The Deal, by Rich Paschall
After meeting the younger Jon on a language learning website, and seeing him for just four days in person in South America, George was surprised that Jon acted as if they were boyfriends. In fact, Jon asked George several times if he had a boyfriend in America.
“No,” George always said and Jon would smile.
“You should have no other boyfriend,” Jon would say. “We are boyfriends.”
This was astounding to George. Jon lived in South America and George, now in his 50’s, lived in a Midwestern USA city. George was all of 30 years older and felt they could not have much in common. But Jon kept reminding George of his visit the previous December and what great fun they had. This should prove their love!
Feeling rather awkward about the whole thing, George thought that perhaps he should break off the daily chat. He could not imagine where this relationship would go and the boyfriend talk just seemed wrong somehow. Jon started to add that he loved George and they should be together. Then one day Jon pushed the matter a bit further.
“We should get married, George,” Jon declared.
“What?” a stunned George said.
“You should come here to marry me and we can live together in America.”
After George collected himself, he thought about what he should say. The response was not immediately in his brain.
“You are just saying this because you want to come to America. You do not want to marry me,” George told Jon.
“No that is not true,” Jon protested. “I will be with you as long as God wills.”
So, the conversation continued in a similar manner for a few weeks. Jon would ask for marriage, and George would say “no.”
As time went on Jon seemed to be winning George over to his side, so he demanded an answer one more time. “You must tell me if we are boyfriends or no. If you will not marry me, I must find another boyfriend.”
On the one hand, George could not imagine this was a great idea; on the other, he suddenly felt he did not want to lose Jon. They did indeed have a good time together and maybe they would make good roommates. Perhaps Jon really would stay “as long as God wills.” So they reached an agreement and the deal was made.
To be married in the South American country, George had to send documents with certified Spanish translations to Jon, so he could go to the notary public, more like a Justice of the Peace there, and request permission to marry the foreigner. George waited anxiously for months to hear if their application would be accepted.
“You will come immediately when we have permission and make the marriage?” Jon asked.
“No, Jon, I must ask for time off work. I will come as soon as possible,” George assured Jon.
From April until late summer, George and Jon waited and chatted like nervous kids. Finally in August Jon sent a message that they would get married on the 15th.
“No,” the startled George replied. “I can not get there so quickly.” They decided on September 2 and the arrangements were made. George would fly to South America again.
On the first day of the trip, George took Jon shopping for clothes and rings for the wedding. On the next day, they got married and on the third day, they explored the neighborhood around their hotel. George headed home on the fourth day.
Upon his return, George and Jon started the long process to get a spouse visa. They were surprised to learn that after the long and expensive process, there were no guarantees Jon would actually get the visa.
Many documents for Immigration and then for the State Department were required. After that, documents had to be presented to the embassy in South America. Speed was not the government’s way.
After the marriage was done and the process for immigration was well underway, George finally decided to tell someone about it. So he called on his friend Arthur to meet him at the local bar and grill.
As George detailed the story, Arthur sat quietly with the most incredulous look on his face. When George was finally done with his story, Arthur shook his head and said, “Are you crazy?”
“Well, maybe” George replied rather sheepishly.
“Why didn’t you tell me about this before you ran down there and got married, especially since you were waiting for months to get permission?” Arthur asked.
“Because you would have told me then I was crazy and I shouldn’t do it.”
“You’re right, that’s exactly what I would have said.” Arthur blurted out with a tone somewhere between firmness and annoyance. He kept shaking his head and looking at George as if he had done the dumbest thing in his fifty-something years.
“We discussed the matter at length. He will help me and be a good roommate. We have a deal.”
“A deal?” Arthur asked.
“Yeah, isn’t marriage really a deal between two people about friendship and living together?” George asked as if he wasn’t too sure.
Arthur had a doubting look that George understood. Then he asked George, “Don’t you think this young man is going to leave you once he gets to America and meets other people?”
George’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 Arthur laughed, but only a little.