Sunday, November 13, 2011

My "truly wise" decision to move to Mexico, back in the day...

         I met Ricardo and we hit it off right away. Our eye contact took precedence over words and body language became our main form of communication. Call it what you like, but we were happy with each other.
        The ladies at my job in the big booming business of the third party administrator work comp insurance company were hesitant to congratulate me on any type of catch of any man being that they nursed me through the divorce that took on a life of its own. It was two years or so later, and I was feeling pretty full of myself with my huge selection of funky heels and dresses and my energy levels were at an all time high. The kids and I had a new apartment and I had it all shabby-sheik Florida style. We were living the Florida life with beach visits every weekend and not a care in the world, well except for little stuff like hitting the flea markets. I was a confident person and attentive single mom. I was not looking for love, it just happened one day unexpected but it started very passionate and stayed that way. We still kiss like it was the first, or last, with fire and ice. It is both unstoppable and undeniable.
           Meanwhile, as I am in love at first sight, and taking that to the ladies at work, what the hell am I doing with a man who lives with me and doesn’t work anyway? What right could I possibly have to justify that in their eyes? How dare I drop the curve in the grade to all women of the world? Unfortunately I did not really see the problem, so I stated my mind… “Look, I am picked up from work, my kids already in the car picked up from school, to go home to dinner on the table (delicious at that) and massages and sex and showers and smiles… and he is hot!” Why should I be bitching? I am guessing that the woman’s rights were meant to be more than this… more than ‘what’ was the question. In a few short years I dug myself and my children out from hell and it was time to just be happy without proving to someone that their measurements or normative standards were not mine. I was choosing life, and for the first time, it was my turn. Besides, did they have a hot guy sitting in their apt? Sorry but no. So who is using who? It was not like I was desperate, or lacking in opportunity. Shy or awkward are probably not the correct vocabulary either. A few years previous, yes… but now, I was full of spunk. It was just my life happening the way it should happen.
           When a woman finds herself at the end of a marriage, what sometimes happens is weight bearing guilt for the opinions of the outside world that seem to want to take away some part of that conquest that she herself had to partake in achieving. Granted, many divorces are happening without too much attention, but regardless, what do you feel about me when I say my first husband has custody of my first two kids, and my second husband lost his rights to our two, leaving me in an abuse shelter? Wow, what a screwed up woman… I am passed that phase of bearing everyone else’s shortcomings in accepting that at this point in my life. In other words, whatever makes you feel better (than I)?  I know what happened in truthful details, without escaping responsibility or blame or any other attention getting off the hook schemes that people come up with. I know, my ex knows, my second ex/childhood friend knows… and a handful might have a brief concept. A fat web has been strung around their lies and finger pointing to promote their innocence. I have learned to deal with the lot of it all and it was indeed not instinctual, but painfully and brutally learned.
          Ricardo was young, twenty five. He turned twenty six and I bought him a cake and a gold crucifix cross necklace that he still wears everyday. We invited all his buddies up to my apt. They were humble as they walked in, acting all shy, like it was a big deal to be invited into my place. Everyone took a slice of cake. One of the guys (boys really, so young) was excited and giggly in their Spanish of course I did not understand… he was going home the next day and was beside himself. I could see Ricardo’s eyes and feel his thoughts as he tasted this boy’s excitement too and longed to see his family. I think he felt comfort with me. I figured out why once I lived in Mexico awhile. There are many similarities between his family and me, both in attitude and appearance.
         His original apt dwelling was downstairs from mine that he shared with other undocumented friends. They were clean cut, did not do any type of drugs, family boys…roughly 7 or 8 of them. One of them had an American girlfriend, Hortensia, who found a bigger better place for everyone. Ricardo stayed behind with me, but we were at the house with his friends often. Gated housing plans are very common in Florida, especially ones that supply a pool for the plan. We were very happy to use our privilege to the pool. Once a woman was angry that we were there, perhaps a bit racist as she looked at my dark skinned friends swimming in “her” pool, no sorry we had the right to be there. She said something smart, and I returned the favor and told her to f off racist b. she called the cops. I had to tell our side of it, while my Spanish speaking undocumented friends sat and waited it out. She felt that we had jumped the fence, until the couple who actually had their names on the lease of the house showed and it was straightened out. That was my first real taste of racism by a stupid asshole. No one talks to my man like that, sorry but no.
         We went through the holidays, with our little fiestas of Mexican grilled food and salsa dancing on the back patio with our friends. Most of them spoke English, not perfect, but a couple of them did yes. We had a trampoline for the kids who were always with us. Ricardo took them under his wing immediately. He picked them up from school everyday a few hours before he came to get me at work. I know that I was certainly impressed. My ex called to tell me what a beep be beep beep beep...whatever words that I have chosen to block from my memory, as the phone rang over and over. Ricardo answered, spoke in Spanish to him. All his friends laughed of course. The ex called back and Ricardo said in his best English, “What’s your problem you stupid bitch she is my girlfriend.” My seven-year old looked at me and said, “mommy you’re dead.”  We were forced to go into hiding that next day because of death threats. Ricardo kept the kids for me for a week as we were not allowed to put them in the school because the school was afraid of my ex. We had to move them to another school and move our apt in a secret covert operation. My parents flew down to help us. My ex was fighting charges of stealing a car that he staked out my apt that following weekend of a friend of his from his church group who he conned into buying his flight from PA so he could come down and kill me. Nice. I’m glad he stole her car. Especially when I told her over the phone when she called to warn me that she bought him a ticket, I said, “You don’t know what you have done.” The lawyer Susan Chapman was quick to call her to tell her if anything happened to me she was going to be held as an accomplice. That was a nightmare. Through the entire screwed up two weeks Ricardo, who had no idea what the hell was going on really, helped with the kids and moved the stuff out and into our new place. I had a Spanish speaking friend at work explain over the phone to him that my ex was dangerous and to be careful and keep the kids out of public. We had to look over our shoulder all of the time, rear view mirrors, you name it. I was told to stay away from my women’s abuse group even because they were afraid he would follow me and hurt them all.
            We had our new place equipped with drafty windows and rotting wood walls and some type of flooding thing out the back door which was perfect for Ricardo who loved to pee and spit from the open door. Yes it is gross… it was private though. This place was bigger. We had more space than we needed… and these huge spiders too. The house across the street worked for or owned a carpet company. One day they had all kinds of remnants rolled outside and said we could have them, so Ricardo carpeted the entire place. It looked really nice. This little old couple down the street moved across the street and Ricardo said come on lets help them… so we did, our good deed of the neighborhood. They gave us their old washer dryer set. Our place was totally set up. Ricardo did a lot of yard work and made the outside look half descent. The landlord was a scuzzball. He was racist and made fun of Ricardo every opportunity he could. Ricardo was working part time in construction again and brought home a huge turtle for the kids. He built a big contained area for it. Their little neighborhood playmate, Estrella, lived on the other corner with a big grassy yard with good climbing trees. They forgot the turtle too long one day and he walked off.
         Our life was okay, but this apt was really too much for me. It was $150 more per month and the electric was running $250 a month. It was surely faulty wiring. Honestly the neighboring home was the landlord’s other rental and I think that he had me paying for both rentals’ electric. It was putting me into the position of not having extra money.
         I was pregnant. It was not a trick on my part and it was not him forcing himself into my life on his part. It was just a passionate thing that happened, say what you will. I lost the baby. I spent my birthday in the hospital with Ricardo by my side. The doctor said that the baby was 5 ½ weeks so there was no heartbeat detected so they said the baby may make it that it was hard to tell... I told Ricardo, “There’s a baby!” He was happy. The baby passed out in the toilet two days after.
          In the meantime there was a lot of talk about us moving to Pennsylvania. I felt it was time to be close to my family and I needed them. Ricardo changed my heart. He made me strong. I was able to face what was going on back in my hometown, what with all of the rumors flying with two failed marriages, with my head held high. Plus my children were waiting. We talked all of the time, and I visited as often as I could, but it was just time to move to PA. My heart was softened by my love affair and he gave me courage and strength in such a way that made me see things about life differently. We decided to take a little vacation up to check it out. We stayed over a week and during that time we ate at every Mexican restaurant in the area and then some. Ricardo made my family dinner one night and everyone thought it was delicious. We sat by the Christmas tree with sweaters on and puffy socks. He played in the snow with the kids. We opened presents. He met my older kids. It went rather well, the vacation.
         Once back in Florida, we started to discuss the option of living in Mexico. He got really excited at the fact that I would even contemplate it. I tried my best to learn Spanish while I took notes that he helped me with and walked around with headphones on that the Learn Spanish cassettes played over and over. He missed his family so much and I could see the depression setting in. Valentines Day came and he got me a ring, that I still wear to this day every day, some balloons and a bracelet. I got pregnant on that day, for the second time, a month after the miscarriage. It was not planned out, thought out, or anything like that at all it was just passionate and it happened, as it should be.
           Life went on, and I knew he was seriously considering the Mexico thing. He started to talk about it more and more often. I began to push back with the idea that we should move to Pennsylvania. This became a major topic of every day. Finally, in all of my will to win the argument, I found a privilege perch to where I became comfortable with saying to him “I am going to PA, you can come, or what, move with your friends?” My strategy was to get him to conform to my wishes with my weapons of trickery. Unfortunately, it did not work. He arranged a ride to Mexico.
           I had to go get some dental work done, a root canal. I stayed home from work that morning to go to my appt and we sat on the swing together and ate lunch before I went back to work. He said I am going to Mexico, I did not acknowledge it because I was not going to give into him getting out of going to PA with me.  We went into the house and he held me against the wall and kissed me so passionately. He was saying goodbye, but I had no idea. I came home to find his clothes gone and a note on the counter that he loved me and he would be back in two months and his sister’s phone number. I raced to the school to get the kids, and to his friends house, they were ‘just’ pulling away. I followed them and called him on my cell. “Where are you?” He said something that I don’t remember, and I told him that I was behind him. They pulled over, we talked. He came with me and we left and talked and he was decided to stay. His friends were at our house when we pulled in. I said “Ricardo what are you doing?” He said, I’ll be back in two hours, “I am going to help him with a job and I will come back.” At about ten that night I knew he wasn’t coming back. I smoked a million cigarettes and cried. At that time we did not know I was pregnant again. I sat on the swing outside with the little old lady that we helped move and went into shock.
        He called me early in the next morning. The caller Id had a Texas number on it, it was the cell phone of some coyote guy. I just wanted to die. We talked and I cried. He kept saying sorry. It was over this call and many following calls that we made the plan for me to go to Mexico too. The only problem was I had no idea how to do this. I got the passports started and arranged to sell my things. I had a yard sale that I sold all of my gorgeous clothes and shoes for a dollar each item. I sold all of my inherited furniture, my knickknacks, my flea market collections over the years of my single life with the kids…everything. What didn’t sell, I left behind, half in the house, half in the yard, for whomever…
        Ricardo and I talked every night with calling cards. I promised my kids that were waiting for us with high hopes in PA that we would live for a little while in Mexico, and we would be back, to live in PA...Then Ricardo and I tried to figure out how I was going to get into Mexico. We decided to include the guy who drove him down. But this weirdo ended up calling me in the middle of the night asking me what I was doing or whatever, so I figured I would be best to drive myself. In the past I drove from Florida to PA and back by myself straight though and many times in the past not by myself…I could handle it, I had lots of money on me for motels and whatnot. We would just take our time. Meanwhile the knowledge that I was pregnant of course was noted. I had a sonogram at 13 weeks, telling me that the baby was normal and a boy with an obvious third leg. My passports were expedited in a month, and we were there, after driving 3 days at pregnancy week #14.

Not so romantic of a thing now is it?
But yet it was… and still is.

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe and I can not believe the similarities between us. From the passion, divorce, children in their fathers custody to the miscarriage. At times I felt like I was reading about my own life. Amazing story, keep telling it!