Excerpt from Sex, Cheese and French Fries
It began unceremoniously, by any standard.
"You want me to marry you for your green card?"
"Well, you are my girlfriend already, and it would be great! Then we could travel outside of the country together. I can't wait to show you India and Greece...."
I know he's speaking to my soft spot (two of them in fact), but I'm not buying. His immigrant status is not my problem.
"Sorry, I just got divorced, I'm not in the mood to get married again. Besides, who said I want to marry you? As a matter of fact, my friend, Charlene would probably be happy to marry you for your papers, since she's studying to be a beautician and would love nothing more than to work legally in France."
"But I don't want to marry Charlene...."
Undaunted, every few months he would bring up the subject again. Every time I said no, suspiciously, he would come up with a great idea for a trip.
"Hey, you want to go to San Francisco? I know it like the back of my fingers. I would love to show it to you. They ave such great restaurants!"
After every trip, I feel more affection for him, not to mention the thrill of adventure; because everything with Pierre Bonsoirno is an adventure. He is the ultimate guide; knows how to sniff out the best spots — hidden caves, deserted picnic spots, killer ruins, and unusual ethnic food haunts. He is a ravenous consumer of knowledge about all things great and small.
"Hey, so don't you think we should get married?" he asks again one day.
"Why?" I ask for the fiftieth time.
"Because I want you to be my wife," he says, startling me.
Later, he admits to me that, given his background, he's kind of shocked at himself that he wants to marry me for the right reasons. And I slowly begin to thaw.
It's not like I wasn't forewarned.
Pierre and I are seeing each other for about a month when he asks me to pick him up at his apartment for our date. Usually, he would come to my place in his van and we would go out in my car, seeing as it was a brand-new, hot-red, two-seater Subaru sports model, and he had to drive his van wearing a gas mask with glass goggles because of the fumes inside the vehicle. People were always having near-misses on the freeway because of him. They thought he was an alien.
When evaluating Pierre, I often thought to myself, Shouldn't I date people who are at least as together as I? Which, by the way, wasn't asking a lot. Aside from my new car, I wasn't all that far along on my pie-in-the-sky career path either. I lived in a studio apartment; I was in credit card debt up to my eyeballs, which, more often than not, were fixed heavenward, pleading silently with the powers that be to show me the way out; and I was still searching for job nirvana. But at least I have a good car and no roommates! Pierre, on the other hand, had three roommates — two young French guys and one American woman with remarkable French-speaking skills.
Nothing could have prepared me for the level of chaos in that apartment.
• • • • •
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