About 24 years ago, when I was just 15 years old, I traveled to another country for the first time to visit a pen pal.
She was eager to see me, and was very much interested in learning about Guyana’s gold. Hence, she urged me to bring some gold along with other precious stones so that she can build a collection.
A few weeks later, after assuring her that I have the gold, and can afford my own ticket, she insisted that I travel to her country on the next available flight.
Enthusiastic about my friend’s apparent passion to see me, and about the trip itself, I departed my country, taking gifts of gold and precious stones; because I thought that it will make a good first impression anyway.
Even though I was 15 and she was 19, I was happy to see the delightfulness in her face after meeting her at the airport, and giving her somewhere close to 18 pennyweights of gold, along with some valued stones.
I ended up having a wonderful stay and was charmed by the love and care that was shown to me by her extended family.
So after staying for about 4 days I departed her country, (Trinidad and Tobago), and went back home.
Once I was back in Guyana she began to urge me to come see her again soon.
So on my 16th birthday, after agreeing to bring more gold, I went back to see her, but only with about 7 pennyweights of gold this time.
After meeting her at the airport and giving her the smaller amount of gold, her face immediately showed signs of discontent.
She told me frankly that she was not happy at all, because she had “lost” the first set of gold that I had brought and was hoping that I would have doubled the amount this time.
Thinking nothing of it, I assured her that I will come back again in two months with double the amount of gold. After all, I was eager not to disappoint her again.
But the reality was that I did not know where I will get an additional 40 pennyweights of gold to give her.
She did not realized that I had took my entire childhood savings unknowing to my parents to buy her the 18 pennyweight of gold the first time, and had actually used up my birthday donations to buy her the smaller quantum this time.
Nonetheless, she insisted that I come and see her within six weeks after leaving because she really likes me and wants us to effectively start a meaningful relationship.
Excited by her statements I departed her country after my weekend trip and went back to Guyana where I shared the seemingly good news with my friends.
After a few weeks in school, a few assignments and the end of term exams, the six weeks period was upon me, compounded by the vocal harassment by my friend for me to come back to Trinidad (and not to forget the gift of gold).
I told her that I was coming in two days and had already bought my airline ticket, but would not be able to bring any gold this time.
And even though she repeatedly asked me on the phone about the gold within that two days, I thought nothing of her desperation.
The truth is that I was not able to raise enough money to even buy one pennyweight of gold. So I simply promised her that I will make up for it after the impending trip.
I was practically broken and had nothing more than about $50 dollars to spend as reserve cash for my three day stay.
Even so, I wasn’t worried about money or gold.
For me, our newfound love was more important than the gold. And in any case, she had really wanted me to come to let us formalize our relationship.
But upon my arrival at Piarco International Airport, and easy clearing with immigration I found no one waiting for me this time outside the terminals.
Thinking nothing of it, I waited a few hours, and placed several unanswered calls to her home number, before deciding to take a cab to her address.
However, upon arrival at her house, her relatives told me that she was no longer living there and that I was not welcome, even though I saw her slipped inside the same house after I had exited the cab a few seconds earlier.
Knowing that I would only have $30 remaining after paying the cab for a one way trip, I decided to plea with her family (whom I thought was loving and caring) to just allow me to stay one night and then I will return home to Guyana the next day. But they insisted that it was not possible.
Tired, sweaty, hungry, shocked and exhausted, I had no other choice but to walk my way to the next bus stop (of course juggling a suitcase). I then took a bus that was going to downtown Port-of Spain in hope of finding a $20 room for the night.
Interestingly, I met a policeman on the bus with whom I shared my experiences, and whose late grandparents were Guyanese.
To my surprise, he took me home to his family, allowed me to refresh, give me a hot meal, and offered me a comfortable room to rest for two nights before giving me a ride to the airport on the third day.
But not before telling me frankly that I was being milked by the older girl, and was nothing more than a pawn in a big game of chess.
In his view, I must learn to separate myself from people who only need me when they can milk things from me.
The moral of my story is that sometimes people only gets close to you or share a relationship with you because they can benefit materially from you.
But if you no longer have those things to give to them or no longer owns the things that forms the core of your relationship with them, then rest assure that they would certainly leave you standing all alone in the cold.
This is true even in marriages of convenience, relationships of convenience, and material friendships.
And no matter what you try to do, relationships and friendships of convenience would always come your way. And sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we tends not be guided by the lessons that we have learnt from those types of people.
Because you might be surprised to know that even after my first experience, I still made the same mistake again and again by extending the same trust to friendships that repeatedly ground me into the same milking experience.
However, if my life experiences are anything that you would want to go by, then take a quiet and careful look at the people that are always wanting from you, and figure out whether they really wants you or is just wanting you for what you can give to them.
Because sooner or later, you would realize that once those material benefits stops flowing, they would certainly leave you stranded outside of the busy terminals of life.
Can’t say I never warned you.