I've never been good at hiding my feelings or keeping secrets. I figure my personal life is everyone's business...whether they want it or not. Occasionally I suffer over-share regret but mostly I find it keeps me relaxed. I figure if I tell everybody everything, I never have to stress about remembering which version of myself I have to be with different people. I am just openly, honestly me with everyone I know.
This strategy had always worked well, until Juan. When I'd first told my friends about my Cuban adventures and his starring role in them, they'd been amused and impressed. Many had shared their similar travel tales. I marveled again at my naivete. How had I gotten through life this far without knowing about all these Canadians having vacation romances with Cubans? How did everyone else already know that the entertainment staff at the resorts were really the 'wink wink nudge nudge' entertainment staff. Hearing about the highways of Jorges and Pedros and Julios and Maykels that had been well-traveled by all those who had gone before me started to chip away at my happy memories with Juan. And seeing as I can't hide anything, my sadness showed.
'You're not actually thinking of going back are you?!'
'You know it was all an act right? It was his job to seduce you!'
'There's a new planeload of tourists arriving every day, trust me, he's already moved on!'
'Don't fall for it, he is just trying to scam you!'
'How could he have feelings for you? He doesn't even know you!'
'He's just trying to get to Canada, you need to cut off contact!'
The tough-love advice flowed fast and free from concerned friends and family once they realized that my carefree island love affair was lingering a bit too long. I reassured them that I knew they were right. I told myself I knew it too. Yet we all saw the way I lit up every time a message from him appeared in my inbox. We all heard the way I added a wistful 'but maybe...' to the end of all the realistic warnings.
I knew my friends were right. I knew there was no way this relationship could work. I knew this fantasy had to come to an end before I let myself get scammed out of something more serious than a few beers and some loving. But maybe...
I knew I had to start hiding.