Once upon a time…..
My life was dark, and grey. I was depressed, and felt hopeless about my future. I walked willing into many abusive relationships fully aware of the outcome each of those relationships would bring. Loneliness, self-loathing, and despair.
I felt as if my life was just on a constant loop. Never having the opportunity to change for the better. The curtains would forever remain drawn, and light would never make its way in.
Well that was until I met Çağrı. A Turkish citizen visiting the States to work for a year as a line cook. Intrigued by his worldly experiences, and passion for life I was somewhat interested in at least getting to know him. However, my constant loop was still in play, and I was more fascinated with the a truck driver who made me wait eagerly for his phone call that hardly ever came. I was smitten on another lost cause, because I felt that’s what I deserved.
Çağrı was ever so persisant on getting to know me, and I was only so eager to decline. Another guy, another heartache. One day, he somehow convinced me to meet him after he got off of work. Driving into downtown Cleveland, to meet some foreigner I’ve never met before was dangerous, and altogether stupid. However, I embraced the risk, because I simply didn’t care what could happen to me. Too weak to take my own life, but too willing to put my life at risk.
I picked him up, and found that the only place open late was Denny’s. We spent a couple hours enjoying Denny’s cuisine, and discussing our cultures, and our countries. The date lasted beyond Denny’s and into the wee hours of Monday morning. We spent the entire time just talking…
Still being hung up on the trucker, I ignored Çağrı’s calls. Until someone told me to take a chance on someone different. I made the habit of dating the same type of men, and I simply wasn’t giving the one who showed me kindness a chance. So I called Çağrı up, and he invited me over for dinner and to meet his roommate.
After a lovely dinner, that he created on his own calling it “Mandi’s Dream”, he presented me with a cookbook. He explained that he is a chef by trade, but it is also his love and passion. That before he dropped everything to attend culinary school, he felt that his life was going nowhere. He wasn’t happy. Before handing me my very own cookbook he inscribed that first page with a message in Turkish. Which translates to “Eat Pray Love” love, Çağrı
I decided to date him from that point on knowing very well that this relationship would be doomed. He was set to leave in August, and he made in clear that he had no intentions of staying. However the relationship kept blossoming, and my life was being painted with vibrant colors. I was learning a new language, learning to cook, belly dance, and to finally laugh.
Just the single thought of his inevitable departure would leave me in tears. He soon would become teary eyed when the topic was mentioned. Eventually resulting in us breaking up, because he felt it wasn’t fair to string me along when we were getting so close and he would be leaving in a matter of months. Then a few hours later, he asked to see me and said that he made a huge mistake.
We spoke for hours once he got off of work. His eyes filled up with tears, and he explained why he let me go. He shared with me that he fell in love once, and that they were in fact engaged, but she passed away from cancer. He explained that he couldn’t find it in his heart to love someone that way again until met me. Çağrı wept, and then asked me something I thought I would never be asked in my life. He asked me to marry him! He explained that he knows that the whole thing is a bit unorthodox, but he can’t imagine spending his life without me. I accepted, and we both cried in each other’s arms.
Knowing full well that we would be facing an uphill battle we decided to forgo the tradiotnal wedding, and try to save money for a lawyer. We are going to marry this Thursday (March 19th) at the courthouse followed by a potluck with friends.
However this fairytale won’t end in happily ever after marriage. Despite the fact that we will be husband and wife the government can and will seperate us unless we can hire a lawyer and pay for application fees.
I have a link for my GoFundMe page. We are trying to raise money for the legal and application fees, and start a life together. gofundme.com/VisaLoveStory