The Reality, by Rich Paschall
When George made his visit to South America to meet the handsome young man, Jon noticed their large age difference. He decided it did not matter if George would help him. After all, this could be a way out of his situation in the poor suburb of the large South American city. So late each night he would steal the WiFi signal from a neighbor in the apartment next door and talk with George. This way he kept him close to his heart.
Jon was tired of being poor. He was sad he could not buy nice clothes and jewelry. He was unhappy with his dismal living conditions. He was heartbroken he could not help his mother with her expenses. He just wanted to get out.
Since his time in an acrobatic troupe did not result in much money, Jon took one job, then another. Nothing satisfied him as he always worked long hours for little money. He could not spend much time at the gym. He could not enjoy the nightlife of the nearby city.
“Help me, George,” Jon pleaded one night. “I want to keep going to the gym. I want to have enough food to eat. Please send me a little money.” Jon’s stories may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but he was certainly very poor. He was determined to tell George whatever seemed to convince him to send some money.
“OK, Jon. I will send you something on payday. Do not worry.” The periodic investment in the handsome Hispanic man seemed to bind them together, as least George thought so.
Jon also thought they were bound together, not just by a few US Dollars, but also by his constant declarations of friendship and love.
When a few months had passed since George’s impulsive visit, Jon wondered if the time was right to push his plan further along. One warm night, Jon stood on the roof of his building and looked down on the poor buildings below, with their cheap block constructions, and old metal roofs. It was a depressing site.
The bright lights of the city in the distance were a reminder he had not achieved his goal. He could wait no longer. This was the night for action. He called George.
“We should get married, George,” Jon declared with confidence.
“What?” George said in a surprised voice that shook Jon a little.
“You should come here to marry me and we can live together in America.” Jon waited for a reply, but there was nothing for a long minute. Then George said Jon only wanted a way to come to America. He did not actually want George.
The response upset Jon. As he lay in bed in his tiny apartment, he decided he must not lose George now, after all the time he invested. So he spent weeks declaring his love and asking for marriage without success. George said he had no other boyfriend, so Jon did not understand why they could not be married.
When Jon felt the situation lasted too long he said to George, “You must tell me if we are boyfriends or no. If you will not marry me, I must find another boyfriend.”
The conversation that followed last a long time, and after Jon insisted over and over he would be a good roommate and stay “as long as God wills,” George finally agreed.
Jon immediately researched what they needed to do to get married. George gathered the documents Jon requested and sent them express. The papers were filed and the waiting game began. Almost the entire summer went by before Jon got the marriage license.
George came as promised. The wedding was held with only one friend of Jon’s in attendance to take pictures, and a translator for George to know what was happening. When the ceremony was done, George, Jon and his friend Vanessa all went into the city to celebrate. After just two married nights together, George was gone.
The long process of getting a visa began. Jon could not believe the complexity of the procedure or the number of documents he had to send to George.
“I have to get certified translations into English, Jon. Then I will submit all. You must be patient.” It was hard to be patient, but George sent a little money every month and Jon could buy the food he wanted.
When the process had gone from Immigration, to the State Department, to the American embassy in Jon’s country, the nervous young man met with his good friend, Vanessa.
Jon told her everything that had transpired and they seemed to be getting near a decision.
“And you will leave here to go to this strange place you have told to me?” Vanessa said.
“Yes, of course,” Jon said. He could see the disappointment in Vanessa’s eyes. He could not tell if this was because he might leave his close friend or because he would leave his country for a foreign land.
“Are you crazy? You are with him only a few days and for that you would leave us?” she asked.
“But we are working on this for a year now. It will be my chance for a better life,” Jon said, but Vanessa replied with a look of doubt. After a short silence, she asked the important question.
“Do you think you will stay with this gringo once you get to America and meet other people?”
Jon’s eyes narrowed as he gave the matter serious thought. He placed his right hand over his mouth and rubbed the left side of his face with his fingertips. After almost a minute, he removed the hand from his face, smiled a little and said, “No. Of course not.”
Then Vanessa laughed, but only a little.