A quick note! The “—” breaks in the story symbolize separate blog entries. When the story is in its final format with dates/times, it’ll read much more easily but for now, I am lumping everything together into one manuscript so I can keep track of word count and post how much I write daily 🙂
Getting to know Jay has been even weirder than all of the mandatory icebreaker games I’ve played in the beginning of every semester at college.
The events of the past two weeks are swirling around in my head and everytime I try to write them down, I end up rambling. Like I’m doing right now.
My parents have been asking me to “find a nice Indian boy” since I graduated college. For two years, I put them off and romanced Dan. Loved him. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, I rebelled in every single way I could think of. I used my job as an excuse and went on dates with him. Movies, dinners, and “business trips” on weekends – I did what I could to steal away and live with him in our own little fantasy world.
Then it all just came crashing down so fast and one night when my parents were asking me, as usual, when I would find them a nice Indian guy, I just snapped.
He broke up with me. I cried and cried until all I had left was no willpower or desire. I told them to introduce me to one themselves if they were in such a hurry.
Clearly, they wasted no time and I found myself at Starbucks awkwardly drinking iced coffee with Jay that same week.
Damn, Indian parents move fast. It’s as if they’ve already planned shit out for you and just need you to trigger them so they can put their plan into motion. I was safe when my heart was enamored with Dan. I was strong and resisted and happy with my independence.
Then, I broke my own heart and gave them the push they were waiting for. I practically pranced right into this situation.
I’ve got nobody to blame but myself.
I’m coming to this blog now because if I don’t pen my thoughts I am probably going to spontaneously combust in rage. Suffocate in my own trapped fumes of anger. I don’t even know where to begin and what words to use that could possibly convey how I am shaking with rage as I write.
I have just walked away from overhearing my father discuss Jay and I as though we were a business distraction. Just fuckin great.
What an age-old story come to life. Jay’s father and mine planned our meeting for the future good of our families. Marriage is just some TOOL to them. What about our hearts? They don’t even give a shit about that.
“Marriage is compromise and adjustment. Look at your father and I. It’s been 25 years and we’re still together. These white people think they know all about love, until they get divorced. On top of that, they’re so besharam that they just go and get married again. What kind of love is that?”
I suppose if that’s how my mom rationalized it to herself all those years ago and it worked for her, she’s about as happy as she could be.
But I, for one, can’t imagine a life where we live together for so long without loving each other passionately, rather than just reproduction by copulation…
BUT ANYWAY back to why I am so angry – it’s nothing as drastic and ridiculous as dowry, because thankfully, our parents’ views have liberalized enough to the point of finding that idea antiquated.
I heard my dad ask somebody how soon we could expect to see the business merge. Then I hear him laugh about how “of course they’ll stay together and have kids, we’re giving them time to get to know each other right?” and guessed at who was on the other side.
THEN, they have the audacity to look me in the eyes like nothing is wrong and they aren’t ripping my heart apart and laugh as if I have told a very funny joke when I snap and yell that they might as well sell me off to the highest bidder.
I want to call Dan so badly and rant to him, but he will probably just shake his head sadly and wonder why I don’t have the strength to just say no.
I wonder all the time why I am talking to Jay at all but I remember how I can never be with Dan because in the end, my love for my family is tying me down to this arranged marriage.
See, if I say no to Jay, their family will play it off like there is something wrong with me. My father will be shamed and of course, as my mom constantly reminds me, “what will society think?”
Indian parents are all about that. What will society think?
What about your daughter’s heart?
It’s been 4 weeks (and one day) since Dan broke up with me.
It’s been 3 weeks (and two days) since I first met Jay. After our first meeting at Starbucks, he took me out to dinner. It was something fancier and his sister tagged along, almost like a chaperone.
I complained to my mother and all she told me was, “People talk. You get married, then do whatever you want.”
So we endure the supervised dating for a little longer. I’m falling behind in blogging about all of this, so it’s time to play a little catch up.
I met Jay for coffee, and the conversation started out awkward. Then, like I just said, we took his sister out to dinner but after dropping her off at home, he asked me if I would like to go watch a movie the next day. I said yes but only because the way he suggested it was so cute – he told me to make up an excuse and meet him at the theater around noon.
It brought me back to the days when Dan and I used to do the same exact thing, and for some reason, the fact that he did the same thing as Dan had done, and that I had loved Dan just resonated with me. I don’t know if likening Dan and Jay or comparing them is the right thing to do, but I can’t help it. I wanted Dan. I wanted to marry him.
So if Jay is like him in these small little things, maybe that’ll make life a little more bearable?
3 weeks and 3 days since I met Jay now. Our parents are getting antsy. We have been talking to each other more and more. I don’t know whether it is from necessity or because he is genuinely interested in me.
He hasn’t rejected me yet. My father came up to my room last night, sat down at the edge of my bed, and just sighed.
Like he is disappointed or maybe even sad?
He asked me – “Is there somebody else, beta? You can tell us everything.”
But that’s always been the problem. I cannot tell them anything. I can’t tell them I have tasted alcohol, I have had a boyfriend, and I have lost my virginity. I cannot tell him that I have loved a man. And, because I don’t want to be ostracized, I definitely can’t tell him that the man I love is not Indian.
And you know what makes me cry isn’t that I can’t talk to him. It is that the reason I can’t tell him any of my reality is because I still love him and I know that telling him all of that would just break his heart. How can I tell my dad everything if I know he will forever feel that I have shamed him.
No matter how much they love me, Indian “society” is cruel. They judge and gossip and if I tell him anything, he will never hold his head up high like he should. It is ingrained in their minds that what I have done is shameful. So I can’t tell him anything.
There is never a choice. In anything. In their eyes, I have lived by the book, and that’s how it has to stay.
I caved. I gave in. I can’t hurt my parents so I’ll just hurt my dreams instead. No, I’ll just try to build new ones around my new reality.
I don’t know what I will do. My words from last night are still resonating in my head.
“Okay ma, I’ll do it.”
Jay is the reason I tipped over the edge. Last night he called me and I think you guys need to hear this. Maybe I just need to write it out so I can process. Explain myself to my readers.
“Hey, how are you?” he said as I called him last night. “It’s late, are you okay?”
It was only 11 at night, but I guess that’s the latest I’ve called him so far.
“Yeah, just wanted to talk to you.”
“Uh oh, you gonna break up with me? Over the phone? Ow.”
“Uhh no, not exactly. You would have had to ask me out first for that.”
A pause. “What’s wrong?”
“Why are you still talking to me Jay? It’s a setup. You and I both know that we aren’t the arranged marriage type but here we are. It’s been almost a month and neither of us have said no. We’re still talking. Why?”
Another pause. “You’re not crazy.”
“You’re not crazy. I think we’ve got the same reasons. You love your family?”
“Is it that simple? We barely know each other.”
He laughed at that before saying “Well that’s why it’s called an arranged marriage.”
Another pause. I briefly frowned at how long this guy took to get his thoughts out before he added “Besides, you’re the least crazy girl my parents have introduced me to yet.”
I hung up at that, annoyed that he hadn’t told me that he’d been introduced to other girls before.
A few things hit me that night. Aside from the fact that he was right, he wasn’t crazy, he didn’t get on my nerves yet, and I was jealous he had met other girls.
It’s like everything is accelerated because we are forced into a situation where we know where the end result isn’t just a boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a life partner.
I thought I needed a lot more time to overcome my feelings for my ex-boyfriend. I guess that maybe if I talk to Jay about it, we can overcome that obstacle together?
So I’ve said yes. AHH. What am I getting myself into?