“I’ve never been happier,” says Hialeah native José Cardenas shortly after taking a human-sized croqueta named Yumleidi as his bride.
The couple was married in a short ceremony in a ballroom located above a Goodwill in Hialeah Sunday morning.
Yumleidi’s father, and the chef who created her, Andres Garcia, delivered the bride from her home at an Islas Canarias in Kendall. Mr. Garcia told the Plantain that though he was initially disturbed to learn that Mr. Cardenas intended his fried concoction to serve as his bride, as opposed to just the appetizers, he blesses the union and even agreed to walk Yumleidi down the aisle.
But not everyone is pleased with the marriage. The Plantain spoke to Annette Cardenas, the groom’s mother, on the condition of anonymity, who told us that she does not expect the relationship to last. “Croquetas don’t keep. Everyone knows that.”
Florida law does not yet officially recognize the legality of a marriage between a man and his fried food, a fact that Mr. Cardenas says has no impact in his mind on the validity of his relationship. “We do not need society’s acceptance to validate our love,” said the tearful groom as he held his bride’s hand, getting oil everywhere. “All we need is each other.”
Despite these obstacles, Mr. Cardenas says he feels lucky that he and Yumleidi have been able to make it this far, telling the Plantain that their forbidden love almost ended before it happened:
“I’m a Hialeah man. She’s from an Islas Canarias in Kendall. It was like Romeo and Juliet,” explained Mr. Cardenas, who said when he and Yumleidi first got together his family was angered that he would start a relationship with a giant croqueta, let alone one that wasn’t ordered from within La Ciudad Que Progresa.
“People may look at me here like I am crazy. And they’re right. I'm crazy in love. Hialeah is supposed to be the City that Progresses. What’s more progressive than being able to marry the one you love no matter what society says?”
When asked for her thoughts on her unconventional marriage, Yumleidi remained silent, because she is, in fact, an actual croqueta.
“Yumleidi may be the silent type,” Mr. Cardenas explained, “but don’t let that fool you. Though she may have a hard, crispy exterior, on the inside, she’s a softie that melts not only in your mouth, but your heart as well.”
By Patrick Rodriguez of Villain Theater