The taste of her lips was something I would not forget. It was a kiss that would replay in a continuous loop. It happened on our way back from lunch in the parking lot of a restaurant. It was not awkward. We looked in to each others eyes and we knew. It was long and passionate. As our tongues met there was electricity running through my body. There was a feeling of “acceleration” I have never felt before. It felt right. It was meant to be. It was the perfect fit. I wanted the kiss to last forever.
We both pulled back at the same time. We were staring in each others eyes. I wanted more. She wanted more but it would not go any further. I think we both realized that we had crossed the line. We drove back to the building in silence. She got out and waved goodbye. No words were spoken.
How did it get to this point? Let me backtrack.
Angela and I had continued our conversations in the lobby. It was almost 9 months since our reconnection. I think we both restrained ourselves even though we knew there were strong feelings. She was not going to break her marriage vows. I was not willing to do anything to mess up my relationship with Rosa. I loved her in a special way and wanted my green card.
Then one day Angela came to work elated. She had some news that she wanted to share with me. She did not want to tell me in the lobby. I suggested we do lunch in the cafeteria in the building. We would be out in the open and she would not have to worry about us seeming secretive.
To my surprise she agreed.
We met for lunch and she told me the news.
“I received a letter that my green card will be processed in the next year”
I was a bit surprised at this. She had been married for years. A lot more than the 5 years it takes to get a green card through marriage.
She looked at me. I think she was expected me to be more excited that I was.
“You don’t seem that excited for me”
“I am”, I replied.
“Stop lying. I don’t think you understand why I am so excited.”
“I am, I really am” I replied. I am not sure what she wanted from me.
“You probably got your green card before you came here so you would not understand.”
Was it time to tell her about my situation? I understood exactly how she felt and probably more. But I could not let her know my situation.
I wanted to tell her so bad that I understood her situation. Why I never took the relationship to another step.
It was at this point I realized that I had to keep my eye on the ball. I had to focus. She had her situation resolved and I did not. I would probably have to go through the same thing she was going through
“Help me to understand”, I figure this was the best way to get out of what was leading to a heated discussion. It would also deflect me lying to her about the green card she assumed I had.
She looked over at me and her demeanor changed from tense to apologetic.
“I am sorry,” she replied “I should not have accused you of not understanding. I have been through so much.”
She explained that the week she was missing a few months back she went to renew her work permit. I remembered the week as I was “running around like a chicken with it’s neck cut off” wondering where she was.
She then proceeded to explain how her husband used the threat of her getting a green card to keep her from leaving him. He lied to her about filing some of the paperwork. He got her the minimal to stay in the country then filed the rest of the paperwork 2 years after the marriage. He wanted to be sure she loved him. She explained that he was always jealous of me and suspected that secretly she loved me. She explained that everyone around us could see there was something more than a friendship between us.
It was at this point she told me that she was very disappointed when she found out that I was been filed for by my Aunt and could not help her that day we met at her apartment. She apologized for the way she reacted about not falling in love with me if she knew my situation. .
I felt bad because it was all a lie. My situation was worse than what I told her.
She explained he used our friendship and her student visa expiring as an ultimatum for the marriage. It was either I chose to continue our friendship or I marry him. She explained that even though I choose not to pursuit her and she married him he was still very jealous. He called her his “Prize” like he won a contest.
She said his jealously took a toll on the relationship from the start.
He abused her psychologically telling her she was worth nothing and called her names. He mentioned my name a lot in jealous fits. She explained she never got in touch with me because of that. She also said she saw me a few times but avoided me because of him.
She explained he had mood swings. He would be the nicest sweetest person one moment and then the meanest person the next. He never hit her but the toll it took on her self-esteem was too much. She explained he wanted kids but for some reason they could not get pregnant. He accused her of being on birth control but she was not. She told him to go to the doctor to check himself out but he refused to. This was also another bad point in their relationship. He wanted sex daily to prove that he could get her pregnant. She also said she was sure he had a few affairs. She said the relationship has gotten progressively worse through the years and she was going through the motions. She stayed because she still had feeling for him but she also wanted to get her green card. She blamed herself for how much of her life she let him control and take away. She was thinking of leaving him once everything was completed but she was not sure how to do it. She sounded like the typically abused women I saw on Oprah where they had strong feeling for their abuser but wanted to leave the situation. She just did not know how.
She opened Pandora’s box to me that day.
I felt guilty that she shared so much from her heart and I did not. However I got an opportunity to help her by listening and boosting her spirit.
The look on her face after lunch was one of relief. She had a smile on her face.
She leaned over as she left the cafeteria and whispered.
“A weight has been lifted off my back. Thanks”
“No problem” I replied
As she walked away she whispered again saying, “Our marriage would have been for love”.
I smiled. She was right. I loved her and still do.
I watched her walk out the cafeteria with a new confidence.
I had a lot to process that day. I kept replaying that day at her apartment in my mind when we broke up. I felt really bad that I put her in the situation to marry someone who would do that to her, however there was nothing I could have done. If I had told her my real situation I am not sure how she would have reacted. I am not sure love would have been enough for us to get married and move to either Jamaica or Trinidad. I was not willing to go back to Jamaica to live and I did not know anything about Trinidad. We could have both stayed in the US but we would live a life where there is no chance of getting a green card. We would be hopeless and if we had children they could not file for us.
I also started to reflect on my situation. I was in a better situation that she was. Rosa and I had a good relationship. I don’t think she would be as vindictive and hold up the proceedings.
There was also a new scenario that briefly crossed my mind. Would I be willing to break up with Rosa and marry Angela once she has her green card. It was a viable option but my wedding would happen before she got her green card. I put the thought out of my head quickly. Rosa and I were going through a rough patch right now with me barely seeing her. She was busy with her residency. I kept telling myself it would get better even though I had a feeling my relationship with Angela was about to take a new twist.
The first lunch “date” led to a second one in the cafeteria. I think she felt it was a safe place where “he” could not get to her.
Angela was open with me telling me everything. She had a new freedom knowing that her green card was on it’s way.
We were now having lunch once a week in the cafeteria. Our conversations were engrossing. I loved Roti and she knew how to make it. She would bring a few for me each week.
The emotional bond would deepen as we shared more about each other at these lunches. I even started to make up stuff about my “green card” situation with my Aunt so as to relate to her situation. I told her about Rosa. She did not ask me if I loved her. She did not ask any questions about her. I think she knew there was something but no major threat to her. She asked about my past girlfriends and what they were like. We spoke about everything but our feelings for each other. It was there but we walked around it or joked about it.
We tried our best not to look too much like office lovers but I am sure people must be thinking something is going on.
We agreed to go off-site for lunch. She always wanted to try some Jamaican food and there was a Jamaican restaurant nearby. We agreed if we go offsite I would pick her up and drop her off at one of the office building that was close by our building. I think she was afraid her husband was watching.
We had a great time at the lunch. When we got in the car and sat something happened. No words were spoken as we moved closer to each other and kissed.
I still can’t believe it happened. There was no going back.
What was an emotional affair just became a physical affair. When it was an emotional “affair” I tried to justify it by putting some of the blame on Rosa. I felt neglected and ignored. I was competing against school. None of this was a legitimate excuse. But I needed something to justify my actions for wanting to see Angela more. Now that this kiss has made it a physical affair I had no more justification. Even though there was no sex this was a fully blown affair. She was married but I always felt she was mine.
The next day I waited for Angela. She did not show up.
She was absent from work. I could not call her. She did not tell me she would be missing. It had to be the kiss.
I was frantic for the time she was absent. I felt a part of me was missing. I was on edge that week and everyone knew it. My staff knew it. I was extremely aggressive with them. To make matters worse they did not meet the goals we had set for the week. Everyone at work was avoiding me.
Rosa knew something was wrong within 2 days of me not seeing Angela. I am surprised she noticed being that she was so busy. It had to be obvious for her to notice. I think I had been pretty good about hiding my feelings until now. We were discussing some wedding plans when she mentioned it.
“What wrong baby? You seem a little distant this week.”
“It’s work. There is a lot going on there”, I replied.
“What happened” she pressed
“We missed our quota this week. There is just a lot of pressure. I will be fine.” I replied hoping she would stop pressing.
“You sure it is nothing more”
“I am sure mama” I was trying to sweet talk her.
“Okay. It just seem like your mind is else where” then she continued “maybe you have found another girl to marry since I am hardly around” She was laughing but it jolted me. Was it that obvious?
I replied quickly jokingly.
“Yes, I found a new girl that looks just like you” I had a big smile across my face. I grabbed her hands and squeezed it.
“You are so funny” she replied.
“I really appreciate your concern for me honey” I replied “it makes me feel so much better”.
I did not take the conversation lightly. Women tend to have an intuition that in most cases are right. What am I doing wrong to have her make a joke like this? There is no sign that I am having an affair, even though it is just mainly emotional. Has the “kiss” changed me and my demeanor that much?
I normally don’t call Rosa at work but I did the next day. We talked a little and before she had to do her rounds. She was really surprised I called. She always complained I never called her at work so she was surprised.
I bought some roses from a vendor on the road to leave at her apartment. It was then I caught myself. I realized I was overcompensating with Rosa because of my guilt. If I continued she would suspect something. It was too late however. I took the roses up to my apartment and Sue noticed.
“Oooh, how sweet,. You bought flowers for Rosa?” she asked.
“Yes. I was to take them over to her but I think she is working late tonight”
“She always works late”, she said it with a condescending tone as if I did not know.
I knew but I was lying. It was a bad mistake. Sue and Rosa were getting close again as the wedding date drew nearer. I am sure she would be hearing about this.
“Put them in a vase for me. Brighten up the place a little bit since no one really cleans around here”, I was taking a shot at her.
The phone rung at 1:00 am the next morning. I was just getting into “second” gear of my sleep. It was Rosa.
“Why are you paying me so much attention” she asked.
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