|You're looking at two hearts. And a forensic pathologist.|
Dear Immigration Officer,
I didn't know what to expect of this sweetheart I met online. That was in September 2009. Albert and I got to talking, and doing video calls, as is customary with these introductions, and I agreed to meet him in person three months later. There is something disarming about him that made me throw all caution to the wind and just say yes to meeting him in person.
I admit that I could be careless, but this felt safe, for some reason.
I cannot forget December 27, 2009 because that was when I finally met him in person. Albert is a dashing and handsome fox at 56. I was 26 then. Yes, ours is a May December affair, and it is pregnant with equal measures of caution and abandon. I remember well how he told me, with this smile in his voice, that I was the one he's looking for. And then, in the midst of the bustle in that busy airport, he hugged me. Tight. That was two days after Christmas, and it still felt like sunshine.
We got to know each other better during his ten day visit. He's a real gentleman, and he overflowed with manners and he treated me with this unprecedented care. Was I fragile? No. But the way he was with me, the way he regarded me and took me in his arms, it felt right. Finally, something felt right in my 26 years, and I couldn't have been any more grateful than I was back then.
It was amazing how things got better, how we took off, for he was back after a month, and then some more. His visits were frequent; he returned to the Philippines to see me 16 more times after we first met, and I was happier each time.
I will apologize now for the cliche, because the truth is, there are no other words. Albert is a dream that came true, and he materialized into this amazing man, and he is my amazing man. And then, at the height of my happiness, he surprised me with a proposal.
Our Holy Union Ceremony took place in August 2010. I know it is rather sudden, rushed, even, but how can I say no to this man? To this dream? I am aware of his prior trespasses, for his honesty was admirable. He admitted everything to me before we got married, no, United, and I have learned to accept him for everything that he is and for everything that he's been through.
The Filipino gay culture is more than being attracted to the same sex. We want to look like women, we want to be loved as women, we want to be women. I cannot get over the fact that Albert continued to love me even after my sexual reassignment surgery. I had my sudden reservations then. Will he continue loving me without my boy parts? That was critical, decisive, even, but he supported me regardless. Would you believe that he financed my operation? And we're still a happy couple to this day. He never, ever, abandoned me, and his sunshine is as warm as the day I first met him in 2009.
And so I ask you this, dear Officer. How can I not love him more? I never left him, I never did, and this was a decision that I have never, not once, regretted. Albert really is the one, and I am fortunate to have been united with him, if only in spirit.
But then, as good fortune would have it, same sex marriage has been legalized in some parts of the US. This was in 2013, and I am seeing this as the one real proof of my unwavering devotion to Albert. We have five years of trust and loyalty and mutual affection behind us, and we are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together. I intend to marry Albert as soon as possible, as soon as the opportunity presents itself, and I cannot wait to say yes, in a real ceremony, to this sweetheart I met online five years ago.
John Peter Pascual