It’s a long, long, story. But I am going to try and make it shorter. I don’t know if this is important, but I am a Black woman and he is a White man. We met overseas in 1980 while he was on assignment in my country, and I was a freshman in college. He was the first man in my life, and I did not choose to start this relationship: he unceremoniously grabbed me on the beach, kissed me the way that I imagine a GI would kiss a girl working the sidewalk (now that I have more experience with kisses...), and proceeded to making love without saying a word (no, I won’t call it rape, we had "gone out" twice before that). Now that I have become aware of race dynamics in the American society, I believe that he had never been able to approach a Black woman before heading for my country, and just could not wait one minute longer to ... find out. He was a very handsome man with a brash, arrogant personality. Icy light eyes. And so we dated for a while before he announced that his fiancee was coming over to visit. I did not know he had a fiancee back home. I was humiliated in front of our circle of friends, and those who did not approve of the interracial relationship to begin with, said that this was exactly what I deserved for dating a White guy. He stayed away from me for a while until she left.
Amazingly, he came to my house, accompanied by his best friend (for moral support, I suppose), after she went back to America. They invited me for drinks and he left my house furious because I turned down that invitation. Disgusting, arrogant guy! But did this turn me off? NO! I was curious to hear what he had to say about what had happened, and I ended up visiting him (keep in mind that telephones were not readily accessible in my country in 1980). That visit ended in bed. The morning after, I told him that I don’t want to see him anymore because I don’t want to suffer, and he just responded: “I accept” in a voice as icy as his eyes. After several weeks of internal turmoil, I could not take it any more and the relationship resumed once more. He would take me to the nicest restaurants and hotels but he verbally put me down in public several times, even making fun of my English (if he could hear me now!). He also took me to official functions where company officials and all others knew he was engaged to be married. Eventually, he left my country for his next assignment. The separation was emotional, and he said that he wanted me to come and see him in that other country. From there, however, he soon wrote me an unnecessarily abrupt letter asking me to never contact him again.
That was 23 years ago. I never married (I don’t know if that has anything to do with this persistantly open wound or not) and I finally moved to the US when I got a very nice job offer; I am now pursuing a rewarding career. But for sure, I was never able to get him off my mind.
But it recently turned out that he lives with his wife (the then fiancee) and kids about 15 miles from where I am. And the other day, my phone rang. I picked up, but the caller did not talk for quite a while, then suddenly asked a generic question..... and I recognized his voice, even after 23 years. I just said: “wrong number” and hung up. It looks to me like fate has it that this undeserving, uncaring man will always cast a shadow on my life. I mean: what are the odds that this nai"ve girl would fly 10,000 miles to land in the same American town as the man she dated 20 years back? He has discovered/heard or whatever, that I am here, and I know that, should he find a way to make actual contact with me, I will be unable to avoid going back to being his mistress: he’s got my number. For now, I guess he is wondering how to even talk to me after treating me like you-know-what back then. I do wonder if he has developed a conscience because I know from friends that he now works for a small organization dealing with responsible development in the Third World, targeting the disadvantaged communities of each country. I certainly did not know this seemingly caring side of him! I knew him as a young wolf who would do anything to move up the ladder. Another friend told me that he paled, then blushed, and looked awfully uncomfortable when my name was mentioned in front of him some time ago. I am praying for strength, but I am also preparing mentally to try and be a “happy mistress,” because it seems impossible to shake this addiction. In this scenario, I would have a relationship with him, but continue to live my life normally. Sometimes, he would be able to see me, sometimes he would not. I would put my own priorities first, go out on my own or with friends, etc...instead of waiting for him. I would not expect him to leave his wife, would never attempt to let her know about me.
I can almost hear you gasp. But I am hoping that this could be just what the doctor prescribed to break this endless addiction. He is no longer that remote, mysterious American man eventually going back to that far-away fantasy land called America. He is no longer this young rising star living high in the tropics (if I am not mistaken, he has had some bad luck on the job some time ago); and I am certainly no longer that wide-eyed native girl who marveled: “I have an American boyfriend,” so my experience and my age push me to suspect that if we should meet again on this turf, it might be my home turf this time: I might simply stop being obsessed with him, stop fantasizing about him the way that I have been doing it for the past 23 years, and that would prepare me for a real relationship with my real soulmate. Perhaps seeing him 23 years later, I will not even be attracted to him!! That’s what I am praying for. But chances are I will feel attracted. As for me, liquor store attendants still ask to see my ID when I am buying wine. Maybe being single helps in staying younger longer?
Please do not condemn me: I really, really, want to break the spell thrown on me by those icy eyes years ago. I have been trying for the past 23 years to get rid of this feeling, and this is the only way I think I might finally find peace and freedom: by confronting my demon in this new encounter, if it happens.
Do you think I could be the winner this time (in the sense that I would finally conquer my emotional freedom this way)? Or should I avoid any contact with him?
I need to know what you think.