On Valentine’s Day, we rolled out a new series about one of the greatest modern love stories of our time. Man goes to Cuba. Man falls in love with Cuban singer. Yada yada yada, human trafficking. Yada yada yada, immigration. Man now lives with Cuban singer in America. This is: Mi Chica Loquita.
Click here for the first and second chapters of Rocio’s adventure…
Moving to New York City is difficult for anyone. Now try moving to New York City … from Cuba … to be with a jerk like me.
For nine months, more or less since the day we met, Rocio and I had been planning/praying/drinking for the day we would be living together. It was our shared dream, and something we talked about nearly each time we spoke on the phone between the day after I left Cuba and the day she landed at LaGuardia Airport nine months later. It was, for me, the one thing I wanted more than anything else in the world: to be with the love of my life, but mostly for the miserable, sexless marathon of waiting for it to end.
Coming back from meeting Rocio in Cuba (the first time; I would return four months later), I immediately found a new, cheaper apartment to save some of the extra money I would need in order to bring her here. This new apartment was a 3BR share with two guys in their mid-to-late 20s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. For a month, we even had a fourth person living there. This was by no means a large 3BR. It was pretty miserable, barely a step above living with my parents in the vortex of suck that is Delaware.
One of the guys, Nate, was a 25-year-old “personal trainer” and, yes, those quotation marks are in lieu of a much-needed sarcasm font. He was ALWAYS at home, and was absolutely the most horrible human being to ever exist in any space or time. And I am definitely the only person on earth to never speak in hyperbole, so you know that Nate was a douche of epic proportions. For example, he would spew random spiritual bullshit at me like “There is no past, present, or future. Only your time in this life to touch those around you,” and then turn around and fingerbang my cat.
All this time, Rocio and I spoke every day. We didn’t talk very long – rarely more than 15 minutes – unless I was drunk (which was often), in which case it may have crept closer to an hour. At anywhere from $0.90/min to $1.15/min, I was enduring $1,000 monthly phone bills.
Oh, “Why don’t I use Skype,” you say? Gee, I’d never thought of that! What a great idea!
I never considered that, except for maybe every single time I ever mentioned how calling Cuba was expensive and whomever I was talking to would say “But what about Skype” and I’d say “Oh, great idea! Because you must think I’m an idiot or something for not knowing about Skype and all of Skype’s free Skype-to-fucking-Skype calling (with video!), and instead I just enjoy paying Verizon or Localphone.com $1,000/month because I’m some kind of douche and, oh!, did I mention I also paid an immigration lawyer $2,500 even though Rocio would instead circumvent the whole process and cross the border as a political refugee? No? I never mentioned that? Really? Oh. My bad. Yeah, Skype is blocked in Cuba. So … This round’s on you? I’m poor.”
It was a pretty awful nine months. The ninth month she spent living in Miami, catching up with family who now live there, and many childhood friends who do as well. Being in Miami, she was closer, but we still weren’t together. I was running out of towels.
But one glorious day in August, finally, Rocio arrived in NYC. Being together after all this pain and suffering (and to be honest, it was a very difficult time for both of us) was a clear, glorious triumph of loving will, and a frank expression of endless possibilities. We felt unstoppable, and we wore it with unapologetic pride. But … we still had eight more painstaking days of living with two other people to deal with before we could finally settle into our huge Greenpoint apartment and truly begin our lives together.
Blahblahblah Rocio was being a great sport about it, but blahblahblah thin walls, I was ready to kill myself. All this waiting to be together, and we still had nary a moment to be with each other alone. What kind of bullshit sadistic torture was this? It was like giving a fat guy a bowl full of popcorn with no butter on it. NO BUTTER!!! Do you know what that’s like?! Do you have any idea??
Butter in this case is sex. Okay, there was some, but with Nate ever-lurking around, there damn sure wasn’t enough. Sorry, penis.
Finally, the day arrives. We would have liked to have packed up my meager apartment bedroom before we woke up that morning, but instead we drank many bottles of wine with my friend Chris and were greeted with a pair of bludgeoning hangovers; the kind that kept Hemingway from ever leaving Cuba. We were off to a bad start. But, ever resilient, I woke at 9:00 am to pick up the rental car, some bagels, and coffee. On any other day, I’d already be a hero. But on this day, there would be no heroes.
When I got back to the shitbox, Rocio seemed clearly off. And by that I mean she was puking often and crying a little less so. There were pains in her chest that I wrote off to dehydration and excitement/nerves, and more tears that I wrote off to general female hormones (that time of the month, amiright, guys?). But she was in bad shape. Granted, by this time I’d spent a grand total of 25 days with this girl, but there was something about the sobbing and the hand-wringing and shaking that told me something was wrong. I’m real intuitive like that.
At some point, after asking her if she needs anything for the 92202442323992th time, she sputtered the words “I miss my friends.” Oh god. Was the inevitable homesick panic attack coming on THIS day? On the one day when we should get a panic attack for SO MANY other reasons? Seriously? The best day of my life was not going to come easy.
Initially, the plan was to begin packing the room by 10, begin loading the car by noon. Seemed reasonable, considering I barely own anything. By 2 we still hadn’t done a damn thing. I could have been packing by myself, but Rocio was in an immense amount of distress, and obviously suffering. It’s not like I could just ignore her in this condition. So instead, a typical conversation would be as follows:
1:41pm – Me: Sweetie, we need to get started packing.
1:43pm – Ro: I miss Dianela.
1:43pm – Me: Of course you do, babe. That’s your best friend. You’ll see her again soon, I promise.
1:46pm – Ro: I miss my ocean.
1:46pm – Me: I know. We will go on a trip to Miami soon, ok?
2:04pm – Ro: I miss the Malecon.
2:04pm – Me: The Malecon is definitely special babe. But this city has a lot of special things about it too. I wouldn’t bring you to a place that sucks, ok?
2:10pm – Ro: I don’t have breath. I miss my breath.
2:10pm – Me: There’s some great breath in the shower. Why don’t you go in there for the next 7 hours?
Click Page 2 below (or right here) to see what happens when this lovely couple makes it to the new digs …
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