Donesha’s wedding was one of the most interesting I had ever attended. I did not attend a lot of weddings while growing up in Jamaica. I remember them saying wedding are for “big people”. However the ones I attending or saw on TV was nothing like this.
Donesaha wanted the wedding to be authentic and insisted to her “boyfriend”, Craig, that they do it Guyanese Indian style. This meant it was going to be a Hindu wedding. At first he protested but eventually he agreed. He had no choice as he was getting paid for this business marriage. Donesha’s goal was to stage the most authentic looking wedding possible for U.S. immigration.
I was no longer walking Donesaha down the isle. She found someone else to do it and they were East Indian like her. She found a whole family of distance relatives that lived in South Miami. They were happy to be apart of here wedding and one her cousins agree to be her stand in father. The pictures she would show U.S. immigration would look more authentic if there were more East Indians in the frames.
Donesha was excited as we got closer to the wedding. She mentioned that the typical Hindu wedding was a 3-4 day event. She was cramming it into a day.
One of the challenges for me was how to how to dress for the wedding. Donesha told me most of her cousins would be wearing a kurta suit which is a traditional dress for Indians. The women would be wearing saris. She told me to wear a kurta shirt with a nice pant. She also told me to wear a colorful kurta but stay away from black, white or red. I found a place at the Opa Locka Hialeah flea market that sold kurtas. I bought a light green one that was nicely embroidered around the collar and sleeves.
I arrived at the wedding alone. I had gone on a few dates recently but nothing serious. I also felt that if I asked a girl to a wedding she would think I wanted a relationship.
Steven was in Atlanta for that weekend. He met a black American girl last Memorial weekend. That weekend was a time when black people from around US came to Miami to celebrate the 3-day weekend. It was strange the Steven started dating a black girl as he always dated other races. Jadah was beautiful. She had long black hair and a nice coco butter complexion. He made a point to tell me she was not wearing a hair weave as she has Indian Cherokee blood in her family. She was still in college. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta. I remember the school because it was on the Cosby Show.
Steven was not the same since he met her. I remember the week he met her how he talked about having the best sex ever. He did not mention who the girl was but just how good it was and he had only a week to enjoy it. The following week the changes started to happen. He told me he now had a girlfriend. He was not out clubbing like he used to and did not flirt with the women in the store. He did not want to admit it but he was in love with her. I teased him and told him she had him “whipped”.
From the start Steven was not interested in the wedding as he and Donesha never “got along”. He had screamed at her the first week she started working there. She had him go into the stock room to look for a product he thought was out of stock. He was convinced there was none left but she insisted and said it would make the customer happy. He went back to the stock room and found one. She was right and he hated that. From that day he disliked him. She invited him to the wedding only out of courtesy. She wanted co-workers there to give it more legitimacy for US Immigration.
The wedding was at a home with a big back yard in Miami Lakes. The home was owned by a Martha, a lady Donesha met at the store. Donesha was one of the friendliest cashiers and made friends easily. Marsha liked her and was very interested in East Indian culture. I think she was more excited about the wedding than Donesha.
As I pulled up to the house, I could see the big tent in the back yard. The ceremony was getting ready to start. I was assigned to a table with a few of my fellow employees including the store manager.
Donesha was wearing a red sari and was given away by one of her new found distant cousins. I could see her hennaed hands as she approached the alter where craig was. She was on his left. she told me once they complete the late rite of the wedding ceremony she will move to his right side. There were 7 rites that were apart of a Hindu wedding. we were in for a long afternoon.
As I watched the ceremony I could not help but look back at the past few months when Donesha was having second thoughts about the wedding. I became Donesha’s relationship and immigration advisor.
A young East Indian pharmacist, named Rasheed, started to work at our location. He had a strange background. He was born in Uganda in the 1970’s when dictator Idi Amin ruled the country. His family fled to America as Idi Amin put policies in place to “push out“ people of East Indian and Asian descent. Donesha liked him and he seemed to like her. I was the only one that knew she was getting married in a few months. She did not tell Rasheed. They flirted at work. You could see they had some chemistry together.
On our rides from work she would talk about him. She had fallen deeply in love with Rasheed and considered pursuing a relationship with him. She would lose the money she already paid her fiancé , Criag.
She was not sure how Rasheed felt about her. She knew he liked her but did he love her enough to marry her.
She kept saying “He is the perfect guy for me”
She mentioned her family in Guyana would love him. She was still hurt by her parents not being there.
One of the other barriers to any relationship between them was that his family has already “picked” bride from India for him to marry. She wanted to tell him her secret but I told her not to.
I told her she had to weigh what was important to her right now. She had come this far with her plans I wondered if she would give it up. Would she take a chance on love or get married to secure her future?
They continued to flirt at work. He started to pick her up from work.
Then after a few weeks it stopped. They did not speak to each other anymore. I did not have to ask what happened. Donesha poured out her heart to me.
“I told him I loved him”,
“What did he say?”, I asked.
“He said he loved me too” she replied. She continued “I asked him if he would marry me to get my green card”
She paused. She started to cry.
“He told me he could not right now because his parents had an arranged marriage planned for him. He need time to break this arrangement”
“He asked me to wait and I told him I could not” she was still crying.
She explained that it takes years to break these arrangements and his family may never speak to him again. She could not live with him being alienated from his family.
“I really loved him”.
We never spoke about Rasheed again.
As I watched the final rite of the wedding and Donesha on the right of her new husband Craig I wondered if I gave her the right advice. Was a green card more important than love?