Chapter 9, part 1: Old Love Will Not Be Forgotten

It was fate. What else it could be? Mike and I had not seen each other for many years, and now we accidentally met in New York? Mike randomly went on Work and Travel student program to exactly the same place as Nela, and Nela brought him into my life again. It was meant to happen. It was the right time for us to be together. Now, when we both grew up and got mature. Now, we could start all over and fully love each other.😍

“I have to tell you something”, I started when Mike moved into my place, and I realized that I needed to explain something, if we wanted to live here together.
“I know we promised that we won´t talk about the past but there is something you need to know. I changed my name. Here in the US everybody knows me as Barbara.”
“What? Why did you change your name?” Mike was surprised.
“I had to escape from Slovakia. I was with some guy and…well, I don’t want to put it in details, sosimply I had to run away from him. I was scared that he could find me so I changed my name. My cousin Steve helped me with it. You know the one who lives in Prague. He arranged all the documents.”
“Oh my God, Klara who have you been with? You know what? I don’t even want to know. But what do you expect from me now? That I will call you Barbara? I won´t get used to it. You are my Klara.”
“You don’t have to call me by name. I told you this so that you won´t be surprised when we go out and meet someone who will call me Barbara. It will be enough if you don´t call me Klara.”
“Don’t worry, I will find some nickname for you. Only I will call you that.”

On the weekend we went shopping. I wanted to buy a brown hair dye as usual. Since I came to US, I was a brunette. Mike knew me as blonde, and he absolutely didn’t like my new color. Honestly, even I didn’t feel myself with dark hair. So I decided to buy copper hair dye and my plan was to slowly transition back to blonde.

Show me!” Mike was curious how my coloring turned out.
“What do you think?” I asked him.
“Much better than before. I already know what I will call you. Judy.”
“Judy. You look exactly like the small monkey from the TV series, Zoo.”
“Thank you very much.”
“I don’t mean it in a bad way. She was cute, the same copper hair as you. You will be my little monkey, Judy.” Mike grabbed and kissed me. I was happy.😍☺️


Weeks were passing and my world changed completely. It wasn’t only work, work, work but it was also, Mike, our time together, work, watching movies, work, making love, work, shopping together, work, cooking together, work, Skyping with our families, work and so on. We did everything together. We were together all the time, except work. All our free time was about Klara and Mike. We didn’t need anybody else. We were enough. We enjoyed each other´s presence. We were happy. Only he and I.👫💑❤️❤️❤️

Christmas was close and initially I wanted to already be home by then. But Mike´s arrival changed everything. My home was here in the US now. Let´s say a temporary home. Until we save enough money for a house. 🏠 This was Mike´s plan and I adapted to it. He wanted to create our future, and I didn’t argue. Actually, I liked it. His plans became my plans. We will stay here in the US for three years, we will save every dollar and we won´t spend it on bullshit, so that we can save enough money for the house in Slovakia. Mike already had an exact financial plan. We both had to send home a certain amount of money 💰💸or more every month, but never less than that because it would mean extending our stay in the US. We couldn’t imagine working that hard; six days per week for more than three years.🤦‍♀️

Mike googled some properties and land around our city, Kosice, and he did his research so that he would be ready when our time to buy came. The time would come when we had enough money to buy or build our house. Having a house and a family with me was Mike´s dream. It was always his dream, even back when we were eighteen. It was the reason why I broke up with him then. But now the situation was different. I was different. Now we had a real chance to make this dream come true. We were in America, and we earned enough money so it could work. I thought, “We will have a house without a mortgage, and we can live a stress and financially free life without a constant knife under our throats. It will be great!”😁🤩😎

“It will be great?!?” Barbara yelled in my head.
“What´s wrong? Mike is an awesome man. He loves us. Actually, he loves me, not you. We will earn enough for a house, and we will live happily ever after. No more mistakes and failures. No more assholes who want to take advantage of us. No more loneliness.” Klara melted.
“What about our dream about Australia? Did you forget about it? You wanted to go there too. It wasn’t only my dream.”
“I did forget.”
“Stop babbling!” Barbara couldn’t believe it.
“You know the truth. I wanted to go there because of The Liar. Secretly I hoped that we would meet over there so that I could show him what he lost. I wanted him to regret what he did to me. Only you wanted to go there because of school. You are the one who is the righteous fighter, not me. I´m already exhausted. I have changed my priorities, and to find out if The Liar regrets that he lost us is not worth all the effort. I would rather hold onto Mike, and we will live a peaceful life together.”
“I don’t know you anymore. Where is the adventurous Klara who hates boredom and routine? You are taking us into it. Do you realize it?”
“I´m not like this anymore. You are.” With these words Klara finished the discussion between her and Barbara. Barbara couldn’t believe that Klara completely submitted to Mike. She denied herself. She denied her other half, Barbara. Actually, why are we surprised? Last summer Barbara did the same thing when she dreamed her American dream. But it didn’t work. Barbara realized that they couldn’t exist without each other. They couldn’t deny each other. They would never be happy like this. They will always fight. They have to find a compromise. Barbara was determined to open Klara´s eyes so she could find herself and make her not to adapt to others. Barbara was aware of the difficulty of this task because Klara was broken. She was alone for long time. She needed support and having someone who would love her the way she is. That’s why she held on to Mike, and she was willing to do anything to make it work. But Klara didn’t see one thing; Mike didn’t love her as she is, but as he wanted her to be.

Two weeks before Christmas, my rental agreement for one year expired, but I had the option to extend it. But Mike didn’t want to extend the contract because he didn’t want to pay for the whole apartment if there were other options to rent. So he convinced me to move out and rent only a room in a common house where we lived with three Ukrainians and one Polish lady. We took what we needed with us and the rest of the furniture we sold. Our rental costs decreased by a third. Mike was very happy because it fit very well into his financial plan. But I wasn’t happy. I liked our privacy, and I really didn’t feel like living with strangers anymore, but I was aware that we needed to save as much money as possible. So I had to bite my tongue and just hold on. There were three years ahead. Three years of hard work and sharing the house with other people. Three years of saving every single dollar, but on the other hand, after three years it would be over. After three years, we were supposed to go back to Slovakia. We would get married, build a house and live happily until our deaths.

I love Christmas. The magical atmosphere always overwhelms me. I love Christmas decorations, Christmas meals, cookies, carols and fairytales. Simply, I look forward to Christmas like a little kid. Last year, I was totally alone at Christmas but at least I spent them in my own place with my own decorations. Since I had off only on Christmas day and the 1st of January, I barely noticed that it was a sad Christmas that passed very fast. But this year, Christmas was worse and better at the same time than last year. We didn’t have decorations or privacy, so we didn’t celebrate at all. It was just another day. Mike and I closed ourselves in our room, and we watched movies as we always did in our free time. 🎬 I didn’t even know it was Christmas. But at least we were together. The only thing that cheered me up was a picture of our future Christmas celebration in our future house. I thought, “In our future house I will do everything how it is supposed to be at Christmas. I will decorate, bake, cook, buy presents and I will be with people I love. I will be completely happy and until then, I just have to hold on.”

The whole following year passed this way and the next Christmas was already here. And it was an awful Christmas again. Everything was the same. Nothing changed. The same room, the same job, the same friends (so almost none). Mike and I sturdily stuck to the plan. We saved and we didn’t go anywhere to spend money uselessly. We are not machines, we couldn’t live like that.🤖 Work, work, work. But at least we had our love that made us going on.

Every week we called home and I felt like we lived their lives not ours. We talked about our families, how things were over there, who was getting married, who was pregnant and so on. We talk about where and how we would build our house. We lived like in virtual reality. We lived in our imagination about the future, and we forgot to live right here and right now. We didn’t live at all. We were just getting ready for our life after.

Time flew by. The rollercoaster didn’t stop. 🎢 It even got faster, and I felt sick. The summer was coming, and I didn´t know how to keep going. I just couldn’t. I felt so sick. I couldn’t stop the hamster wheel. Everything at work got worse in the last half year. After the New Year, I got new clients and they made it pretty harsh for me. I went to the work with aversion. It mentally put me down, and my physical health wasn’t much better either. A bit after Easter, I got swelling in my knee. I never felt such pain before. I couldn’t stand up or even bend my knee. I spent the whole week in bed. On one hand, I got a bit rest, but on the other hand, I didn’t earn anything that week. That fact seriously affected our financial plan. But Mike was understanding. He wasn’t upset with me.

“It´s all right, Judy. Health is at the most important.”
“I know but I´m not helping you at all now.”
“You know what? You are here a year longer than I am. You worked so hard a year more, and I don’t wonder that you are tired, and that affected your health. We should go on a vacation. At least for a few days. What do you think?”
“Really? It would be amazing! I really can´t continue like this. The routine is killing me, and I definitely need a change.”
“I understand. We can go to Atlantic City. It is close, so we don’t have to fly.”
“Good. I can´t wait.”

A few days before we went to Atlantic City, I changed my job. Actually, I didn’t change my job but  just my employer. I couldn’t work in the previous cleaning service anymore. It wasn’t possible. I just couldn’t . Absolutely not!❌ Something happened and I literally escaped. I escaped again. I always escape. It´s just me.🏃‍♀️… (Side story coming soon)

Until we went on vacation, I stayed home and searched for a new job. Fortunately, I found it very quickly and I arranged for my first working day to be as soon as we came back from a long weekend in Atlantic City.

I couldn’t wait for the weekend in Atlantic City. I desperately needed mental and physical rest. Only Mike, me, the ocean and the beach💑🏖️. The perfect combination. Our hotel was right on the boardwalk so everything was very close. We spent the days laying down on the beach, swimming, and from time to time we had something to eat from a nearby fast-food place. Besides that, we just enjoyed each other. With him I forgot everything bad. I felt happy and safe. I wanted to stay like this forever. Only him and no troubles. No suffering. Never again. Please.🙏

On the first evening, we just jumped into bed because we were so exhausted from the sun. On the second evening, we went to dinner, and then took a walk on the beach. It was dark, the sand was cold, and we could hear far-away sounds from the busy Boardwalk. We walked farther and farther from the light and noise until we stopped walking. Mike kneeled down and proposed. 💍 In that moment, everything stopped existing. I had tears in my eyes and I said ´yes´.❤️❤️❤️

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