It was sudden. It caught me totally out of the “blue”. It caught me off guard. It would catch everyone off guard it happens.
It happened 5 months before the wedding.
Rosa and I were at dinner at a Thai restaurant around the “corner” from her house.
“Do you really love me?” Rosa asked.
“Yes,” I responded quickly. I remember the last time I hesitated. It was a strange question and I was wondering where she was going with this.
“Sometimes you don’t act like you do”, she responded.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You don’t include me in any decisions in your life”.
She was right. I was so used to keeping secrets and making my own decisions. It was part of how I lived as an illegal alien. All my decisions were based on my situation. I think I also changed when Rosa was studying. I also was used to her not being around and doing things on my own without consulting her.
“I am trying”, I replied
You have been saying that for the past 2 years. We have had this discussion over and over again. Each time nothing changed.
I was silent. Then she brought up Amy. It became clear that this was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.
I was silent. There is nothing I could say to assure her that I would make decisions without including her.
Then came the shocker.
“I think we should call the wedding off. I need some time to think about things”, Rosa was staring down.
I almost fell off my chair. I wanted to scream to her ,”Are you crazy?” but could not.
“Baby, what do you mean? We have 5 months before the wedding. What do you need to think about?” I asked.
“I need to know if I can live with you keeping things away from me and making decisions on your own.”
It was time to see if the “illegal alien” guilt would work.
“Mama, you know how it has been since I have no papers. I tend to keep things inside. Once I get my papers I know I will be different and …” I knew I said the wrong thing the words came out my mouth. The look on Rosa’s face said it all too. It was the dumbest thing to say at this time.
“Are you saying you will trust me when you get the green card?” Rosa asked.
The way she asked the question made it seem like I was marrying her just for the green card.
I wish I could take my words back, but I could not.
I did not want to make the situation worse so I kept quiet.
“Don’t you have anything to say?”, Rosa asked.
“ You know I love you and I am trying my hardest. We don’t need to call off the wedding. Can we talk about this? How about taking a few days off to think about this”, I was pleading with her.
“We need to call off the wedding. I want to go to the Dominican Republic for a few days to talk to my parents.”
Here she was making a decision without me while accusing me of the same thing. The difference was I could not say anything. I needed her more than she needed me.
“If we are going to postpone then why not just call your parents.”
“I need time to clear my head away from here”, Rosa stated.
She was going away, knowing I could not travel with her. She was in control again.
I knew if she walked out that restaurant and went to the Dominican Republic the relationship was over.
I was going to pull all the stops to prevent this.
“We have been together for too long and overcame a lot. Can you please give it a week and let’s talk about this situation”, I was practically begging.
She looked up at me.
I stared her in the eyes.
“Please” I begged.
She was silent. She sipped on some water.
“Okay, let me think about it this week”
I was feeling some relief.
I left Rosa in the restaurant and got into my car. I wanted to hear some music to get my mind off our discussion. That did not help. It seems the songs that were playing were for me. The song playing was by Phil Collins – Take A Look At Me ….
How can I just let you walk away,
Just let you leave without a trace,
When I’m standing taking every breath,
With you, ooohhh,
You’re the only one who really knew me,
How can you just walk away from me,
When all I can do is watch you leave,
Cause we shared the laughter and the pain,
And even shared the tears,
You’re the only one who really knew me at all.
So take a look at me now,
There’s just an empty space,
There’s nothing left here to remind me,
Just the memory of your face,
So take a look at me now,
Coz there’s just an empty space,
And you’re coming back to me it’s against the odds,
And that’s what I’ve got to face.
The next day my mother called. We were now speaking again after the “sister revelation”. I think the excitement of the wedding almost being a few months away was the reason she reached out to me to mend our relations. Our conversation started with me asking about my father. He was improving and a full recovery was expected.
As usual she wanted to know how our wedding plans were coming along. I could not say anything about my discussion with Rosa yesterday. I had to pretend that the wedding was still on and things were fine.
“Everything is going fine” I replied. I was trying to sound normal.
“Great, we can’t wait to be there. Rosa is going to be my favorite daughter” she joked.
I laughed along with her. It would break her heart if there was no wedding.
It was going to be hard to focus the rest of the week. I was not sure how I was going to get through the next few days. I asked myself “what I could do to convince Rosa that we needed to get married?”
I answered my own question. There is nothing I could do.
I was helpless and had no control of the situation. All my dreams of getting a green card were becoming a nightmare. This was supposed to be easy. I loved her and she loved me. Why is this happening to me?
The week break seemed like a year. It was one of the worse weeks of my life. Not only was a dealing with the Rosa situation in my personal life but there was pressure at work. I was working late every day. At first I thought that would help to get my mind off things but it did not. Thoughts of Rosa consumed my mind. A green card was also my “ticket” to getting a better job in the future.
I came home every day and went to my room. I was hardly eating. I did not go to the club that week.
Sue realized something was wrong after 3 days. She had cooked stew peas that day and I did not touch it. It was my favorite dish.
“What’s going on?” she asked
“Nothing, just working hard”, I replied.
“You are lying. I know you well enough to know that something is wrong” she replied.
She was right. Living with her had its disadvantages and this was one of them. She knew my routines and my habits.
Then it hit me. I had an opportunity to get a word to Rosa through Sue.
“Rosa, wants to call of the wedding. I think she wants to break up”, I let it all out. It felt good to “release” what I was feeling inside.
Sue’s face went blank. It was like she had seen a ghost. She was silent and getting paler. I thought she was going to faint.
“Are you okay, you are getting pale” I asked her.
“I am okay”, she replied. She still looked pale.
“Let me get you a glass of water”
I went to the kitchen got her a cold glass of water.
She took a sip and came back to life.
“What did you do to to her?”, Sue asked.
As usual I was to blame. Sue and my mother loved Rosa so much that I usually got the blame if something was wrong. She could do no wrong in their eyes.
“Nothing” I replied in a defensive tone.
“It can’t be nothing if she is calling the wedding off with just 5 months to go”
“It’s nothing” I was getting more defense.
“You are a liar. As a little girl everyone woman dreams of their day . Just the pressure alone would not a woman from calling off a wedding unless it is something serious. You guys have been together over 5 years now. Something serious must have happened and you are not telling me.” Sue was staring me in the face looking for a reaction.
I was silent.
“I spoke to Rosa 2 days ago and she never indicated anything was going on. It has to be very serious for her to keep it away from me”,
Sue was right. They were very close. I knew they talked weekly. It would have to be very serious for Rosa to keep it away from her.
I gave in.
“Rosa told me that I keep secrets from her and I don’t include her in my decisions making. “
“Is that true?,” Sue asked.
“No, it’s not true” I replied. It was strange talking to my sister about my personal relationship.
“Then why would she say that” she asked.
“I don’t know?”, I replied.
“I am going to call her now and find out what‘s going on?” Sue replied.
I was not expecting these types of questions and this response. What I wanted was for her to call Rosa and tell her she was crazy for thinking of calling the wedding off. It seemed like Sue was trying to solve the problem. I did not believe there was a problem.
She went to her room to make the call. I followed her not realizing it.
“Can I have some privacy please”, she asked.
“Ohhh sure” I replied.
A few minutes later she came out.
“She is not picking up the phone” Sue announced.
“Are you going to try again?” I asked hoping that Sue would eventually get her and talk some sense into Rosa.
For the next few days Sue kept trying to call Rosa but did not get any responses.
She gave up trying to reach her as it became obvious she wanted to be left alone.
Rosa kept her word and after a week she called.
“I thought about things. Can you meet?” she asked.
It was my club night but this was more important. This was my life.
“Sure.” I replied.
We agreed to meet at the same Thai restaurant within walking distant from her home.
I was not sure what to expect but I was determined to make my case on why we should be married.
I dressed in clothes she liked. I put on a shirt she bought at the mall that I did not really like. I put on her favorite cologne. I got a haircut. I shaved. I felt like I was going on a first date.
I arrived early and waited at the front.
Rosa arrived 10 minutes later. She was dressed modestly.
It was awkward. I tried to kiss her but she maneuvered to a hug. At that point I figured what she had decided.
We went in and found seats in the restaurant. We talked about work and mundane stuff like acquaintances. I wanted to get to the point but I felt as if I was auditioning for a second chance.
We ordered and ate in silence.
The suspense was killing me. I was hoping she was not going to call things off. I was watching her eyes to see if there were any signs. She avoided any direct eye contact with me.
As soon as she had finished her dinner she looked up at me. She was staring directly in my eyes.
“I am calling it off. We need a break.”
Tears were rolling down her face.
It was not what I wanted to hear.
I was not sure how to react. I wanted to ask why. I wanted to release some of the “pressure” I was under waiting these last few days.
My response shocked me.
“I understand. I did some self evaluation this week and realize I kept alot of things away from you. I am going to try and do better.”
I was desperate and was not going to let years of investment in the relationship go to waste. We could continue the relationship even if the wedding is off.
Rosa picked up on this.
“We need a break from the relationship. Let’s be friends.”
The “lets be friend” is the sure sign that we were breaking up. In my mind I was thinking. Why did she invite me to dinner to do this? It would have been easier on the phone.
I think she read my mind.
“It was a difficult decision. I was going to write you a letter but felt. I owed you this face to face.”
Was I to say thank you? I asked myself.
She started to cry more.
My first instincts were to reach over and hold her hands. Assure her it was okay. The problem is it was not. When a woman says lets be friends it is the kiss of death. There is no going back from lovers to friends.
She continued to cry.
Was I to leave now? It would look cold. Other people in the restaurant noticed it. Rosa realized it too.
I took her hand and held it.
She did not pull back.
“I’ll walk you home”
She did not protest.
I walked her right to her door. She fumbled for her keys and opened the door.
I was not sure what to say
I moved forward to hug her. We embraced and then I don’t remember what happened next. The only thing I remember is waking up with Rosa next to me in her bedroom.
It was not a dream.
“We are back together” I thought with a big grin on my face as she snuggled on my chest.