See part 1 of my personal story of being targeted by an African romance scammer, but wising up just in time. Meanwhile, the tale continues…
So, after only a week I felt that Richard and I had really connected. We chatted on what’s app for much of every day, throughout our days at work, and afterwards, in the early evening too — interesting, funny conversation that never got smutty or awkward. We’d earnestly decided we needed to talk on the phone. “It feels like a first date,” Richard said excitedly.
The crackling line cut out constantly but it was fun, easy and natural, despite our cultural differences and his accent.
Two things made me uneasy though: almost immediately Richard made some reference to wanting to see me via video so that we could look into each other’s eyes and “fall in love”. That sounded strange and contrived.
The second was a faux pas that I rationalised as a slip of the tongue. He mentioned that he was planning to take “Richard” to the park the next morning. He said it twice, and each time I almost corrected him but due to the poor line quality I didn’t bother. Still, I found it odd that he’d said his own name for his three-year-old son’s, which was Vincent.
In the rush of affection and developing intimacy, however, I didn’t think too much about it. In our haste to see each other, we agreed to video call later that day.
We tried for over an hour but it was all black at his end, though I could see myself in the mini-screen and hear a garbled, discordant version of his voice. It was frustrating and irritating so we agreed to film short videos for each other instead.
That evening, Richard escalated things one step further in his messaging. He wanted to come to visit me, he typed. He needed to know if I was ‘the one’… if I was worth his time. He didn’t want to waste months or years talking to each other via text and videos.
He was going to book a plane ticket that night.
A wailing siren sounded in my head. It seemed ridiculous, but I wanted to believe him. I was so attracted to Richard and I liked his warm, quick-witted personality. He wasn’t afraid to hope, after all he’d been through. I knew his daily life was stressful and busy. Maybe I should give him a chance to prove he’s serious?
And so when he insisted that he needed to meet me, to give us a chance, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t want to waste my time either, and Richard’s reasons seemed sound. He had it all mapped out, but the only part I wasn’t tentatively hopeful about was the kid. I didn’t want to inherit a preschooler.
But, one step at a time, I thought. I’m not committing to anything. I’m not parting with any money either.
Richard was persuasive but he was also demanding and quick to take offence when I suggested we slow down and think it over. I was also concerned that he was rushing into something that was going to be an expensive lesson if it didn’t work out.
I went to sleep that night with a heavy heart. There was a niggling in my brain about the disconnect between his face and photos, and his voice. I had yet to see him speak to me via video, to say my name and something unique and personal to me.
This latest turn of events made me feel deeply uneasy. He’d ended our messaging that evening by saying sulkily that for the first time he was having doubts about us.
“If you don’t trust me, it will never work between us,” he said.