Do. I Do.
My friends refer to me as Montreal's very own Elizabeth Taylor.
But for the purpose of this story, you can call me Alien Number
7005634. I think marriage is a mirage. But I still partook in the
husband and wife design. To be precise, it's more like I pimped
and spat on its supposed sanctity. I was after a piece of
the American Dream and for a wallet-sized green card, hell, I was
willing to tie and untie the knot twice.
time, not only did I not walk down the aisle and collect
my honeymoon in Hawaii, I risked going straight to jail. Quite a
cheap deal, considering it only took a few fibs to the feds and
a couple of broken hearts. Yet if you ask me whether I harbor any
regrets, I'll gently lift my veil and whisper, "I do."
Because deep, deep inside I too wanted to reach happily ever after.
Not end up stripped and jaded, believing that our natural tendency
is to form a temporary pair bond, only to separate and go in search
of a new brief, tenuous attachment -- over and over.
Husband One at age 22, during a visit from Montreal to Los Angeles.
I believed that I'd stumbled upon a Mickey-and-Mallory, Natural
Born Killers kind of love. Us against the Universe -- a bond
so fatalistic, we planned on building our very own wooden caskets.
We clicked instantly. Manic, depressive with a hippie streak and
an IQ of 135 -- I fell in love with his wicked genius. He read Scientific
America, grew mushrooms in his parents' attic and worked at a hospital
on the weekends. Moles, spores, molecular structures.
He textured my initial perception of El Lay with The Doors, Hendrix
and Eucalyptus-scented drives through rolling canyons. "We're
gonna 'hold hands and watch the sun rise from the bottom of the
sea,' like Jimi says," he promised.
year and a journalism degree later, I sold my stuff, packed my old
way of life and headed west to be with him. It was California or
bust, baby. But once in the U.S, I became an un-authorized "alien,"
banned from benefits. I couldn't get a social security number, a
driver's license, a credit card, an apartment. Let alone a career.
landing a job. Journalists, however, aren't part of the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a program that facilitates cross-border
movement for certain Canadian citizens. Meanwhile, media outlets
wouldn't hire me without proper work documents and I couldn't get
the proper visa without a company sponsoring me. I was stuck in
I proposed we get hitched -- on paper. We were planning on being
together for lifetimes; why not help me jump-start my livelihood
in Los Angeles? There was resistance. And then I reminded him that
I'd left everything I knew for him.
other brides, I didn't have to agonize over the look of invitation
cards, or make trips to Crate and Barrel to create a gift registry.
And I definitely had no time to read articles, such as "Choosing
the Right Lingerie for your Dress" or "How to Plan a Bad-Ass
Bachelorette Road Trip." Instead of church, my shotgun
ceremony unfolded in a dismal industrialized city called Norwalk,
CA at the L.A County Clerk's Office where a million marriage licenses
are doled out every year. Oh yeah, but first we stopped off at Wendy's
it was our turn, we were escorted into a florescent-lit courtroom
turned makeshift chapel. The altar was made out of Formica; a tawdry
paper bell dangled over our heads. Pitiful isn't even the word.
And yet, I still managed to tear as the Justice of the Peace recited
the vows: "Do you Husband One-To-Be take Alien Number 7005634
to be your lawfully wedded wife? To love and to care for as long
as you both shall live?"
are you doing," my husband-to-be snipped in my ear. "Are
you crying? This isn't real! Remember?"
are you doing? I asked myself that very same question by year
four. Communication had deteriorated; our relationship had rotted
into his stolid attitude and my nagging voice, begging him to ease
up on the incessant bong hits. He resented my focused ambition.
I hated his emotional vacancy; the pothead he'd become. We barely
saw one another anymore now that I had my own place. His parents
forbid him to live with me since we hadn't gotten married "in
front of the eyes of God."
my misery, I stuck around. Didn't the fable go something like, "for
better or worse, till death do us part?" I suggested we consult
a therapist, but he refused. I even purchased Give in or Give
up -- A Step-by-Step Marriage Improvement Manual from a used
bookstore for $2.75.
up. I gave up on the marriage, and I wasn't even thinking about
my Green Card. If that were the case, I would have waited till it
was nestled between my new credit cards before getting involved
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