This post is also available in: Kreyol
This post is also available in: Kreyòl
#DatingWhileHaitian is a series about the Haitian experience of dating. Brenda tells us of a dating experience that I am sure many of you have lived through: Haitian men’s fascinating ability to fall deeply in love in a matter of a few days. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Read and share your story!
I met Reginald on a road trip with my dad to Montreal. We were on our way to a funeral for distant family friend and he happened to be visiting as well. He was very tall and cute. He spoke very little English and when he did, it was heavily accented.
I hung out in the living room with him that night, his face illuminated by the soft dim light, listening and laughing as he told me stories from his life in Haiti. I remained there until my father appeared in the doorway and told me to go to sleep.
After the funeral, we were on our way to drop him off when he whirled around and asked me for my phone number. I could feel my father’s eyes boring into the back of my head, but I was impressed at this boy’s bravado in the face of danger. He had the nerve to ask me for my number in front of my father. With my own faux bravado, I gave it to him as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
On our way home many hours later, my father’s quiet voice broke the silence.
“You shouldn’t give strangers your phone number.”
I did not answer. I was too busy wondering if I would really hear from him.
I did hear from him, the next night when he called me on a phone card. We spoke on the phone for a long time until he ran out of minutes.
We could not have been more different. Born and raised in Haiti, he moved to Quebec to attend school. Whenever he spoke of his parents, there was a wistfulness in his voice. He could not travel back and forth on his student visa, nor did he have the money. Having only been to Haiti twice, I barely knew it but clung to the country he described from memory. He laughed at my American accented Kreyol and I taught him common English phrases.
We spoke almost every night for two weeks. We even toyed with the idea of my visiting him in Quebec and in the light of our naiveté; we almost believed it could actually happen. I looked forward to his calls, it made my summer more interesting. It was the perfect relationship; I did not have to dress up, spend any money, or lie to sneak out of the house. Most nights l laid on my bed, dressed in my house clothes with the television blaring in the background, the phone curved against my ear. He spoke to me in Kreyol and for extra effect, threw in some French. He told me I was beautiful and enjoyed talking to me; it was like living in an Alan Cave song. In fact, he played me a few of his favorites.
I enjoyed the attention but I knew it was nothing serious. I did not expect it to last past the summer and I figured we would carry on until we both got busy with school in the fall.
I thought he felt the same until he told me he loved me. “I love you.”
I didn’t know what to say. I told him it was too early for such talk. He demanded I tell him I loved him.
“Tell me you love me this night.”
I refused and something in his voice broke. I felt horrible for ruining the romance but it was time to face reality. I never heard from him again and when I returned to school in the fall, my phone bill arrived.
It was three hundred dollars.