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By Vernada L. ThomasSpecial to CSMS MagazineYou know in life everybody has their chances.  There are those who are very lucky with their first boyfriend, and stay with him until death do them part.  Then there are others who cannot even count the number of adventures on their fingertips. So they keep floating in the air until they find the one that really loves them. I don’t know why I’m telling my story. I hesitated and agonized over my decision to share my story with the readers of CSMS Magazine. In the end, I have chosen to tell it because I know somehow someone might benefit from it.            I was born in Haiti, and at the age of 15, I was convinced my life was complete.  I honestly believed that I had reached the zenith of my happiness. There wasn’t one person on earth who could undo my infinite bliss. My life was rosy in front of me. But the day that I met a young man of my age at school was the day my happiness began to unravel. What started as a bitter/sweet feeling when I met him had catapulted into an uncontrolled misery. Do you want to know why?  My parents and jealousy.  He was a handsome young man with incomparable charm that every young girl would fall at first glimpse.            My parents, of course didn’t see it that way. I was raised in a conservative household, where the discipline code was rigorously enforced. So at 15, having a boyfriend was that last thing my parents wanted to hear.  So they rejected outright my decision to bring this young man into my life story, citing they wanted me to finish school, go to college and then find someone who was up to my standards. I didn’t see it like that.  You know, at the age of 15, it’s difficult to rational things clearly. The sky is always blue when you find someone that you love. Because I wanted to be with him no matter what, I found every way to see him although my parents used to beat me a lot.  One day he came to my house to talk to my parents about our relationship. They thought he was too young.  He was 16 and I was 15.  They didn’t accept him. They took a chair and hit him over the head.  He ran, but we stayed in touch.            We stayed in contact because I loved him so much.  One day he wrote to me to let me know that he will always love me no matter what happens.  Every time he wrote me, I saved the letter.  One day my Aunt went into my pocketbook and found a letter that he wrote me. She then turned the letter over my parents, who immediately called me into the bedroom. “Who wrote this letter?” they growled.“A young man wrote it to me,” I replied, trembling in fear.They made me read it out loud. My mother shook her head in disappointment at every word I read. Finally she slapped me in the face. “You slapped me, what you don’t want is what you will get?” I told her stubbornly. She slapped me again on the other side of my cheek.  Inside the letter, there was his picture. She poked holes in the eyes of the picture, tore it in several pieces and finally threw it into the ocean as our house was located in a beach resort. In the end, I gave up because the trouble was too much to bear.            At the age of 18, when I graduated from high school, I entered the school of nursing.  There, I met a lot of young men who were classy and intelligent. There were a lot of them who liked me.  But the lesson I learned from my first adventure still hunted me. I wanted to take my time, avoiding being in a rush to love. I also wanted to please my parents and please myself as well.  The more educated you are the better chance you’ll get at finding someone that matches your standards. This was the thought that guided me through my days in college. I kept firmly in mind the lessons I learned from my parents. Now that I was older and wiser, I came to realize that my parents didn’t really hate me; they simply wanted what was best for me. Even though they used to beat me, I always loved them.  They didn’t want anyone to take advantage of me nor to abuse me.  The wanted me to make them proud. One day I went to a concert and I met a young gentleman who was very kind.  Anyone would fall for him. His demeanor, his way of talking so intelligibly stole my heart in a blur. “What do you do for living?” I asked gently.  The reason I asked was that my parents put that in my head. “Never take a man without a profession,” they used to say to me.  My parents wanted me to meet someone of high standards, like a doctor or a lawyer.  So the charming gentleman clearly fit the profile. He looked at me and replied with an awesome glee. “I’m a gynecologist.”So we chatted for a while, exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep on seeing each other.I went home and told my parents about the young doctor I just met. They were pleased, and as far as I was concerned, he was the man of my dreams. The man of my dreams? I was flat wrong. Remember the old saying ‘Never judge a book by its cover’?        We were always together.  We went on activities together like going out to the movies, concerts and to the beach.  We never went 2 days without seeing each other. I never thought that I would ever be separated from him some day.  I trusted him.  He had my heart.  It was him who showed me what love was.            After a few years of dating, just when I thought we were ready to take the relationship to a higher level, he told me what every woman never wants to hear from the man that she loves. He told me that he had been involved in a relationship with another woman who lived in the United States. It took him a long time to give me the shocking news. When he finally did, he confirmed that he had already had a 9-year-old daughter with her.  I was thrown apart. I was stunned for I couldn’t believe that after 4 years in a relationship with someone that he would be keeping such a secret from me.  I remember clearly that stormy and starless night when he took me to a deserted corner at the beach, gazing at the breaking waves. He held me against my shoulders, pulled me against his chest and, as tears were splashing down his cheeks, he turned around and gazed upward. He did not want to see my reaction when he told me that he would be marrying her.I immediately liberated myself from his grips and walked away without looking back. I switched from jogging to running, rushing to get home, bursting to my room and collasping in my bed. I lay face-up, and only one thing occupied my mind: killing myself. “How can life be so unfair”? “Why not me dans une belle robe blanche walking down the isle while my parents applauded in utter satisfaction?Our love was so deep that it took me a long time to forgive him. To these days, I still have mixed feelings when I think of him.  He gave me no sign to think otherwise while we were together, and as slick as he was, right under my nose he was making plans for the woman to enter Haiti to marry him. When he realized that I could fall into a depression, he came and told me that the whole story was hoax, and that he was not going to marry anyone. That was just to console me. Then he quickly left town and spent 3 weeks away.  Those three weeks were the weeks that he spent on his honeymoon with his newly wedded wife while I believed he was on a business trip for his job. The woman returned to the United States shortly thereafter, and he returned to me business as usual.                One day I was crying on one of my friend’s shoulders, wondering why he was gone for so long and I had no idea where he was, and as my friend was consoling me, I turned my head and saw him coming around the corner.  I was so happy that I jumped on him and both of us fell to the ground together.             He lied to me as to why he was gone for so long.  He told me that his job sent him on a trip. I believed him and our relationship continued.  After a year I never knew that he was married.  He never told me that. He was everything to me.  I gave up my friends for him.  Those same friends that I gave up for him were the same friends who attended his wedding.  They kept the secret from me. One day, a couple years later, they called me and told me that they couldn’t keep the secret from me any longer. “Don’t you know that your boyfriend is married?” they said. I fought with them, telling them it wasn’t true. “My boyfriend would never leave me for someone else,” I told them, naively. After that, I called him and I asked him if all that I was hearing was true. “I have to tell you the truth; I can’t keep on lying to you.  I can’t allow people to come and tell you these things.  It’s true. I did marry her in a church,” he said with his voice shaking at the other end of the line.That same moment, I was devastated.  My heart was no longer his.  A few years later, I searched to find a new person.  Then a good friend mentioned that there was a place I could go on the internet where I could find someone that would love me for the rest of my life.  At first, I thought this was an awkward idea. “How can I fall in love with someone I don’t know?” I thought. Hesitantly, I went on the website that she suggested.  I met several friends. I had my choice.  I chose the one that made me happy.  He made me laugh and helped me to forget all of my problems of the past. He gave me hope.  After several months, we decided to give our friendship a try.  He promised me that he would come to visit me in Haiti. Finally, we became engaged.  He came to visit me several times.  One day, he surprised me when I received a letter from the US immigration services to come for an interview. I went and received a fiancé visa, allowing me to come and marry him. He sent me an airplane ticket to go living with him.             When the airplane landed, it was snowy. He was full of joy ready to pick me up at the airport. Some members of his family were also present. Everyone was happy to see me when he took me home to Pennsylvania where he lived. We’ve been living there ever since.Life has many twists and turns. Sometimes, love is found where one least expects it. Many times, what seems to be the heavenly prize turns out to be biggest nightmare. So my friend, be careful when making a choice. True love is there to be found. Be persistent. Do not break at your first deception.Note: Vernada Thomas is writer who lives in Hazelton, Pennsylvania. She wrote this story exclusively for CSMS Magazine. So give us your thought.

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