Well, we did see each other. In Montreal
last summer. We met and re-fell in love all
over again. But our differences were only FULLY realized after we
met. Pam's parents are from India. Mine are white. I am from the east
coast of the US, she is from the west coast of Canada. She is a
semi-practicing Hindi, I am an agnostic still trying to search for
meaning in my life. Her parents are not rich but at least well off. Mine
have struggled to feed five children and only now are beginning to get
ahead. Our biggest struggle is over race. We can deal with not growing
up in the same financial background or on the same coast of the
continent. Those are minor. She has met my parents because I knew my
parents would be accepting and open to my love for Pam.
We have been together for a year and a
half. Her parents do not know I exist, even as her friend. They would
not accept me because I am not Indian or Asian. I am a white American.
There has to be something better out there for their daughter. We have
decided for now not to tell them because we want the most solid
foundation to tell them from. We want to show them our love and show
them that it not only CAN work but that it IS working.
When I show my friends the picture of
her, some are understanding. They see a gorgeous girl who I've fallen
for. Others are not so accepting. Like Pam's parents, some friends
notice our difference in color first. "She's not white, Matt...what are
you going to do?" "What did your parents say?" For the most part, my
close friends reacted well. They love Pam, and having met her, feel that
she is the right person for me.
Pam eats food that is completely
different from me. She practices a religion that is
foreign to me. Pam's parents understand things in a way I can't imagine
them. But I do not see our differences as a bad thing, but rather as a
great one. I will learn from her, she will learn from me. We have dealt
with our differences by using them as a positive aspect to our
relationship. It is not hard to find someone who is almost exactly like
you. The challenge is finding someone to complement you. Someone who is
everything you are NOT while still being someone you love and want to be
with and learn about.
You do not negotiate your difference once and leave it at that. It
doesn't work that way. Every time we talk about parents, we have to deal
with the fact that they do not know I exist. "I'll introduce you as my
friend from college," she says. Or, the other day, "I wonder what it
will be like when you meet them. They will put two and two together when
I tell them you are from NY."
When Pam visited me in Maine, I believe
she was the only Indian girl in the whole state! This created a few
tense moments. We were holding my niece (who is part Native American)
between us. A few cars drove by and gave us the double take. "Is that
YOUR kid?" they seemed to be asking. I am not sure we will EVER get
through to everyone that we belong together, but those who care about us
will come to understand it.
One night while we were together, Pam and
I were holding hands. I looked down at our hands and saw the
intermingling of her brown fingers with my white ones. Whatever
differences we have were most clear at that moment. We smiled at each
other, squeezed our hands a little tighter and laughed. It was the most
beautiful difference we've known.