Do. I Do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
following dawn, when I returned home as a hussy, I rushed to the
know you can't pretend," my higher-self whispered.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|