By YANINA ANGELINI ARISMENDI
He swept into my life on a summer day. Or maybe I into his.
We never called it dating. We “just met and became inseparable ever since, and that’s it.”
What we do not mention is that inseparable is a subjective word when you are a single mom living in Fredericksburg Virginia and he lives in Washington, DC. We spent as many weekends together as possible, spoke on the phone every night like teenagers and we were super corny in social media. Like many sensible adults our age in long distance relationships, we low-key kept an open minded relationship.
It was easy to lie to him. I lied to everyone about my legal status at that point in time.
Before the DREAM Act, our modus operandi was to eliminate traces of an accent, hide our nationality and cultural pride and assimilate into American culture.
The key was to pretend to be no different from any other American child, the fear of someone holding deportation against you is real. “Living under the radar” makes you a grade-A liar: you come up with excuses as to why you cannot drive, or go on that senior class trip or get a beer at the bar.
Most people would be surprised how many people they’ve come in contact with daily that are not documented.
He did not suspect anything and I did not expect to become so involved that I’d have to tell the truth.
I found myself floating through a field one fall afternoon, he asked to go steady.
Smiley face response sent and happiness quickly became terror.
I send a text: “I need to tell you something about me that I should have before we fell in love with each other.”
Him: “omg what is it? :(“
As the sun goes down and a chill sets in, my phone dies before I can send a long message explaining that we should talk in person.
I run through UMW campus back to my apartment and waited for the longest I ever have waited for my phone to be charged.
Phone anxiety be damned I called him. Hi is all I can mumble “What’s wrong? just tell me please, nothing is going to change the way I feel, for real.” I am silent, paralyzed. “is it like an std? cus I don’t care. I love you.” I laugh hard, then cry and explain to him my legal status.
He never even mentions the fact that I lied to him for so long. I am grateful for that.
We married downtown Fredericksburg a day before my passport expired a few days before the winter solstice. We got junk food afterward the I do’s, all with enough time to pick up our kid from the bus.
We have been inseparable ever since!
What is your experience dating while undocumented? Help us start a much needed conversation and a few support groups by sending us your story or adding your thoughts in the comment section below. Submissions will enter a chance to win a box of chocolates!
Categories: Dating While Undocumented