Could I marry Amber? That was the question that came to my mind as I drove away from the airport. I stared at the envelope Amber gave me. It was beside me in the passenger seat. I could not wait to open it, but would do it when I got home. I was in love again. Amber was wife material. We only spent a few hours but this felt right. I could see myself with her. She was not a diva like Rosa.
I was more comfortable with her. I was also comfortable with an interracial relationship unlike when I first arrived in the US. In Miami it was now normal to see interracial couples. The one thing I would not do is move to Kentucky.
I made a decision on my way home to pursue this relationship. It would mean abstaining from sex till marriage but I figure I could handle it. I could have a “side” girlfriend for sex if I wanted to as Amber would be in Kentucky.
I was on cloud nine. I could not wait for her to come back from Jamaica to tell her I was serious about a relationship with her. I took the envelope out of the car and got the mail from my home mailbox. I put the mail and the envelope on the counter and rushed to the bathroom. I had to “pee”. I would read it when I got back from the bathroom.
I finished my “business” in the bathroom and when I got back the envelope was gone. The regular mail was still there. There was no one else in the house. I started searching. I retraced what I did when I walked into the house. I still did not find it.
Did I leave it on the car? I checked and double checked between the mail on the counter and I walked outside. I retraced my steps from the car to the mailbox to the kitchen counter to the bathroom. I did not find it. I moved things around including some furniture. Nothing. I was beside myself.
The envelope had to be somewhere in the house.
After an hour I gave up searching. I had to get to work. I got ready and left the house. I was also hoping Mr. Brown would not throw anything out until I was back. I left him a note that I was looking for an envelope.
The letter consumed my thoughts on the way to work. I kept replaying what I did in my mind hoping to trigger my memory.
“Amber would be angry with me”, I thought to myself. It was the second letter she had given me where I did not respond.
Got to work 5 minutes late because of the extra time I spend searching for the letter.
“You are glowing like a woman”, Steven teased me.
“No”, I replied.
“Are you in love or something?”, he asked.
I smiled. I was still worried about the letter but happy after spending a few amazing hours with Amber.
I began to imagine what was in the letter. It probably contained her confession about liking me and other things she did not want to say face-to-face.
The day at work seemed longer than normal. I wanted to get home and search for the letter.
Donesha was actively searching for a guy to marry so she could get her green card. She found someone. It was a fellow student at her schools. He was entering the army and would be stationed overseas. It was convenient as he would be away. This would save them from having to interact all the time. She was excited. They were friends from a class where they had a project together. She would take care of his house and dogs while he was away. She would pay him once the green card came through. The wedding was in 2 months and she wanted me to stand in for her father. She did not have any relatives that were coming to the wedding. They did not agree with the marriage. They did not know it was a “business marriage” . That was not the issue they had with the marriage. They wanted her to marry an Indian guy. This guy was black.
Even though it was a “business marriage” Donesha was hurt that her parents refused to attend.
“They are racist,” she declared. They want me to marry a “darn coolie man”.
She also wanted them to come for immigrations reasons. She needed pictures with them at the wedding to prove to immigration that it was a legitimate marriage.
“Suppose I was really in love with a black man and pressed them to come”, she vented.
I was a little surprised by the situation as I did not think the Guyanese were like that. I know in Jamaica some Indian and Chinese families would marry within their race. She mentioned that they had an expression “You can fool around with them but don’t marry them.”
I laughed to myself as it was similar to what I had heard in Jamaica. I remember this beautiful Jamaican Chinese girl that I had tried to “check” when I was at Campion. She said we could go out but she could never take me home to her parents. She was to marry a Chinese man. When I was fooling around with Sherri-Ann (http://www.jamaicans.com/culture/illegal/illegalalien13.shtml), she mentioned how girls in her family were subtly pressured to marry a Chinese man.
I remember an East Indian friend who had a relative that went through the same thing. He had a male cousin who was brought from India to Jamaica to work in her father’s tourist gift shop in Monetgo Bay. Apparently he fell in love with a Black Jamaican girl and wanted to marry her. The cousin was from a lower caste as his father had married a woman of lower caste. The uncle was upset because he was expected to redeem the family and marry a woman in a upper caste. A black Jamaican girl from a poor family was not going to suffice. It would dishonor the family. He was sent back to India.
Donesha’s ambition to complete school and get her green card was going to cause her to be estranged alienated from her family. She was sad but she was committed to doing anything to get her green card.
“You sure you want to do this,” I asked.
“There was is no turning back” she said
Her response to my question stuck in my head that night as I drove home to start a new search for the lost letter. It was inspiring. It was confirmation that it was time for me to make my own commitment. I would pursue the relationship with Amber. I would eventually ask her to marry me and have her move to Miami. At least our marriage would be built on love and not business.
It was a day before Amber was to return and I still had not found the letter. It bothered me but it was not as bad as when I first lost it. I would tell Amber I lost the letter. She would understand. I made one more attempt to find the letter when I got home from work. I was not successful so I went to bed. I would get Amber and Seth’s parents the next afternoon. I took the day off.
I woke up the next morning a little earlier than normal. I was excited to see Amber. I had breakfast and started to go through some of the bills I had to pay for the month. Out popped the envelope with letter Amber gave me.
I had looked in that pile every time I was done a search for the letter. How did I miss it? It’s like someone put it there.
I quickly opened the letter and started to read. The letter started with her telling me she liked me a lot. She explained she never felt this way about another person before. Then it took a turn for the worse. She explained that she was sick with leukemia. She did not want to put me through what she was going through this is why we could only be friends.
I was in shock. She had cancer. She did not look like it.
Then I thought to myself about her excitement to see the beach and to go to Jamaica. It seemed a bit over the top at times. Now I understood.
I had built my hopes since she left about a life with her. I was going to declare my love for her and fully pursue this relationship. There were so many emotions running through my head. Was she going to die? What type of pain is she going through. Is she doing chemotherapy? Should I still pursue Amber knowing she was going to die of cancer because I want a green card.
There were many un-answered questions in my mind. How could I now face her? I did not want to pick her up.
I went back into my room and laid on bed starting at the ceiling. I was disappointed.
I did know what happened. I fell asleep and by the time I was awake I knew I would be at least half hour late. I was scrambling to get out the house to the airport. As usual when you are in a hurry everything that can go wrong went wrong. First there was an accident that delayed me. Then every stoplight was on red.
Amber and Seth’s parent were waiting on the outside by the time I got there.
I could not look Amber in the eyes.
I kept apologizing to Seth’s parents as I put the suitcases in the car. I shook Seth dad’s hand and hugged his mother. I hugged Amber cautiously. She smelled the same. She looked the same but things were now different. She did not look sick but I felt weird.
They would be here for three days. They were going to help pack-up some of Seth’s things to ship to Jamaica. I promised to take them around while they were here.
On the drive to his condo they spoke about Jamaica and how beautiful the wedding was. They loved the Jamaican people. They spoke about how happy Seth was and how he missed having me there.
I was so preoccupied with Amber’s sickness that I barely said anything. I glanced back at Amber in my rearview mirror.
“She does not look sick”, I kept telling myself.
We got to Seth’s place quickly. I quickly unloaded their suitcases. I wanted to go.
“Can you please take me to the pharmacy?” Amber asked “ I have a headache”.
It was just like the last time when she came. She was making an excuse to spend time with me.
Seth’s parents wanted to rest and told us to go. They wanted to go to dinner at 6 o’clock. There were restaurants nearby and they asked her if she would be back in time to walk with them there. As soon as I got in the elevator Amber asked “Why are you so cold? Is it because of the letter?”
I was silent. I was still in shock.
“No no that’s not it I’m just a little tired”, I replied.
“I can see it in your eyes, you are not being truthful”, she pressed.
She was right.
We were now in the car. We started to talk and I told her I was a little surprised by what I read in the letter. The sickness caught me off guard I told her. Then she starts to explain what she was going through and how she found out she was sick.
Then she said something that put things into perspective.
“Me, being sick is not my fault I wished I had a normal life but this is God’s plan for me.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. My selfishness and plans to have a relationship with her was meaningless compared to what she was going through.
We ended at the pharmacy I worked at. I had subconsciously driven there.
“Let’s go to another pharmacy.” I stated.
“Is this where you work?” , Amber asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Let’s go in” she said.
She looked excited. Who was I to turn down her request? I wanted to keep her happy because she was sick.
We walked in and I tried not to draw any attention to myself. It worked until I got to the cash register.
Donesha was there. She was working an early extra shift that day.
“I almost did not recognize you,” Donesha said.
Then she ignored me and introduces herself to Amber.
“So you must be his girlfriend” , she bold declared.
I wanted to get out of the store fast but then she struck up a full conversation with Amber telling her how I was her best friend and was going to give her away at her wedding.
A customer came up behind us. They were ready to check out. That saved me.
When we got back in the car Amber said I was to stop treating her like she was dying
She was right.
The next few days my goal was to make the time I was with Amber the best she ever had. It was also some of the best days I had spent with anyone. Seth’s parents gave us space. They knew something was going on but they also knew Amber was sick. I sensed they wanted her to enjoy life. She told her dreams and how she feared death. She told me how much she enjoyed the time she spent with me and wished she was not sick.
On the day before Amber left we went to the beach. She wanted this to be her final view of Florida. It was here that I felt compelled to tell her my secret. She had shared her inner thoughts with me and I shared nothing.
She was not shocked. In fact she said she knew something was wrong when I did not go to the wedding. She knew about illegal aliens as there were many Mexicans working on farms in Kentucky.
She asked if I had any plans to get a green card. I told her I had none.
Then she said something that was strange but comforting.
“You are a good person. I am sure something will work out. It is God’s plan. I believe it with my heart”
She did not want me to judge her because of her sickness. She would not judge me because of my illegal alien status.
That last evening together when I took her home we stayed in the car talking. We did not want to part ways. Then it happened. She was about to leave the car. I leaned over to hug her and we kissed.
It was short and sweet. Amber looked me in the eyes and said “Thanks for the best 3 days of my life”.
It was an amazing 3 days I will never forget.
The next day when I dropped her and Seth’s family at the airport her last words to me were “When I write you letters, write back”.