THE PROMISE OF LOVE

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.

South American city

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.

poor suburb

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.

return to airport

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.


Previously, in order:
I LOVE YOU (No You Don’t)
A SOUTH AMERICAN LOVE, A Romantic Player
A SOUTH AMERICAN PROPOSAL, The Deal

FIRMLY RESOLVED

Your New Year’s Resolution, by Rich Paschall

Have you given up on it yet?

You know what I mean, that New Year’s Resolution you felt you had to make.  It may have seemed like a good idea in December.  You knew you were going to eat too much and drink too much from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. You knew there would be cookies and cakes at work, at home, at Aunt Hilda’s house. You did not want to go to Aunt Hilda’s house, of course, but you were willing to eat her cookies and whatever that greenish Jello stuff was that she puts out every year.

72-Pound-cake_08

There were candy dishes everywhere too!  You swear that some of your friends and relatives only bring out the candy dishes when the holiday season comes.  And the Holiday season can be long, very long.  That means there is plenty of opportunity to eat up the candy from the time the half price Halloween candy runs out to when the after Christmas candy sales are over.  “Fie, you devil dogs, who doll out the candy as if it was health food,” you may exclaim.  These candy tempters lurk around everyone’s desk at work and around the coffee table at those awful Christmas parties.  The unfortunate also have co-workers who are actually “candy pushers,” getting you to buy the stuff so little Johnny can go to day camp or basketball camp or Camp something.

With Aunt Mary, Aunt Sherry and Aunt Scary conspiring against your waistline, you just know you should resolve to do something healthy when the attack of the gingerbread men has ended.  You look forward to January 1 with the resolve to eat well, exercise, give up whatever vices are dragging you down.  When the New Year came it was going to be all about you, and not about extra helpings of Aunt Bertie’s Sweet Potato Casserole.  You know, it’s the one with the Praline topping you can not get enough of.  “Besides, aren’t sweet potatoes good for you?” the conspirators may ask.

If all that spinach dip, taco dip and cheese dip don’t drive you to a resolution, perhaps all that alcohol will.  In addition to whatever your favorite beverage may be, there’s eggnog and glogg (or gluhwein, depending on your relative’s background), white wine, red wine, pink wine, and champagne.  There are specialty concoctions someone found in a recipe book or online.  If you make it to the Wild West Sports Bar or some similar place, someone will probably buy you a shot of something you would never order for yourself.

Party!

If you are in the hangover den on New Year’s Day, you would certainly have resolutions on your mind.  Some of those may start with “please god” and end with “never again.”  Those are the types of resolutions that fall to the wayside first.  You may be dead serious when you make the pledges on January 1, but you are perfectly willing to forget about them on the following weekend.

So what was it?  Were you going to lose weight?  Many people adopt this promise and some even join some weight loss group to help them out.  They may get inspirational speeches and coaching.  They may order health food from the organization, spending a lot more than if they went to the health food store and bought it themselves.  Soon some chocolate mousse will cross your path, calling out your name and you will cave in to the thing you never meant to give up anyway.  I knew a woman who spent a lot of money on health food and healthy shakes from a club.  They were so unsatisfying that she also spent a lot of money on junk food “snacks” to get her through to the next “healthy” meal.

If you were going to give up alcohol for January or until St. Patrick’s day or some other lofty goal, you may soon find the birthday party, sporting event, or post season work party to cancel that idea right out of your brain.  If you were encouraged to make such a resolution based on how you felt when you finally dragged yourself from the bed to the sofa on January 1, then it will probably go away soon anyway.  Those resolutions are made in the heat of the battle and forgotten when the fight is over.

Since all that partying does not qualify as exercise, you may have decided you need to work out.  Trust me, if you were not doing much physical activity prior to January 1, the turn of the calendar may not be enough of a push to get into shape.  Many work too hard at it in the first week, causing all those unused muscles to ache.  That in turn leads you to the feeling that you must lay your poor body down.  If your tough work out leads you to a night out because you “deserve it” after all your hard work at the health club, you may be on the road to blowing two resolutions at once.

So, are they history yet?  After all it will be two weeks into the New Year and a lot of life has gotten in the way to pull you off course.  If your resolution was to stop some vice like smoking, gambling, watching porn or something I would rather not know about, it is like the other resolutions.  You did not need a specific calendar date to give them up and you will not succeed unless you are firmly resolved.