She was the “guilt-free” technician of mending broken hearts. She played the “love em and leave em” game ever since puberty fell on her doorstep, but all was not lost on her cold and empty heart. Her blood did run warm after all. She knew how to grab the attention of the needy and broken-hearted without having to give too much of herself. She was good at it, even if that was all she was good at. She could write the most beautiful words in the world, words so incredible and sentimental that the most macho of men would shed a tear or too by the end. Words flew freely within the depths of her mind. Thanks to the many books she read on long nights and to the many song lyrics she read while trying to ‘live’ in her lonely apartment. She was better at writing than talking. Her tongue always had a way of tangling up any meaning of truth.
Perhaps that was why she never stayed longer than she had to.
It wasn’t that she was afraid. Fear did not take up residency in her life. It wasn’t that she was bitter like other scorned women in her time or before. She had nothing to be bitter about. There was never enough time to figure out bitterness. No, it wasn’t about the usual, the ordinary excuses, the boring reasons. The truth was she could never get out what she wanted to say. When she’d try beginning a conversation she would fall flat on her face while staring at the bewildered facial expression of the guy in front of her. She was never a good conversationalist. She spoke too quickly which sometimes led to stuttering, she rambled, she hated her voice.
So she drank, and heavily at that, and said very little to soften cupid’s blow (from mystery mans end) and in 15 minutes or less they were in bed (whose ever was closest) and it was enough for her. As you may have noticed, she found most of her one-night-stands in a bar- no conversation can be heard over loud bar music and crowd conversation. And when it was all said and done, there was no time for snuggling, for small talk. But she wasn’t rude either. She’d walk out to her balcony, draped in only a sheet, and stare out into the darkness while her man of the hour slept. If it happened to be ‘his’ place, she’d slowly dress, look out the bedroom window or sometimes sprawl out on the bed while listening to his praises of her attractiveness, her sexual bed manners. And if he left his number she wouldn’t throw it away, but she wouldn’t call him. Instead, she’d send crafty text messages; words she would give anything to be able to say in person. Once in a while an exchange of e-mails would be made. It was then and only then that she would feel luck crawling her way. A written relationship just might work. If he could just enjoy reading and not ask so many questions in person… but it never failed, they want to talk in the end. They wanted to know the whole life story, they wanted to know why and when and how, like a toddler learning the ropes of life.
You would think that these men, these lucky pinch hitters of the night would be grateful to be in the presence of a woman who hardly said a word, who didn’t go in with commitment on her mind. But you would be surprised at how easily men become wounded, like a scolded puppy. Could it be that their egos have been crushed? Is it different when the shoe is on the other foot? In the end they always send begging, eager responses to her text messages. “Was it me?” “Did I say something wrong?” and occasionally the sullen “Why do you have to be such a bitch?” If they only knew, would they care? Would they try to justify the minor handicap that hinders being social? Would they welcome it with open arms? She would never know.
She has dreaded public speaking since grade school. All eyes on her, all ears focused on the sound of her voice. The sound of a boy playing the part of a girl in a play. That’s how she sounded in her head. Her words were never beautiful when said out loud, void of all meaning and sentiment. She thought of getting help, but this way just seemed easier; best even. Why change a good thing? She would never give a child her horrible voice, she would never have to recite wedding vows and she’d never have to meet ‘his’ family. It was for the best.
It was easy if the one night stand was just that, but loneliness was never simple. She longed for love some days, when the weather was grey or the snow was heavy. She ached for another heart to beat close to hers. It was never painless on cold nights when the comforter was never enough. It became a sacrifice. Give up in order to be.
If the sexual relationship was bordering on serious, she would walk away first, leaving behind the most artistic, moving letter anyone could ever compose. Words she would love to drip from her lips, words that would leave a soft caring tone like a fine tuned melody. But for now it would just be words on paper; meaningful and beautiful, but just words in the end.
I can never be a mother. Not because I’m a bad person or unfit. I can just never be a mother. I don’t think I’d be able to handle the bad days. It would be so difficult to give everything I am to this someone who might hate me in the end. Someone that wished I was dead because I grounded them, or because I took away their prize possessions.
I wouldn’t be able to handle rejection, and I am jealous that it rolls off the backs of others. Knowing that I took care of this someone, whom I labored for hours and it not meaning anything in the end, that would be worse than death itself.
It’s bad enough that I cried for you Gina as you sat in your stroller, terribly sick. I rocked you back and forth because that was the only way you could sleep, crying and praying to God to make you better. It’s bad enough I would eat the food you couldn’t or drink the fluids you wouldn’t while grandma was yelling at you to do it. If I had known you’d grow up unappreciative of my sisterly love and care, I never would’ve come back your senior year. I would’ve continued trying to find my own way in this small world.
The truth is that I do have you in my life now but it has become so difficult. I wasted years of my life in the depths of guilt trips and anguish. I blamed myself for not being there for you, for not getting you out and into a better environment. (how could I when I wasn’t in one myself)? I tried to make it up to you when you were a senior in high school. I thought if I helped you improve your knowledge and self-confidence then maybe you wouldn’t think less of me for leaving. I couldn’t have been more wrong. You fed off my guilt and played me so to speak. Who am I kidding, you did exactly that.
I gave you all of my love, argued with those around me who spoke ill of you. You looked the other way. I tried; impatiently to help you with your schoolwork, to speak with your teachers. Our grandparents raised you and now, with grandma gone, I felt it was up to me to step in. I couldn’t count on mom because she left us out in the rain, and I couldn’t count on our sisters because they had families of their own. I had no one and nothing in front of me so I had plenty of time.
In the end you didn’t care. Your answer to everything was and still is “I don’t know.” What kind of b.s. is that? Why can’t you read a simple book Gina? Why is it so hard to listen to me, to your teachers? Each question answered by a simple uncaring “I don’t know.” I hated the fact that I couldn’t get you to love yourself, to make you believe you were better than anyone said you were (and you still are). I hated arguing with you while you believed in their lies, living with the notion that you were stupid.
I love you with all of my life, my being, and you can’t even understand the simplicity of it. That in itself is so hard to deal with and I’m not even your mother. I live each day knowing that you ran in the arms of the first boy who would take you without running to us first. You got pregnant for every wrong and idiotic reason you could think of. You turned your back on us in the end and yet I’m still here, trying to show you how loved you are. If this isn’t motherly instincts than I don’t know what is.
I will no longer take it. I shouldn’t have to. Imagine if this was a mother/daughter role. This would devastate me even more. This would break my heart in more ways than you could ever fathom. What is so hard about letting people in and accepting their love? Why can’t you be grateful that you have people who love you and want to be there for you? I’ve always believed in you. You never tried and that hurts worse than you not caring about me. You gave up on yourself for stupid selfish reasons and you dragged me along for the ride. I feel stupid and pissed off. If I was a mother I’d probably give up and lock the door to my heart, swallowing the key.
As a sister, I feel like doing just that. It was easy for you, why shouldn’t it be for me?
This is why I choose not to be a mother. To live with pain and anguish from someone as selfish and uncaring, someone who can only think of themselves unless they are in trouble or afraid, why suffer through it? My heart was never meant to take the pain. My heart was meant to pump love and forgiveness, safety and strength. Having to hear “I hate you!” for the stupidest of things makes me want to throw up. It’s true, you’ve never said that to me, but then again, you’ve never said anything less than “I don’t know” or anything meaningful to me and that is worse.
A mother is strong and can take the punches. I wasn’t meant for that. A mother is willing to sacrifice, no matter the cost, to protect her son or daughter. I would sacrifice too much. I am done trying and you’re only my sister. For once, maybe you should ask our mother why she didn’t feel like playing a part in our lives. I’m done asking.
I wanted you to show me. Wherever you were, wherever you stood. That life and love were not fantasy, that something could be blissful and exist at the same time. But it wasn’t the right time for you and I. Had I known this; I would have waited patiently for you, spending my time doing something constructive. I have spent what feels like an eternity stuck in the dark, waiting for your loving hands to rescue me. I have sung and wrote too many sad songs in this lifetime. So much so that now my heart is full.
Where were you in that day and age when every wall, should’ve tumbled down? I’ve been waiting to be lifted up, so tired of holding on to hopelessness trapped within the four walls of my broken heart. Where were you my love? Do I curse God for making us wait forever? Of course not. For who am I to make haste what needs to fall into place at the right time?…
I’ve tried looking in the eyes of boy’s that I thought were you, but I was blinded by many things; misguided by the mistake of thinking love was being a SAVIOR. I thought I fell in love at 15, but how foolish of me to believe in love at such an age. Love wasn’t a part of my home life, how could I know what it felt like from the outside? I didn’t know how to love myself; he didn’t know how to love himself, and in the end I mistook love for belonging, because I didn’t want to be alone in a cold and lonely world. I thought he was the one, I thought he knew what it was like to love but I was wrong. We were just two kids trying to find something that didn’t belong to us. Trying to believe in a true love that everyone else would shun. I hung on to my responsibility and tried to save him from his self. I learned to grow wings and try to shelter him; taking in the pain and sadness he didn’t want to endure. My pain and loneliness were put on the shelf to ease his mind. GUILT was the glue that held us together. In the end I was left alone, holding on to my cold brittle wings, deciding that I wasn’t good enough to save him. But in the end, and many wasted years later, I now know that it was he that was never good enough for me.
I tried again at the age of 21, thinking that I was an adult now and things would be different. But still, he wasn’t YOU. And again I was blinded, mistaking love for PITY. I still wasn’t able to love myself and yet I believed that I could learn to love this boy who didn’t know how to love me back. I hung on and with outstretched wings took in every hit and every threat in order to make him feel important. I tried desperately to save him from his anger and disgust at failing in life. I didn’t realize that it was his own fault for failing and that I could do nothing to make him see the error of his ways. Life became dangerous and unnecessary, leaving nothing but angry echoes and purple bruises. I loved his family who took me in, more than him, and that became the hardest thing to let go of. With broken wings and a broken spirit, I convinced myself that it was time to move on because I couldn’t convince him of anything.
At the age of 25 I had seen a bit of the world and felt that I had finally learned to love myself. Again, I was wrong as I looked into his eyes for the first time. I was sure this was it, with those gentle eyes and wonderful smile. But I was blinded by false hope and sweet talk. Instead, I opened my wings and became a mother figure to a man who was 3 years younger than I. I mistook love for nurturing and didn’t see the rocky road ahead of me. I stayed for two and a half years, trying hard to succeed in life, for once. In the end it wasn’t about the relationship anymore. He was the one I wanted to give my hand to, but what I didn’t want to accept was that the further into the light I tried to take him, the farther he pulled us both back into his own darkness. I was a foolish girl thinking that love was all about being a savior, a MARTYR, and a good girl. I was foolish for putting others before me and my life. In the end, with half torn and battered wings, I turned my face away and let his darkness consume him.
The last time I tried was at the age of 28. I even did things differently. I became a friend; a companion of the intellectual kind, and our friendship was at its highest point in life, fulfilling me at last. I knew it had to be YOU. This was the way it was to be, and my heart was ready. I found myself in a promising position only to find myself alone and angry by the time I boarded the plane back home. I mistook love for comfort and SETTLING, hoping that love would run its course and everything would fall into place. I wasn’t strong enough for this made for television relationship. I tried to hang on, tried to keep the friendship first, but it wasn’t the same in the end. I didn’t want more than I could already give, but I stayed because I was afraid of failure, of being motherless, of standing alone in a world I didn’t want to embrace. In the end I let go of the chance to stay in a dead-end relationship and start a family with a man I could never love. In the end, I tore both wings off and set myself free. Free of waiting, free of trying, free of hoping for YOU to walk into my life. In the end, I boarded a plane and I never looked back.
Friends have come and gone, and few have dared to stay and live out this life with me in it. And sometimes friends are all that matter. Through thick and thin, through muddy waters and in sin, we always have each other to lean on. I have been dug out of many ditches; stitched up, sheltered from the cold, even tortured by truth, and this is the part of my life I’d never change. I’ve been happy with the few friends in my life. Sometimes they make the struggle less painful, especially when it comes to not having you.
So why look further for your loving arms? Why wait patiently while the grey hairs begin to wake up and the wrinkles around my eyes stretch a little farther? The years are flying and my friends are still left standing, still living their lives, still loving their loves. And somewhere deep inside, I still believe in you, in me.
Today is a new day. I’ve decided to stop looking for you. I’ve decided to live and not worry about what door you’ll be walking through, to just build this life of mine up so that I can be proud of myself, for once. No more looking, no more dreaming, and no more believing in sappy 80’s love songs.
Today projects will begin. I’m going to finish writing my book, I’m going to pay more attention to my younger sister, and I’m even going to work out (a little), even if it kills me. I’m going to get more involved with the Internet. I’ve been missing out on so much. There’s a whole world out there. I think I’d like to travel as well. Spain looks lovely, hmm, maybe Iceland too.
Today I’m going to open up a page on the Internet that is all about me showing all of my interests and passions. I’ll even throw some of my mixed up poetry because that too is a part of me. All of my friends and family will even have some thoughts to share about my work, and I’ll catch up with others I haven’t spoken to in years. (Some may act like my friends, but in the end, when all is said and done, I’ll know better.)
I will still go out with those few very close friends that I have, and I will have a good time and in the background I will still be a bit lonely because I’m missing YOU. I’m missing our midnight conversations that we’ve never had and our fun adventures that we haven’t planned. And my friends won’t recognize my sadness because I will hide it so well. I will be too busy relishing in their happiness. But without knowing it, I will become stronger, more confident, right before my very eyes.
I will survive family functions. No mother, no father, instead I’ll be surrounded by my sisters and nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins and their children. I will breathe in their happiness because indeed I am truly happy for each and every one of them. And even though I’ll be empty and lonely in the background, they’ll only see the twinkle of my eye, my fashion statement of the week, and the laughter I find hard to contain.
The Internet will keep me going. I’ll find out about other places in the world I’d like to visit: Maine, New Zealand, Alaska. My friends will stop by and say hello, and even a stranger here and there. And most guys will try to sound like YOU in the beginning and I will see right through them and they will remain behind closed doors. I will indeed make new acquaintances, but there will never be a good friend like the three that I have now.
Today I will begin my search for a stable job, nothing exciting, but I’ll earn a living again. I will feel like I’m back on top of things, secure and ready to help those who have helped me. I will even spoil myself every once in a while because it will be necessary. I will work the odd hours, interact with my 2nd generation of cousins, stay close with friends and family, and learn to accept that life isn’t always roses, and that even some roses come without thorns.
And my job will be odd hours, but I’ve no BIG social life so the hours suit me fine. My job will make me miserable and I will learn the new meaning of slave labor, crappy pay. I will stay up till the early hours of morning writing and sleep in till the afternoon.
And then on an average night like tonight when I can’t sleep and the words are just itching to come out, I’ll pop onto the Internet and check my messages and comments, and there YOU will be; this beautiful MYSTERIOUS stranger with originality written in delicate words. I will be taken by surprise at first, thinking that it must be an old flame with a change of heart and direction, but I will know better instantly. My heart will flutter, even after the fifth time I have read this simple, yet perfect message (for my eyes only).
After the sixth time in a row reading it, I will respond to your inquiry.
At first, I will speak briefly because I am not jumping to conclusions. You write intellectually well and that is interesting to me, but I think nothing more of it. You might become a new friend, from afar, and that is safe and friendship is all I have room for. I’m through with dating anyway. After a couple of weeks we will break the “via email” cycle and exchange phone numbers and even though we are just friends, I will secretly be nervous hearing your voice for the first time.
Our first conversation will begin at 11:30 p.m. and end around 5 in the a.m. and will consist of our likes and dislikes, music, and movie trivia. You will make me laugh and your voice will sound so strong, so confident, as we exchange stories of life and experience. You will hear the softness in my once vibrant voice and know that I am “winding down”, and we will say goodnight until we speak again. Before floating off to sleep, I will realize that I haven’t laughed that hard in the past 4 years. I will be left smiling, left dizzy. Friendship is a wonderful safety net. (Why doesn’t my heart stop fluttering)?
Our conversations will begin in the late hours of the evening when I get home from work and won’t end till the early hours of morning when you leave work. Words of experience, of similarities, of humor will pass through our lips and life will have new meaning. Your voice will make me unconsciously giddy; our conversation will make me innocently nervous. I will secretly wish that you only lived 2 miles away instead of 200. On Oscar night we will laugh about how we hate award ceremonies but secretly hope that “Crash” will win the Oscar for best movie. On my birthday I will be walking to the bus stop, on my way to work, and when I answer my phone you will begin by singing happy birthday- to me.
With each new day we will become a little braver, planning trips to Universal Studios, to the beach, to Disneyland, one fine day, and secretly the excitement will be stronger than imagined.
But just when things couldn’t be better between the two of us, the fear will creep in and I will suddenly call less and less. Our conversations will become shorter and shorter until they will begin and end with hello and goodnight in less than twenty words. My head will be ringing with objections, with doubt and confusion. You can’t be the one, the one I thought I had found so long ago. It can’t be this easy, this SIMPLE.
And at the same time tragedy will strike within my life and I will return to my 2nd home to be with family in this time of sorrow. Sadly, I will leave you wondering, “What happened to her?” This will be the worst thing I will put you through because I will come back a different person, half empty, terribly sad, fading away, and I will stop calling you because I won’t have anything clever to say, and because we all die in the end anyway so why try? What a fool I will become all in the name of death and anger. (I will forever be sorry for putting you through this.)
But life won’t end there. Death is certain, but life keeps going on and some people, some really good deserving people sometimes get a second chance. And a couple of months later, I will gather the courage and I will find you again. I will be terrified and NERVOUS, but I will leave you a message, hoping you will respond.
And we both know the answer to that one.
Finding each other will never feel as good as that moment. And little by little I will come back down to Earth, and let you in a little more each day. And this time I won’t let you go, ever. Your friendship will be more important to me than any life experience I’ve had. Every night and every morning, God will hear a thank you from my lips and slowly, my heart will begin to heal. And I will learn to take things slow rather than bring them to a halt.
I will be a bit nervous, hoping I didn’t lose you altogether. I will call you as much as possible, hiding the sadness of its absence when I am at work. I won’t be afraid of my feelings and shelter them from harm. I will do what feels right and I will LISTEN to my mind as well as my heart…
On a day just like today, I will be ready an hour early. (Actually, I will be a couple of hours early.) The sun will be just as bright, if not brighter than other days. The colors surrounding me will all be vibrant and picturesque. I will be dressed and pacing my best friends living room. I will be nervous and anxious, but excited at the same time. Today is the day that I will put all of my hopeful planning on the shelf and live out my dreams.
Today will be the first time in your presence. Today is the first time I will be close enough to hug you, to take in the scent that is you. I think my room is proof that I’ve changed more than twice before choosing the right outfit.
When you arrive I will watch you exit your car, notice how tall you are and thank God I wore platforms. I will walk down the porch steps praying that I don’t fall and make a fool of myself. At the perfect moment we will embrace and your hug will feel stronger than I imagined. You will open and close the door for me, which I will not be used to. My smile will never lose its vibrancy.
However, the day will fall on bad timing (you know why), but having so much fun with you will have made it worth the while. (Thank you for being a team player.) So much that watching you leave at the end would break my heart. I once read a saying that said “Love is friendship set on fire”. I think cupid’s arrow hit its mark, but the effects were just slower than usual (on my end).
From the music you played to the places we visited, it was fun from the moment the day began. From the moment we had to make a quick stop for some Motrin to the realization that I was falling asleep during the late screening of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in 3-D, everything will be better than expected. In the end I will ask myself “How could a whole day fly by so fast?”
On a day like today this will be the third time that you make the trip down to pick me up. The long two-hour drive will eat up your gas and you will go out of your way, but you will do all this for me. This is all so new. And in between our wonderful outings, our conversations will become braver, deeper, honest and to the point. We will be unsure of one another, but inside, our hearts will yearn, our dreams will yearn for one another and I will have to believe that YOU are finally here. The YOU I have been looking for all these years.
On our way to the movies, you will play a few songs that grab my attention. I will find my heart fluttering wildly sitting next to you. My palms will sweat lightly, it will get very warm in the car (even with the air on), and I will feel this new-found love in my heart. I will be so scared and hating myself for not giving in right away.
We will try to stall the end of the night but will be too chicken to agree to anything. And when you drop me off, your embrace will be guided with a kiss on my cheek. I will melt quietly inside, but kick myself for not returning the gesture. (That night I will get grief from everyone because I didn’t ask you to come in.)
The next time you and I meet it will be on your side of the tracks. It will be a little after midnight and I will be driving in strange territory but so excited that nothing else matters around me. The drive will be filled with two hours of nervous anticipation. The windows will be down, hair blowing wilder than a Bjork video. The night will be dark, the ocean to my right, a never-ending darkness. The 75 miles an hour I’m risking still won’t be quick enough. And inside I will be sorry that you had to wait the whole day for me to arrive but my smile will be constant, even if I am a bit sleepy.
Our hug will feel just a little awkward, like meeting for the first time all over again. But the feeling will end the moment it is felt. You carry my overnight bag and we head into your apartment.
Our second day will give me the push that I needed. The realization that you were “The One” I waited for. I knew it would be you, but fate has a funny way of making doubt look so inviting.
We will drive to every beach you can think of with your music playing, you behind the wheel. I don’t think my smile has faded since the previous night. The day will truly be perfect. People are wrong when they say nothing is perfect. People who say those things have never experienced the beauty of their surroundings in such a different way. As if every song playing went with each conversation, with each setting; a complicated puzzle seen in another light.
On a day like today, we will stop at a certain beach, walk around, and I will slip my arm around yours and become much closer. On a day like today I will give in to love, to joy, to butterflies in my heart, to tears from saying goodbye. On a day like today I will let you in and I won’t hide anything from you. You are finally here, the one I’ve waited so long for.
And when the day is over and you are done caressing my feet, sleepiness will draw nearer, and I will ask you to share the bed with me because I will feel safe lying next to you. We will make small talk and you will put your arm around me before saying goodnight, kissing my shoulder. My soul will silently cry, will melt the scars from past relationships away. I will end up in your arms, face to face, and at the right moment you will lift up my chin and kiss me. (Later on you will confess that you couldn’t believe you didn’t kiss me more that night). We will be just like that movie where the guy gets the girl and every teenage girl will cry, wanting that feeling like I once did.
Sleep will be heavenly, deep, and unforgettable. Lying next to you will be where I want to see myself always.
I can’t believe you finally found me.
It began at a bus stop in nowhere-ville, California. I had a backpack full of music and a suitcase half filled with books. New Mexico was my destination and my past; left in the dust void of a forgettable city. As the heavy burden of tires rolled on, I didn’t think to look back once. I was 25 and jobless once upon a time, useless, without any room to find myself. It was at that moment I had finally found all the room in the world.
I boarded this dirty, stuffy sub on wheels, filled with awkward strangers and began my 20 hour journey; hopefully towards something better. I was ready for change, ready to fall in love with the idea of being an unknown and meeting someone just like myself. Ready to try a new approach to life, leaving the old me behind. I was finally over Juan, over the stress my family gifted me with and ready to take on anything.
After 20 hours of sleepless, back aching anxiety, I finally arrived in this slow thriving town on a cold November morning. I was thrilled at the snow falling lightly and the cool air on my skin. This was something I wasn’t used to back home and already, life seemed promising. That was until the moment we arrived at my fathers’. My father who had already been here half his life had arrived in his fading blue ’57 Chevy to pick me up. It was an uncomfortable yet gratifying moment, looking at him as I walked toward the truck. We hugged briefly and I filled him in on the long and boring ride while he threw my luggage into the truck. I thought about the last time I had seen my dad. I had been about 10 or 11 years old. It felt like a long time ago.
When we arrived home I was less than thrilled at the accommodations in front of me. Dying of old age and looking like a terribly re-bandaged wound, sat my father’s trailer; a two bedroom without any taste. Maybe I should’ve asked for the brochure before my life changing decision. I didn’t need much so the smaller bedroom worked for the time being. My dad made breakfast and we sat around getting to know more about the other. The snow stopped falling soon afterward.
After two months of bus rides and failed searches, I finally found a job at the nearest Applebee’s as a hostess. Nothing great, but it was a job and no one knew me, or the person I had once been and I liked knowing that. I was hired along with this guy named Miles. He was good looking, you’re average cute guy, but aren’t those the best kind after all? I mean he was real and there was nothing that hair gel or expensive looking clothes could have done to change that. I liked him from the start; in his jeans and white T-shirt. He was interesting and that was enough.
After three months I was promoted as a server which meant more money and a better shot at moving out of my dad’s. I began hanging out with Miles every now and then. The poor guy had two jobs and went to the University. How he made time for me, for anything, I’ll never know. We hung out at bars mostly because that was really the only thing to do in this town. With it’s motto being “The land of enchantment” it was no wonder the locals called it “The land of Entrapment” as you could tell by the patrons who hung out at these local dives.
Every time we hung out, we drank while talking about everything; everything except relationships. It was more about music and my writing and what he was going to school for. I enjoyed his critique when it came to my poetry. He was raw and honest and that was all I wanted. Right from the beginning he made it clear he wasn’t looking for a relationship or a “girlfriend” and just wanted to focus on school. At the same time, I was falling for him and I hated that I couldn’t say anything for fear of losing what we had, whatever “this” was.
A year later I was promoted to Bartender and life was good; finally. I had Miles to hang out with, (although he no longer worked at the restaurant), people from work to go dancing with and not a care in the world. Living at my dad’s wasn’t so bad either as long as I was out of the house and busy.
Things between Miles and I, that was another story. Our meetings were sporadic and it was difficult not being around him as much. And then summer came upon us and with it a hot and dry day and I was invited over for a swim. I was excited to see him again. Afterwards, we hung out in his apartment; me in one of his long sleeve sweaters while my clothes hung out to dry. He in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt; how I always liked him. It was the first time I had seen his apartment and I was impressed from the start. He was so clean and organized and he even had curtains hanging in his kitchen. We sat in the dark and listened to jazz, all the while I was just enjoying the moment between us. We didn’t talk much but it didn’t seem appropriate at the time. I laid on his sofa while he sat on the floor at the foot of it. At that moment I knew I could learn to be just friends because I enjoyed myself around him. There was no sadness, no anxiety, just good vibes from this friendship. I had decided then and there to put my feelings for him on the back burner until he was ready. I didn’t want to ruin this good thing. Soon afterward, he turned on the lights, brought out a sketchbook and asked if he could draw me. I agreed immediately. I repositioned myself back on his sofa, relaxed and let him go to work. After a few minutes of drawing he asked me to remove his sweater I was wearing. I wasn’t wearing anything underneath but I didn’t hesitate. I felt comfortable with him and he knew by now I wasn’t a size 4 but it didn’t seem to matter. There was this relaxing silence between us and the quiet beats of jazz surrounding the room. I was in my pleasure zone and I felt totally sexy even though I was far from model status. Perhaps being high had something to do with it. I loved the way he took me in as his pencil went to work. I think about this moment and I realize how much it resembles a scene from a movie, but it didn’t feel that way one bit. In fact, it was new and a first for me; to have someone admire me by taking all of my flaws and turning them into something beautiful.
He stopped after several minutes went by and slowly crawled over to me. What happened next threw my “just friends” plan out the window and it was anything but short of amazing. The foreplay was so new and erotic as the darkness swallowed us in. I was in shock at the fact that he was touching me. The sex was a satisfying job in itself and I was completely drained afterward. Talk about a workout. (I didn’t have time to analyze it, due to other feelings felt in that moment which stopped me from thinking at all.) Afterward we laid there, in each others arms and made small talk until sleep slurred our speech and we couldn’t hold on any longer. I left after breakfast which he prepared in the morning. No kiss goodbye, no hug, just a goodbye and I’ll see you later. Inside I was beginning to ache for change between us. We never spoke about it nor did we change anything between us. At least he didn’t. I, on the other hand, was falling inside.
We had a few more occasions that ended in passionate one night stands, but I still couldn’t get up the nerve to tell him how I felt. Until that was, I found out he was moving back to Texas. Could I make him stay if I confessed how I felt? Would he want to stay? Or better still, would he ask me to go with him? I knew for sure that I couldn’t tell him anything for fear of screwing that up too. How could I make it sound meaningful? I decided to write him a 5 page letter, the only thing I was good at doing.
He called me a week later to talk. The butterflies were rough that day.
I put on my most flattering dress and headed over. We agreed that we would cook dinner at his place and hang out. So we ate, listened to music and made small talk. I figured he wasn’t going to bring it up but of course I was wrong. All he wanted in the end was to hear it from me. He wanted me to come from behind my safety net and tell him how I felt. In the end I had become a complete failure. I couldn’t bring myself to confess my feelings to him. I was a complete chicken, not wanting to ruin the last moment we had. Besides, it was all there, on paper and wasn’t that enough? I didn’t want to ruin the most beautiful words I had written. It got worse when he surprised me that his plans had changed and he was now leaving for Texas in a week.
I was speechless and crushed. I was so stupid in the end, at least I’d like to think so. Would he have stayed if I had expressed myself to him? Was that really all it took? I’ll never know. As the last night before his departure arrived, we shared a dinner, (prepared by me) had a last “fling” that night and I walked silently out the door in the early morning. The night was romantic and every touch was so gentle from him. Maybe it was his way of saying, “Here’s one more chance. Take it.”, only to fail him in the end. I felt betrayed by my own weakness as I walked away. I wanted to believe that it finally meant something; the sex and all, but who was I really kidding? If he had felt the same way I don’t think leaving would’ve been on his mind. If it had meant anything, he would’ve told me he had felt something as well. I got into my car and drove away in tears. And sadly, that was the end of Miles. They’ll never be another like him.
Half a year later and in my own apartment (finally), a new guy entered my life. I was working the bar and a couple of guys walked in and took a seat. I made small talk and went about my routine. Vince, (I found out later) was the only one who made eye contact when I spoke to them, I noticed this right away. I found myself smiling a bit more than necessary. When they called it a night he walked back in and asked me out. I said yes right away.
On our first date, I made the mistake of bringing him home. I hate to admit it but I was lonely and he was a good kisser. We had a wonderful night consisting of dinner and afterwards, movies at my place. I tried to set up one of my coworkers with his friend but it just wasn’t happening and I couldn’t wait for them to leave anyway.
The moment between us was romantic, slow, and dreamy like and Miles was slowly drifting away with every kiss from Vince’s lips. The darkness swallowed us in, heightening each touch. All the while I couldn’t help wondering why most people have sex in the dark. What else am I hiding besides my imperfections? Is it the silly faces I’ll make deep in the moment, or am I afraid of looking intensely into the eyes of truth, knowing it’s way too soon to be doing this? Afterwards, I slept like a rock and he left in the morning. I think I finally got out of bed after 2 in the afternoon, satisfied, no less.
By the second week we were a couple. He would sneak in through my unlocked window while I slept, crawl into bed and wake me up in the most wonderful of ways. By the fourth week he was saying, “I love you.” It was uncomfortable at first because not only was it too soon, but because Miles was still there, in the cracks of my damaged heart. I still missed him so.
In the end, I decided that fast was the best decision. I would get over Miles while Vince and I would enjoy life. My job was expanding, doing everything from Bartending to training the front house staff. Life was great. I had no complaints. Vince, on the other hand, was another story.
By our fourth month we were living together in his new home. His parents were against it. His parents were against me, mostly because I was three years older. It seemed great at first. We came home to each other, I cooked when we didn’t go out to eat and the sex was fantastic. Bathroom floors, living room floor, kitchen counters, role-playing, dirty movie night and great foreplay. It was fun and exciting. All the while our relationship was slowly failing.
His personality did a 360. He became easily jealous; hanging out where I worked to make sure no one was trying to “pick me up.” He accused me of cheating with my coworkers at least once a week. These were the same people we had over the house for parties, or hung out with at bars. The same guys he was buddy-buddy with in the beginning of our relationship. He began to yell a lot and throwing things against the wall became a weekly routine.
In the beginning I thought communication and patience was all it took to turn it around. I tried so hard to make it work because failing again just wasn’t an option. EventualIy I stopped inviting the same people over. We went out alone from then on and the violent attitude ceased for a while. The calm, however, didn’t last long, when one day our neighbor came by and confided to me that Vincent had asked her out a couple of times. She said she declined every time but thought I should know. At first I didn’t believe her “confession.” She lived alone and probably thought she could introduce more friction between Vincent and I since I was sure she could hear every argument we previously had. It didn’t take long to catch him in the act though. Soon after, while upstairs working on my writing, I heard his conversation with her, clear as day. It was then that I knew it was finally time to leave.
The begging lasted the whole time I packed. I didn’t have much to pack though; mostly clothes and my music, some books and not much more. As I got into my car the begging turned to spite and I could hear “whore” and “bitch” as I drove away. That was the end of Vince. It was back to my dad’s and I wasn’t happy with failure number 2. I had high hopes for turning my life around, for starting over and changing the parts of me I didn’t like. Why was this so hard to accomplish? I was beginning to think “failure” was my middle name.
At the beginning of the new year I started a new job at a restaurant that was opening up. I still lived at my dads’ but it didn’t matter. My dad and I were getting along much better. Perhaps he took pity on my failure of a relationship or just me in general. We began hanging out on the weekends; walking around the swap-meet or fishing on one of the reservation’s lakes. We didn’t talk much but sometimes it wasn’t necessary. It was nice enough to get back what I had lost as a kid the day he walked out of our lives for good. I needed a parent, and since my mother wasn’t around it had to be dad.
My new job was going well, back to being a server and new people. I just wanted to be single and drama free, so I wasn’t looking for a guy or interesting people to hang out with. The job was all that mattered an in four months I became the Assistant Manager/Trainer. After a slew of “please come back” phone calls and unexpected visits, Vince was finally behind me. I asked myself what was the issue with the three-year difference between us? I suppose in this case nothing but immaturity. In the background, I still missed Miles. He was becoming my “Juan” all over again.
Being an Assistant Manager meant closing the restaurant with the kitchen staff. They were cool guys; full of that “guy” humor and they had good taste in music. Every now and then I would help out and get them out of there faster. I didn’t mind getting a little dirty if it meant getting home quicker and taking a shower. One of the guys that quickly impressed me was Dylan. He was the ever so witty charmer for sure. I liked his personality from the start and soon a friendship ensued.
Nights after work consisted of his house, other coworkers, music and drinking. It was finally coming together. Life was easy and stress free. Even Miles was slowly becoming a thing of the past. On cold clear nights, Dylan and I would drive out to the woods, to places I had never seen and hang out looking at stars, or get spooked by the darkness surrounding us. I loved being around him because I never had to “doll up.” If I was filling in as a server, we’d hang out afterwards and I didn’t have to run home and change. I didn’t have to reapply make up or fix my awkward hair. It was comfortable and I was fine, for once. He even had a cute nickname for me; “Q.” it was a friendship I had long sought after, never once realizing that something this great never lasts long.
While out one night, under the stars and talking like usual, Dylan, in his spontaneous way, leaned over and kissed me. At first it was awkward, thank God for the darkness. I wasn’t interested in him that way, but after thinking about the way I felt with Miles, I figured I couldn’t let Dylan down. I was just glad we had become friends first because jumping into bed with another guy wasn’t part of the plan. When he kissed me again, I kissed back and after a few moments it felt almost real.
It was like that for a month, mostly because I still clung to our friendship, but eventually I gave in and we had sex one night after work. We hung out in his hot tub and the making out mixed with the drinks we ingested made the mood all the more steamy. The foreplay was amazing. It went on for so long. I felt like the center of his universe as if I was the only thing on his mind. The sex itself, well, let’s just say I understood his enjoyment of foreplay. I couldn’t complain though since I wasn’t too excited about sex to begin with.
Soon after, we were both offered a job training other restaurants in the US and we took it, no questions asked. I myself, was ready to move on from New Mexico and try something new. I wanted to leave that part of my life behind, for good.
We shared a room during the job and most of the time we were too tired to have sex which didn’t bother me in the least. The bad news was that we were with each other 24/7 and I was easily becoming bored. A couple of months later and I don’t know how, I confirmed my pregnancy. Dylan was ecstatic, I was kind of as well, mostly because being a mom seemed a new adventure and I figured it was a good time. We were making good money and saving it wouldn’t be a problem. We continued working as usual; a six-day stretch with our only day off being the flight to our next destination.
The hardest part was buying new clothes. I didn’t expand too much in the first three and half months, but I didn’t fit in any of my clothes either. My face was a little fuller as well. The whole all glowing and beautiful when pregnant like most women say was definitely a joke. You’re just fat and only going to get fatter. It all went downhill at the three and half mark. That’s when the pains began.
I was running the front of the house during their mock opening and it was during the lunch rush when the cramping started. It was the same feeling that my menstrual cramps gave me; severe. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I confirmed the realization after visiting the ‘ladies’ room. I had starting to bleed.
Because Dylan was swamped in the kitchen with his staff, one of my training coworkers dropped me off at the nearest hospital. I waited alone, for what seemed a long time in the waiting room . I think it was two hours later when I was called in. The Nurses did their tests, gave me a shot of something to take the pain away and conducted an ultra sound. I never want a catheter again. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. In the end, I was informed that I had miscarried at 14 weeks. They told me what was in store for me, what to expect, and to get plenty of rest. Why is “plenty of rest” always the solution? To me it’s just time to sulk and wallow in ones failures. I took it anyway.
I waited to be picked up from the hospital, the whole time feeling dirty and picked over as though everyone knew what had happened to me. The worst part was having to go back to work because it was the dinner rush and our hotel wasn’t close by. I sat at the bar the whole time, feeling miserable and dirty. I wanted a shower in the worst way. Dylan still didn’t know what was going on.
When we got to the hotel, I explained what happened. There was silence from his end. It would’ve been uncomfortable had I any energy left to care, but at that moment I just wanted to shower and sleep. I didn’t work the rest of the week and it was actually nice being left alone, under the covers and crying most of the day. When Dylan would come back from work, I’d either be asleep or in the bathtub. We didn’t talk much and maybe we were both too tired to talk about anything. Maybe he didn’t know what to say. Maybe he was angry that I had failed at carrying his child. I was too miserable to care one way or the other.
Reality soon set in and I eventually fell back into my work schedule, never mentioning anything about my experience or my feelings to anyone, not even family. I kept myself busy enough to exhaust myself and fall straight into bed. I was repulsed by the thought of Dylan wanting to touch me. We didn’t kiss anymore and sex was definitely out of the question. We were falling apart and there was nothing we could do about it.
Our job lasted another six months and then it was all over. We were still together but distant for sure. We decided to move to another state and work for one of the owners of the restaurants. I became their Trainer and server, Dylan became their Kitchen Manager. I worked double shifts while he worked his all day normal shift. On our days off we would catch a movie or drive and explore new territory. We were always silent, the only sound was the wind and the music. He was usually on his computer most of the time, playing online poker and my head was in a book or working on my writing. We were a silent couple, I was still hurting from my failed attempt at pregnancy, Dylan was quiet for his own reasons. We didn’t talk about “us” anymore.
In the end, I decided to buy a one way ticket back home to California. I didn’t want my dad to see another failed choice I had made and no one back home knew anything about what I had been through. This seemed liked the right thing to do at the time. I had tried and failed and knew there was nowhere else to turn.
Dylan and I stopped talking after that. I spent the next week picking and choosing what to take back with me, crying whenever he wasn’t around. We ate separately, we slept in different rooms. I could see the anger in his face but he never said a word. I left his ring on the dresser and closed this chapter of my life forever.
The drive to the airport was full of anxiety. I just wanted to be away from him, from everything we had been through. At the same time, I was so sad that we didn’t talk about what had happened. I hated that he didn’t care enough to get his feelings (if he had any) out. I hated myself for not trying to tell him how I had felt through it all. When he stopped at the unloading passenger zone, I grabbed my suitcases, gave him a quick hug and said goodbye. The tears were stinging terribly from my running mascara and I think I saw his eyes a bit watery too. At least I like to think so. After our hug he quickly walked to the car and drove off. That was the end of Dylan. Of my life on the road. I was headed back to the place I needed to be away from. I had failed miserably at life on the road, in New Mexico and at home. I had failed at being someone different. I had failed miserably at trying to find something new, something different. With head down and tail between my legs, I headed towards the plane. But I didn’t stay that way for long.
While sitting on the plane, waiting for take off, I had my epiphany. I will always be “me,” and that should be a good thing, right? Happiness shouldn’t have to consist of a successful relationship or a relationship at all. I think the realization of this time away from home brought me to my senses. It was never about “changing” me at all but merely accepting me for who I would always be. A relationship doesn’t make me a better person just as an unsuccessful one doesn’t make me a failure. This slow journey of self discovery was becoming an eye opener, no matter how cliché it sounded. I would not return home a failure but instead, a bit more wiser, independent and loving of myself. It was always about accepting me and not accepting how this world defined how a woman should be. I have a lot to look forward to when I return home.