FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Current Essays FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contributors FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//About FRESH YARN FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Past Essays FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Submit FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Links FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Email List FRESH YARN: The Online Salon for Personal Essays//Contact


I Do. I Do.
By Alien #7005634

I met him when I was an extra on an Enrique Iglesias music video, on some back lot at Universal Studios. I'd recently quit a job producing the online news for MSNBC (after nearly two years, I could no longer write about transients hurling wheelchairs out of sixth-story buildings, newborns in dumpsters or Sally Kirkland's leaky breasts). I opted for the life of a starving freelancer and convinced myself I was doing research on my next piece -- the glitz in being a Hollywood "Background Talent." In reality, I just wanted to get out of the house and meet people. I was tired of sobbing so violently that strands of mucus swayed precariously off my nose.

Husband Two-To-Be was a grip. He was a German/Costa Rican mix; tall, and chiseled with turtle-green eyes. Later, during our relationship, I would sometimes stare at his hands, which were too small for his body, and think of a T-Rex.

He slipped his number into my pocket. Normally, I would have tossed the digits away. But I welcomed the distraction, and stashed the note in a kitchen drawer underneath the knives.

He remarked on my butterfly spirit, an aspect of myself I'd forgotten existed. By date three, I was having a cup of Chamomile on his couch in Glendale. He traced my face with his fingers and gently played with my hair.

"You're so beautiful. You deserve to be happy." God, in retrospect, I could gag at my naivety. But I felt alive. I couldn't remember the last time Husband One paid any attention to me. He leaned in. And within that splinter of a second I knew I was to become an adulteress. Just like my mother.

My father divulged the news on a bleak September afternoon as we took a walk around the block. I was 11. He'd apparently unearthed some love letters from her to him -- The Other Man. To cement his suspicions, Dad had hired a Private Eye. I envisioned images of a trench-coated man, snapping pictures of my mother. Francois, her lover, had been her driving instructor. So technically, my father's the one who fixed them up.

"You're a vegetable. Useless. When are you going to get over your fear of driving and be like all other women," my father had told my mom. He paid for her lessons and still to this day, my mother's too afraid to drive. Who knew, I would find myself in my own rendition of an extramarital affair to understand hers.

* * *

The following dawn, when I returned home as a hussy, I rushed to the bathroom mirror.

"You know you can't pretend," my higher-self whispered.

I found myself playing out that cliché shower scene. You know, the one where the protagonist frantically scrubs her skin as though she can get rid of her sin along with dead skin. You may be squeaky clean, but inside you're still oh-so dirty.

I wanted to plead guilty. It was just a matter of mustering up the balls to do it. But Husband One -- like my dad -- stumbled upon the truth. He found my journal. A week later, he filed for divorce. A month after that, I received the date for my Green Card interview. But sans husband, I was screwed. Soon the INS would place me under "removal proceedings," and I would be forced to leave the life I'd forged in El Lay. To distract myself from my ill fate, I pedaled into yet another full-blown relationship.

"It's too soon. You're just escaping into this guy, instead of dealing with your shit," my higher self hissed at me one morning as I busted a pimple. "You're too afraid to be alone -- to feel the emptiness and disappointment. This is wrong. This Is Wrong."

I didn't listen. Instead, I poured chloroform in a tissue and forced it over her face. And then, I asked him to move in. He made me feel sexy; he called me Babydoll; he always put the seat down. And, he asked for my hand.

"No matter what happens, this marriage is strictly business -- to help you stay in the country," he swore. He wasn't Husband One. He wasn't going to cheat me out of life in America if things didn't work out. Or so I thought.

The notion of getting re-married revolted me. One-shot white dresses; vows with limited warranties; diamonds instead of forever. Marriage was a money-sucking scheme; an ancient institution, curdling like sour milk under the modern age. But a marriage certificate was the slickest and fastest road to secure my legal status as a U.S. resident.

Just one glitch -- I didn't love the groom. But it wasn't time for me to admit that to myself. Much easier to believe that I could catch up to his feelings -- like love was some sort of relay race.

"Going to the chapel and I'm gon-na get a Green Gard," I sang softly to myself as we whizzed across the Nevada desert.

PAGE 1 2 3

-friendly version for easy reading
©All material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission

home///current essays///contributors///about fresh yarn///archives///
submit///links///email list///site map///contact
© 2004-2005