Overseas (over-to-see)

I was not motivated by greed. I was a child who had a humbling and humiliating experience growing up. I wanted to be the savior for my family. I wanted to give them a good life. I could remember my experience during my early schooling days. I loved school and wanted to give it my best but my parents couldn’t cover the expense. They were not able to cover one of the basic needs I had then.

There were days I slept on an empty stomach. My school uniform had holes in them, and my parents could not afford the necessary materials I needed in class. We struggled to survive because, as long as life was concerned, my family was simply surviving and not living. At a point, I dropped out of school to join my dad at work; at least, I felt it was the best thing to do at the time to better our situation. I was very much younger, and the rigors of the work took their toll on me. It didn't take long before I met a social worker who encouraged me to continue school; somehow, I managed to finish high school.

At this point, going to the varsity was the last thing on my mind. I was aware of the activities in my neighboring area. There were lots of violence and criminal activities going on at the time. Though I was not exposed to any form of violence at home, I had a peaceful home and parents who loved each other. They worked so hard in the interest of their children. They did their best to give us the good life they could afford. But then, my neighborhood was not far from giving me an experience of secondhand violence. It was at this point that I began to give leaving my country a thought. I had lived in Mexico from my birth till after high school. I didn't want the kind of future my neighborhood promised. I believed a brighter future awaits me in the United States, and I was ready to go for that. It was the best I thought of for myself at the time. I wanted to earn a decent living and change the life of my parents. I wanted to afford the kind of life they were not able to give me. I wanted to build them a better house. I felt indebted to them for all the sacrifices they made to raise me right from childhood. That was the core of my motivation to search for greener pastures in the United States.

I left for the United States, and things began to get interesting not long after I got there. My Aunt introduced me to a girl who was a senior in high school. I couldn't help but have a soft spot for her. You could call it to love at first sight or whatnot. I wasn't thinking of how to name my experience. I simply wanted to keep it going. In the early stages of our friendship, I would drive by her school at lunchtime to say hi. She felt the same about me, so I didn't have to do much work to get us rolling on the next level. I was not just interested in a relationship with her. I wanted more for us. I wanted her to be the mother of my children. I began to visit her at her family house. We weren't playing hide and seek. What I felt for her was genuine. I looked forward to spending more time with her, mostly during the weekends and any other weekday.

We got along so quickly, and I knew she was it for me. I didn't want to put her in the family way before we got official about what we were, so we were not living together. My intentions toward her were genuine and sincere, so I was willing to get things done the traditional way before we got rolling on a higher plane. I wanted a future with her. I wanted to wake up each day in forever and be the first to look into her face. I wanted to spend every fleeting moment and time with her under my roof for the rest of my days. So, I went ahead to ask for her hand in marriage.

When I thought I had finally made sense out of my life, the woman of my dreams, the one I couldn't wait to wrap my hands around, became my reoccurring nightmare. I didn't need to sleep to have this nightmare. This nightmare kicked away my daydreams, and each day, I kept enduring rather than enjoying my marriage. My wife's rage rose to the peak. She began to intimidate me incessantly. She screams and yells at me at the top of her voice like I was a houseboy she had employed to do chores for her. It made me feel uncomfortable and I didn't want our children to be aware of the drama going on between us. Her loud shouts made them scared. Sometimes they would have to rush into our room, and it would seem as though I was doing something to her.

I did my best to make sure I was never the reason for her rage, but the more I tried, the more it looked like she didn't need a reason to be enraged. It was a decision she had made. Whether I did something to spur it or not was not the case. I avoided every occasion that could result in physical combat with her, but she was always looking for ways to trigger such. She follows me around the house with rage boiling in her eyes, pushing me, slamming doors, and smashing things around the house to show her anger and exert dominance over me. She throws dangerous objects at me like her heeled shoes, dishes, ceramic figurines, and some other decorations we had at home. I managed to dodge them on some occasions, and when I was not so lucky, I was left with bruises.

She always made it look like I married her to gain legal status in the country. Though I needed legal status, it was not the basis for my marrying her. She was aware of my immigration status before with got married, and she never attacked me the way she does now that we are married. Even after we got married, I have never asked her to petition for me. Sometimes she brought up the talk and told me she could petition for me to get legal permanent residency. She got my hopes high each time she says this, only for her to bluff at me each time there was a fight, saying I should forget about ever getting any residency. She felt I married her just to take advantage of it to get residency, so she used my immigration status to control me. My current immigration status restricted me from a lot of things, and my wife's behavior made me feel stuck. She was not willing to help me secure residency since she thought it will give me grounds to cheat on her. She felt insecure about offering this help. On my part, I would not trade my marriage for anything. Against the odds, I always made efforts to make it work.

It was a traumatizing experience being treated with disdain by my wife. Sometimes I ask myself several questions about our relationship. It felt like I made a mistake, or I was blinded to a glaring sign at the onset. I never did anything to deserve such treatment from my wife. There has not been any occasion where I did anything to betray her trust in me. I could not wrap my hands around the reasons behind these treatments from her save the fact that she kept rubbing it on my face that I was illegal. She misinterpreted all my genuine support and care for her to be about what I hoped to gain from her. I lived in a constant depression under the manipulation my wife put me through because I don't have permanent residency.

Sometimes, when we have a fight, and she leaves for her mother's, I am sure she tells her mother unthinkable things about me and our relationship. She painted me as the black sheep, and of course, her family would believe her side of the story without asking for my side of the story. My relationship with her family was almost not existent. Whenever I am around her family, they gave me a look that suggested that I am just a camouflage of who I show myself to be. My wife must have lied about our relationship in a way that would favor her. Her sisters gave me the kind of look that suggested that I was not needed around. I didn't t like the vibes that came from them, so I avoided them. I didn't also want them around my children because of the negative influence they command. I knew my image was messed up in their eyes already because of what my wife had told them. It was just something I had to live with since I could barely do anything about it. When the only person who should stand by me gives me away, then my wall of defense will not make any difference.

I suffered a lot of accusations at the hands of my wife. On one occasion, she threatened to take her own life simply because she suspected that I was cheating on her. Meanwhile, she had access to everything that had to do with me, and I was never going to cheat on her. One of the days, she fulfilled her threat after accusing me of cheating on her. She took pills and wanted to end it. She said it would be preferable for her to pass out than to watch me cheat on her alive. This action from her kept me in perpetual fear each time she mentions anything about cheating.

Most of the time, I came home after work and met the house in a total mess, instead of confronting her, I go-ahead to do the cleaning since she was never going to do that. I felt for my children, and I didn't want them to stay in a messed-up house. So, I took the responsibility to do the cleaning now and then. My wife came up with several dramas from time to time, and all I did was act according to her demand.

I never attempted to argue anything she proposes, even when it goes against my wish. I allowed her to have anything and everything she wanted. Once, she asked that we separate for a year, but I didn't argue it or plead with her. I simply acted accordingly. During the period of separation, she insisted that the kids stay with her else, she would accuse me of kidnap and file a case against me. I knew she would stop at nothing until she got what she wanted, so I allowed her to have her way.

During the period of our separation, she turned my children against me. They didn't want to see me even when I made efforts to do so. I knew she had fed them with unthinkable lies as she had always done. This made me more devastated. I tried to put up with the fact that my wife has not been her best to me, and then I had to live with my kids thinking of me as a bad father. Though I was not comfortable with the whole drama, I still had to play nice with my wife to stop further damage to my relationship with my children.

I have always lived in manipulation. All I did was not what I wanted but what my wife wanted. My wife monitored my phone, messages, and social media. She had my passwords, and I suspected she tracks my movement too. She calls to ask where I was and threatened me about things I had never thought of doing. I was treated like a child. I had no sense of privacy in my life. I had to seek her permission and approval before I took any decision.

The emotional abuse I went through during our separation took a toll on me. I was forced to leave the house and stay with my cousin. She went with our children. One of the days, I came to visit them and fell from the bike, I went to ask her for help, but she bluntly refused to take me to the hospital. My children joined in the plea since they were not comfortable with her cruel actions, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. I felt unloved and forlorn. I still wanted to fight for our marriage after all this happened. I was broken the more when I learned that she cheated on me. Though she apologized, she still found a way to blame me. She justified her cheating by saying I was being pathetic. As long as she was concerned, I was the reason why she cheated.

I only wanted to be happy. I wanted to give my best in every of my life's endeavors. But all that I invested in my marriage never played out well. I kept getting blows upon blows on every side. She called me pathetic because I have always chosen peace over violence. Not for once have I ever occasioned any form of violence. I had always doused her every fanned-up violence. My wife made jest of me each time I made a blunder in English. I have never formally studied English. Even if I was not good at my spoken English, she should have played her role well by teaching me. I didn't get that support from her. I avoided speaking English around her since her mocking words always left me humiliated.

I knew I was the best husband to my wife, but she never seemed to appreciate that. At best, she has treated me as an object of her incessant rage. She controlled everything about me, down to my finances. She knew the tiniest details about things I do with my money but has never thought it important to fill me in on hers. Though she works, she spends all her earnings on herself and also demands a portion of what I earn for herself. Of course, I should take care of my wife, but I expected her to complement my effort as well. She had all my bank logins, but I dare not ask her how much she earns, let alone have access to her bank logins.

I only expected to suffer for my immigration status in the hands of the law, but now I live with a constitution knitted in a human frame who has lost her sense of humanity simply because she was aware of what the law has in store for my caliber of person.

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