Love Forged by the Threat of Deportation

Love Forged by the Threat of Deportation

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Originally published by The NY Times

The departures by way of detention and deportation that I see on the news, wrenching scenes of love being pulled apart, hit a delicate spot in me and make me ache. My heart once housed similar fears of separation.

He and I first smiled at each other one night almost 20 years ago in Café Remy, a favorite downtown Manhattan spot for the area’s financial workers. With the humid August air making his dark thick hair a cherubic mess, I thought, “Hey, Angel Boy, you look so cute. Where did you get that crazy hair?”

I was feeling happy and bold because I was finally free from my previous boyfriend, who had broken up with me but kept me tethered with claims of “I love you” and “I miss you” and “I just need time.” He failed to mention that he needed time to pursue someone else. I spent the next few months rolling around on my floor, drinking wine and crying into my journals.

But in his absence, I started to understand how stifled I had been with someone who was happiest staying at home with his computer and television shows. In social situations with my friends, he always seemed adorably awkward, until the day he said, “I’m not shy. I just don’t want to expend my energy on them.”

Did I really want my ex to return to me? No. I wanted to go out and dance.

Again the wavy-haired man and I exchanged looks.

Then there were shouts in Spanish: “Let’s go dance!” And everyone went up the staircase to the second floor, where there was another bar and a small dance floor.

When the man looked at me for the third time, he did so with a subtle hand wave, beckoning me to the dance floor. So I went.

His name was Eddie. He was the only man in the place with a book of literature tucked under his arm. A currency broker from Cali, Colombia, he spent his days with three phones to his ears, making multi-million-dollar trades between banks in the United States and Latin America.

I assumed he had landed his coveted job as a member of a well-to-do family after studying at a prestigious American college and business school. Later, I would learn otherwise.

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