lot of good “breaks” recently but one happened. It was the perfect opportunity to slow this friendship down. Being that I was not out of school I had more flexibility to work different hours. The manger wanted me on the early morning shift. I would barley see her and I would have the afternoons off. I could spend more time with Rosa. I felt like I was cheating on Rosa and have to give her more time. I started the new schedule that week. I barley saw Tami and when I did she was coming to work and I was leaving.
One day she backed me up in the lunch room with a letter.
“Please read this and call me if you feel like it”
I knew what the letter said. I a part of me wanted to read it and the other part of me did not.
At first I thought I would take it home and read it. Then I remember that I could not. Rosa was back to the routine of cooking for me before I got home. As beautiful as Rosa was she was very jealous and insecure.
I needed sometime before I read it. I had to hide it. I put it in the car under the driver’s side car mat. I would read it soon.
That night my dreams changed from immigration to Tami telling me how much she loved me. I welcome the change of dreams but would this be my new nightmare?
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