American Love Stories
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Preparing For a Life of Being "Us"

Meeting Louisa

Closing the Age Gap

Journey to India and to Myself

Dialogue Excerpt: The impact of self-applied labels

So Close, Yet So Far Away.....

Our love story is about not just one, but MANY MANY differences. Pam and I met via the Internet. We talked in a game/chat room, got email addresses and ICQ numbers. We talked every day. We discussed ALL the topics that mattered to both of us: love, politics, philosophy. We were falling and we didn't know it. But two people could not be so different.

The first difference was that when we fell in love, I thought it was possible to fall for someone you have never met and she did not. We got over this fairly quickly when she fell, too, and couldn't deny it any longer. "I love you," she said. So much for that problem.

But others were not so accepting. "You met her on the internet, you fool!" "When will you guys see each other?!?!"

Well, we did see each other. In Montreal last summer. We met and re-fell in love. 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 U.S., 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. We have decided for now not to tell them because we want the most solid foundation to tell them from.

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 New York."

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.

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