Do you ever enter a situation, and every fiber of your being is telling you “this is not good”?
I had a friend in college who I had a huge crush on, Andres. He was from my hometown and pretty much my only friend at the time because I hadn’t adjusted to life at college. I had actually met him in high school because I was tutoring a student who had moved from El Salvador and didn’t speak any English, and he and the student were friends. I didn’t know that we lived in the same small town though, until I saw him at the local 4th of July parade. We said hi and went our separate ways and didn’t run into each other until a few months later at my old high school. I had stopped by to do a presentation to try and recruit students to my college and on my way out I ran into Andres. We talked for a few minutes and he asked what I was doing in town. I told him about the presentation and that I was home for the weekend and that I was headed to get the oil changed in my truck. He said that his step dad owned a shop in our hometown and that if I stopped by after school was over he would change it for 20$. He gave me his number and directions to the garage and I went home.
That afternoon I went to the garage and we talked while he changed my oil. I don’t really remember what we talked about. We joked, we flirted, we talked about teachers we had in common. Then he invited me to a movie. Sometimes when I am scared, I feel like my body has become frozen. Not so much in that I can’t move, but that I feel very very cold. Like jumping into a pool after sitting in a hot tub. This was one of those times. I wasn’t sure if it was a date, but I was having fun getting to know this guy so I said yes. We agreed to meet at the theater later that night. I went home and told my parents and my mom asked me if it was a date and I told her I didn’t know, because I didn’t, but part of me wanted it to be a date. After the movie we went and got ice cream and sat and talked for a while. He was very flirty and I remember feeling swept away. Not in a romantic way, or even a good way, but just a ‘this is all so new’ way.
We became friends. We texted, we talked, we IMed. I developed a really big crush on him. Now I realize I didn’t have a crush on him, on his personality, I had a crush on what he represented–a guy who didn’t prejudge me. Thinking back, I notice that as a teenager, pretty much anytime a guy would actually take the time to get to know me as opposed to labeling, ridiculing, or picking on me, I would develop a crush on them. Eventually we talked about the fact that I had a crush on him. That was one of those ‘this isn’t going to be good’ situations. He said he was glad to have a true friend and didn’t want to spoil that, and that he thought I didn’t really like him, it was just an infatuation. He was completely right, but at the time I was so upset. Eventually we got past it though.
One day he told me that he was in the country illegally. He said that his mom and dad moved to the US and were getting their visas, but his dad cheated on his mom and he left her and went back to Ecuador. He didn’t tell her that when he left, he canceled their visas. When his mom found out, she married her boyfriend, who was also her ex-husbands former best friend. But Andres was over 18, so he wasn’t covered by his mom’s marriage. His mom was married when I met him, so I have no idea how long he knew before he told me. He tried to come up with ways to stay, but ultimately couldn’t come up with a way. Except for one. He sent me a text saying that the only option he had left was to marry a US citizen and he was wondering if I would do it. (Lamest proposal ever, plus the ‘this is not good’ situations) I remember walking down the sidewalk at our house and reading the text, and about halfway through it thinking “oh please, do not ask me this”. I stopped walking and my mom asked me what was going on, and I told her Andres asked me to marry him. I don’t remember what I texted back. I think it was something like “please do not ask me this”, but the basic gist was ‘no’.
I thought about it that day and I came to the conclusion that if he was asking me then he must truly be out of options, and if it had been me facing deportation then I would have wanted him to help me. When I told him that, he said no, that he should never have asked me in the first place, that it wasn’t fair of him to put that on me. He ended up moving to Miami to live with his cousins because it was easier for him to work off the books there. Eventually he was deported back to Colombia (where he was born), but got permission to move to Ecuador to live with his dad.
Obviously, living on different continents made it more difficult to keep in touch, but we bought international phone cards and talked online to keep our friendship going. There would be weeks where I didn’t hear from him. Sometimes months. I would send him a message every few days at first, then every few weeks. Then we only talked when he would get a hold of me. I understood that he was working, but it really bothered me that he couldn’t take 2 minutes out of his day to say “hi, I’m working, can’t talk”. If I was having a problem or needed my friend, he was never there. I thought that it was my fault. I thought that if I had been a better friend, if I had married him, then our friendship wouldn’t have been suffering. A few months before Rob and I started dating I actually looked into the legal aspects of a fiancee visa, but ultimately realized it wasn’t the right thing to do.
On the other hand, if he was going through something, then he would get a hold of me to talk. He talked to me when he needed help translating a purchase order. He talked to me when he was having an affair with his married neighbor. He jokingly told me a few times that he was coming back, or that he was already back. He told me about all the drinking and sleeping around he did. When my grandpa was dying from cancer he didn’t return my messages. He didn’t tell me when he was in the hospital. I sent him a message and his friend answered it, telling me Andres couldn’t talk because he was in the hospital. He told me he wasn’t allowed to leave the country (Ecuador) for 10 years, but he didn’t tell me he went to Germany on a business trip. When I told him I was engaged to Robby, he told me that I shouldn’t get married. That it was too soon and as my friend he only wanted what was best for me. I told him I was tired of him only being my friend when he needed something, and that he kept lying to me and he knew that lying is a big issue for me. We had talked several times before about how I couldn’t tell when he was lying and that made me not trust him and I was getting tired of it. That was the last time I really talked to him.
A few months later he sent me a friend request on Facebook along with a message saying he was sorry and that he hoped we could be friends. Tonight, his mom sent me a Facebook message asking how I am.
I don’t know if she is trying to get us to reconnect, or saw me the last time I was in town, but it makes me so nervous. I don’t want to have to deal with this. I thought I had made it perfectly clear that he had lost my trust. Maybe I wasn’t clear, maybe he thinks that enough time has passed. Maybe he has moved back to the US and is asking his mom to try and get a hold of me. Who knows. I will just have to wait and see.