I was fat and he was illegal.
When we were quickly engaged within months of meeting (gasp – ONLINE!) tongues were wagging. Obviously he just wanted to fix his papers, and she was so desperate she’d take anyone who would have her. Or so the rumor mill spewed. But, we marched on with the wedding planning, pulling together a venue, DJ, caterer, and bridal party in less than three months. Even had a traditional trio, a small Mexican musical group, to serenade us at the outdoor garden ceremony.
This swift sendoff to holy matrimony, rather than becoming just a short introductory blurb and chuckle when asked how we met, became for me an endless stigma to overcome. Every milestone shared, from birthdays to anniversaries to another Thanksgiving turkey, became opportunities to underscore our continued togetherness. Imagine the long, heartfelt Facebook post proclaiming the victory of our one-year anniversary. “Our first year of marriage has brought laughter, tears, good times and bad, but I’m so happy you’re still the one by my side, baby!”
Thing is, we DID share laughter, tears, good times and bad. There were the fights and silly pet names and vacations and travel and back rubs after a long day at work. There were endless outings with the kids (my biological, his step) to museums and movies and monster truck rallies. Just like any other family.
But I hoarded these memories like tender, tokens of validation that our union was real and true and strong, little pick-me-ups to reassure myself (and my friends, family and social media sphere) that I wasn’t just a fattie who got used for a green card.
Fast-forward six years (ya hear that, Tio Nosy? We made it six goddamned years!) and, yes, my husband is a legal permanent resident on the brink of obtaining citizenship. I had gastric bypass, dropped a couple hundred pounds, and have struggled with fidelity in the face of all the newfound male attention.
And, sadly, we are recently separated. Divorce looms. Seems we couldn’t quite give up the ghost after all. As I dust off every matrimonial memory and reminisce over paths taken and turned away, I must remind myself that what we had WAS real, was special, was and is worthy of respect and honor.
A lesson finally learned, a little too late.