M and I had to search out a hotel room because there was no way for me to stay with he and his friend. M had never had to use a hotel in his own town so we immediately went to the closest one. It drew a QUICK veto from me, it was the nastiest hotel I had ever seen. We ended up instead renting a room for me in the "cheesiest" place I'd ever seen. Maybe one day I'll share a story about that, but I don't think you know me well enough yet. . .I'd never get you back if I described the place right now.
At any rate, we were extremely happy to see each other again, and M was amazed that I had come all that way just to see him. We spent a few days of him showing me around and doing minorly touristy things. This was the first time I ate samosas or found myself surrounded entirely by desis. M's little neighborhood was like a little piece of Pakistan, mixed in with a few scattered Egyptians and the random Saudi Arabian. I had never actually seen so many white beards in one place at the same time and in M's neighborhood, the people frequently wore Salwar Kameez. In the U.S. all of his friends completely wore Western dress, so this was a bit new for me too. The other new thing was that I had never really been around M and his friends when they spoke only Urdu or Hindko. Here, there were a lot of his friends that didn't speak English at all.
M had spoken to his parents about me before, but it had never ended well. He decided he should call them and tell them that he had decided he was getting married. I set about doing other things to clean up the hotel room, repack, get ready for lunch, anything to pretend to not be listening to his conversation, but I TOTALLY WAS.
He broke it to them slowly and then all hell broke loose. Apparently it started with his mother crying and then with his father yelling at him. His mother basically was sad that she wasn't going to be arranging his marriage but his father was livid. The conversation ended after 35 minutes of mother crying and father and son yelling at each other. This wasn't exactly what he or I had hoped for, but frankly it was what I had expected, at least feared.
I had, early on, made a point of asking M what his parents would think if he were to marry an American. He had told me a very well concocted story about how they would accept it and how they had told him he could marry whomever he wished. It was a nice story, but it was not the truth.
M called back the next day with the same result and on the third day he called back and his father told him that he needed to come to Pakistan. The pretense for the visit was that his father was sick. They said that M needed to be there to shuttle his father back and forth from the hospital. The plan was for his father to go to one of the American hospitals in Karachi and for this reason they wanted M to be there to take him to appointments and take care of him. Based on the sketchy information and timing, we were both pretty sure this was not the reason for the trip, but M was confident that if he went there he could not only help his father but he could convince his parents of his plans.
It was decided that M would go to Karachi on August 4, 2004. I knew I wouldn't survive too many months of separation, so I planned to coordinate another visit so that I could take him to the airport and see him right before he left. M thought it was silly for me to come, but he wasn't going to tell me no.
I returned home elated that my trip had gone so well, but crying the whole way.