The New M.E. Generation











The last time I saw my friend during college was on my Senior year. I don’t recall how it all happened, but he came to visit me.

I think he was on the area for an interview or simply decided to know my life in school the same way I had done with him.

I couldn’t get to the airport, so he rented a car and found his way to my dorm.

It was great seeing him. He was wearing a jacket (a habit that would repeat many times over) and was very happy to have made it.

My residence was an apartment and one of my roommates had brought a sofa, so it became his bed. Funny enough, this piece of furniture would become another item that would serve me well.

The memories of those few days are sketchy, but I took him to dinner to an Italian restaurant I loved.

During dinner we got up to date again about the future and, as always, he had a plan. He was checking stocks on certain airlines and according to what he was seeing and learning about the companies, he would then decide on which one to apply to.

He knew he would probably have to move if an opportunity occurred, but he was fine with it. He knew he couldn’t be that choosy if he wanted to make anything good of his aspiring career.

While at dinner, he mentioned to me that his maternal grandmother wasn’t doing well. All of a sudden, he slouched down in the chair, looked sideways and got really emotional to the brink of almost crying.

I had the chance of meeting her. She meant a lot to him because, after his parents’ divorce and his mom going back to work, the grandma was the one who basically raised him.

I was shocked at how vulnerable he became, as I had never seen him like this. He had always been the strong one for both, the one that never let anything bring him down.

I sat there, frozen, not knowing what to do. I suddenly reached out and grabbed his hand across the table.

But, unfortunately, he remained as he was. He didn’t acknowledge what I did or said anything to my remark of, ‘she’ll be fine’.

It was as if I wasn’t there, as in someone else in his life had surpassed me in every aspect, even if I was just a friend in a total different relationship with him.

His hand felt cold and distant, his demeanor one that I had never seen of him and got me confused.

But I didn’t give it much thought back then other than to consoling him was the right thing to do.

It would be a few decades later when many traits of his would resurface again with another woman in his life that would greatly alter the friendship I thought we had.

And it would be pretty much as in this moment, distant, instant and cold. Instead of holding hands, he used it against me, and other, to create a block that no universal force could break apart.



I have a vague recollection of where the location of the palm reader was. The place was nothing to brag about. I felt totally awkward doing this, allowing a total stranger to talk to me about my apparent future.

My worries of the time were of any other person about to leave college: stay in the city you studied at, go home or try luck somewhere else?; what job should I go for?; will I make it?; how ill I manage to pay my loan?

Of course there was the concern about love. I hadn’t had that many relationships, other than that of my long distance one.

After turning 21 I was legally an adult and getting married was the natural progression in life.

But the thought of such a step scared me. I was a child of divorced parents, which greatly had an effect on me. My ex had also mentioned to me that he would have liked to marry me in the future, a proposal that I declined partly because my feelings has drastically changed and because I didn’t envision myself doing something of this magnitude in my early 20’s.

My friend talked to the female palm reader aside and asked her if he had a coupon I could use for my consultation of about $5 off, to which she replied, “she has the money.”

I went in by myself, placed my hand facing up on the table, and the reading started.

All that she said was very general and not that enlightening. At the same time my life was pretty bland, so what was there to see? Not much.

When it was time for ‘any questions?’, the only thing that came to mind was, “will I ever get married”, to which she replied, “yes”.

But that’s all she said, no physical description of the person, a year, or anything that could perhaps alert me if the moment had arrived.

“But if you pay me something extra I can tell give you his initials,” said she next. Oh boy!

I didn’t do it, of course, and left the meeting as blank as a book you can’t understand what you’re reading about.

I didn’t knew it then, but to get to a marriage, the commitment needs to start with myself, as in getting everything about me together, like two people would do, into a perfect one.

And that my friend, is one tough act to follow.



During this trip I did pretty much the same as during Spring Break, except that soon I was about to go into the real world and was as lost as ever.

I liked being there with him; I felt protected in his environment and that anything would be possible. I kept looking at this guy and envied how well balanced he seemed and confident that things would turn out the right way.

I always admired that he would give thought to his plans, analyze the options that he had or were available, decide and stick to that until he achieved it. He would do it all calmly and stress free.

I was the opposite. I was anticipating all the obstacles before they hadn’t even occurred. I didn’t know what I was to do next and was already questioning myself how and if I would make it.

He saw how confused I was and suggested taking me to a palm reader that he had visited before.

I was shocked by his revelation as I always felt he didn’t need any outside influences to do anything. He was practically the only one I knew that would turn things around when they were not headed the way they should have.

The other matter to consider was that we attended a catholic school and were taught to follow or trust faith. Anything that didn’t fall under the established parameters weren’t considered correct.

I don’t know how he felt back then about his religious beliefs, but we were both careful on what we believed and trusted.

We shared that our parents had divorced at a young age, meaning we hit reality early on and that as much as you believed in a supreme being or not, there were things beyond your reach that you couldn’t control, because they didn’t had to do with you, but could scar you for life.

That’s probably why I’ve always considered myself spiritual than religious. Or maybe it was that after 12 years of daily classes it overwhelmed me instead of embracing it.

Life as I knew it was one where people would come together for the best reasons to later distance (or separate) for good. It was the effect of wanting to be close to others, but not too much, because you knew one day they could abruptly walk out of your existence with no explanation.

And this is how I’ve dealt with guys all along. I want to be with someone, but always put a wall in between, keeping the necessary proximity, so in case they go, it won’t hurt that much (or so I say).

The only one that had never done that was this guy and I was confident he would never do. It would be decades later to learn how wrong I was, because to keep up the faith, sometimes not even a little prayer works.



The rest of my Spring Break went great. He took me everywhere, even to places that you had to drive some. But it was worth it.

Like my father would say to me many years later, ‘you never know what places you will have a chance to go to that you might not return, so take it as an adventure when you do.’ I loved all cities I visited and put it in my bucket list to return one day.

I did visit my friend one more time before he completed his studies. He really dedicated his efforts in his career; he was doing 1-2 summer sessions, and eventually some graduate courses.

I remember he telling me how some classes was done ‘in the field’ or outside the classroom with the airplanes. The summer heat and rain were memorable, so all students and classes had to start on time. By no later than 11am the weather would get very bad and everyone had to leave the area.

The second time I visited and he picked me up at the airport was as great as the first time, except I was older and almost out of school, meaning my uncertainties about the future were already looming over me.

“So, what do you want to do?” asked he when I got into the car.

“I want to buy a bathing suit. Take me to a good mall,” replied I.

My friend got surprised. He probably thought I wanted to have a drink or something. He took me to a great one and I walked in to the first bathing suit store I saw.

I was determined to buy a bikini, don’t know why because my weight wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to be. I don’t think I was that overweight, but as a woman it was an issue that always lingered.

In the store I found one with red, black and white colors. I walked outside the dressing room to show him and get his opinion. “What do you think?” asked I in a serious tone like, ‘tell me the truth.’

My friend’s eyes and mouth opened wide. I couldn’t decipher if it was good or bad. “Aaaah… I think it looks good on you…,” said he in a tone that made me believe he didn’t want me to feel bad about my body.

“Be honest with me. We’ve always been that to each other, even if we don’t want to hear it.”

“Truth is, I’ve never seen you before in a bathing suit.”

What? How is it possible to have been living in a Caribbean island and friends since our early teens, and never spent time under the sun?

“We’ve never been together at the beach?? Not even at the school’s Junior/Senior picnic?’ asked I.

“I didn’t go because of what happened during my Senior year. I wasn’t into being there.”

The more I tried to remember, the more I realized that of all things we did back home this wasn’t one of them. And during the Spring Break week, I was covering my top with a college t-shirt, so he didn’t get a full view of me.

Now thinking back on it, it was contradictory in a way that we had emotionally shared so much, and in the physical it only went as far as the kiss and sharing a bed. I even believed he saw me in my underwear, so why the reaction in the suit?

I would feel at ease at all moments with him because I trusted he would never hurt me. And even him being a guy (who tend to be more liberal), also kept his privacy (including the bathroom door closed) when I visited him.

I realized that as much ‘open’ I thought we had been, we have closely guarded the outer shell that we present to the world and each other.

So how do you then define what we have? I don’t know, but when it comes to people, for sure there’s more than meets the eye.



I don’t know how long I stayed sitting in the stairs staring down at him. At times my mind wandered away like I have so many times, thinking and overanalyzing everything in my life, without coming to conclusions to any of my concerns.

The stairs were a sort of shelter of my then emotions. It was as if I had intentionally sat in the middle in order to push myself to make a decision about my future.

You either go backwards, or up, and rethink your tactics of what to do, or ignore your issues all together and do nothing.

Or, just go down, or for it, with or without a plan.

But staying in the middle, or limbo, is the worst place to be, because you’re there in a sort of ‘comfort zone’ that doesn’t allow you to ‘move’ into anything.

And as I was into myself, my friend suddenly woke up with an abrupt ‘hey’ like when you had some sort of bad dream.

He looked at me a little confused. “How long have you been sitting there?” asked he.

“A while, I think,” said I. Surprisingly I was calm.

“I was so asleep, but something shook me.” Maybe it was my presence that did it.

I have a vague memory of how things transcended next, but I did walk down the stairs to where he was.

I believe I sat in the sofa to talk to him. But my next memory is that he took me in his arms and kissed me. I can’t recall what lead to this.

This was the first time it happened and it was totally unexpected, and one that I wasn’t at all hoping for during this trip or any time later, period.

It wasn’t bad, but knowing he had feelings for me, I guess it needed to happen, first, to get it over with, and second, finally experience his affection in a more personal way.

What transcended after is more vague. I believe we did go out that night and something happened during the outing that made me decide on allowing him to share the bed with him, as in resting only (for real!).

Perhaps the sofa became too uncomfortable. Or maybe it had to do with his roommate’s activities that were so ‘noisy’ that made more sense for him being in his own room to avoid any contact.

Now thinking back on this, it was weird. If he had feelings for me, considered me pretty, and you’re finally taking a step forward with the kiss, why not follow to the next level?

Reality was he probably applied the advice he gave to my ex-boyfriend that he would lose me if pressured me into something I wouldn’t want to do.

My friend probably realized, like me sitting in the stairs, that he had 2 choices: leave things as they were and keep the friendship. Or, take a step downward that would make me walk out the door to never return, ending our friendship for good.

“I’m not letting a friendship of so many years get affected by anything,” was something he would express to me many times throughout the years. And I believed him because he practiced what he preached.

Me, I did had a choice regarding the outcome after the kiss, to which I decided not to pursue. Besides not having the same love feelings for him that he had for me, there was something holding me back from this ‘good to be true’ scenario.

What was that made me stay in the middle of the stairs? What was that feeling of going back up and away from that guy down there that was telling me, ‘don’t do it’?

Don’t know, but I’ll try getting an answer after I sleep on it.



During the drive back to his apartment there was no mention of the incidents that had unfolded earlier.

I do remember that he requested that if I went to the beach and back to the apartment with his car, to please hose down the undercarriage around the tires so the sand wouldn’t build up and affect the transmission. He showed me how to do it before entering the apartment.

I don’t remember well the sequence of events from that moment forward, but I did go back to the beach on my own another day, went back to the apartment, then picked him up at school.

Upon returning home, he knew I didn’t do the what he told me to just by looking at the car. “You didn’t wash it, right?” said he with a face off ‘I can tell.’

“Yes, I did”, said I with a tone that wasn’t even convincing to myself.

He rolled his eyes and shook his head as you do when you know your child is not telling the truth. So he grabbed the hose and took care of it.

I was so embarrassed and ashamed of myself. All that he has asked of me was to do this simple task considering the hospitality he had extended to me.

I had a mild rebellious side of not doing what others told me, but I knew better than that. Besides, neither of us was raised that way. We were taught to respect and take care of other people’s things, especially when they were borrowed.

My friend’s reaction was not knew to me, because at times my behavior was what he referred to as ‘a little cold’. This meant I would stay stuck on you like one that refused to end. I wasn’t behaving bad, but at times dealing with me was like that.

I was someone that regardless you loved me or not, I would always leave some residue on people that would make them remember me.

The next event I recall was that both were taking naps, as we were to go out that evening. I was in his bed and he downstairs in the sofa. I don’t know how long I rested for, but when I woke up the home was very quiet.

I then walked to the staircase and sat mid-way to look at him while he joyfully slept. I didn’t want to wake him up, so I just sat there, looking.

I don’t know what made me do this, but it was as if something told me to. It was a weird moment as if life was asking me to define what was I to do with him.

But because of my insecurities of the time, I instead thought about how great his life looked in comparison to mine: he had overcome the past and knew exactly how to take hold of the future. He was living the way I wished I could do, but didn’t know how to get there.

I was so into thinking about myself that I didn’t consider if he could become part of that change or my life as a whole as he had been for so long.

It was one of those moments that you’re ‘looking down’ at things and you’re just sitting there wondering what to do next.

In other words, there’s this opportunity a few steps away that could alter your existence all together and you’re not reacting to it? Am I stepping forward or backwards?

The answer coming up next…



My friend wasn’t done for the day just yet, so he suggested me going to the cafeteria for a snack and meet again an hour later.

I was still freaking out from my last few minutes, but I was sort of hungry, so off I went.

The cafeteria wasn’t that complicated to locate. It was in an open space and everyone there was sitting at the tables studying. This was great, now I can finally ‘blend in’.

I also felt good that my friend was in this school. I was confident that he would be fine not only today, but on whatever he set out to do.

I bought myself a hot dog and soda. I went looking for a table to sit down, but they were all taken, so the only thing to do was to share one.

I glanced at all of them and chose one in a corner with a guy that was very busy in his studies. I thought this was the best option; he’ll keep his attention in his books (not on me), I’ll eat and then leave.

I walked with my tray and politely asked him, “Do you mind if I sit down here?”

The guy moved his head up without taking his eyes off his book as to reply, ‘yeah, whatever’. But when he really saw me, his head quickly went up again, the eyes opened wide, and his mouth opened in a gasp as if an apparition had just became present in front of him. He probably thought I was one of the so-called ‘dogs’.

I freaked out again. I guess that’s a ‘yes’? I sat down slowly and started eating with the best manners I could display. I didn’t want this ‘chick’ with a ‘dog’ turning into one of those school ‘dogs’.

The guy continued staring at me with the same face. I told him that I was visiting from out of state, was here for Spring Break for the first time, etc.

I kept talking on and on like any girl would do. He just kept the same way, speechless, and completely ignoring his studies.

I really took my time to eat and when I was done, I got up with my tray and said, “thank you so much; I have to go now.”

The guy’s face turned into one of sadness and muttered the only word of the day, “why??”

Now I was feeling sorry for leaving, but flattered for a second time in a little over an hour.

The guy’s facial expression was now one of, ‘please don’t go’, and I couldn’t bring myself into leaving.

And then, in the distance, by the entrance of the cafeteria, I saw my friend and said, “my friend’s here; thanks again”.

I walked to my friend, still holding the tray. “Hi,” I said to him. “I was having a bite at that table over there.” I looked back and pointed with my head as if I had done something wrong. The guy now had a face of, “damn him!” I think my friend noticed and somewhat laughed.

Looking back, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, but was respecting my friend’s hospitality, even if I didn’t felt attracted to him. It never crossed my mind of making a move with that other guy.

Second, all this attention about my looks was very nice, but has also created some sort of wall in front of me. It’s pleasant to be told you’re pretty, but when I hear it too many times, it makes me wonder if the guy means it or is using this opportunity to get something else from me. In other words, thank you for your nice words, but what else have you got to say?

Call it shyness or whatever you want. All I will say is this, there was always some universal force circling that was holding me back of going any further with my friend. Back then I couldn’t understand it, but now it’s as clear as a starry night.

It would be years later when our worlds would collide to forever change us. It’s like a meteor that leaves a dent on the ground when it hits. The heat may end and the surface heals, but the hole within will always remain as that, whole.



The next school day I remember driving around quickly in my friend’s car so I would learn how to get to the university by myself. The idea was to drop him off there and pick him up later when he was done with classes. This meant I had the car all for myself to go to the beach.

The best thing about the beach was that because the sand was so hard, cars could drive on it and not get stuck. It was a surreal moment for me being there. It’s one of those times that later in life you can tell others you did it.

I also got to see my friend’s university. After the situation he went through in high school to graduate, I was glad to see his life now flourishing and having overcome what happened in the past.

So, as agreed, I went to the beach to drive around it for a while and then went to pick him up around 2 p.m. When I got to the parking I noticed many of the cars had a sporty design, with colors that were more associated with a guy. My friend’s was around those lines; dark blue, 2 doors, with a look of a car meant to have fun with.

I wasn’t surprised he chose this one; it was well taken care of and had the features he only needed for that time in his life. Although it wasn’t new, he was the type of person that would always compare price with value, and how it would make his everyday activities easier.

I was like that as well; I liked to buy things that were only necessary and believed they didn’t have to be expensive to be defined of good quality.

I then headed to the students building to find him. As I walked down the hallway I felt the architecture of the school was plain and dull, with not much vegetation. My school’s design was something similar to this, but the many green areas compensated, giving it a more neighborhood feel.

Upon entering the building and walking, I started feeling strange, as in ‘all eyes were on me’. I looked side to side and realized the place was full of men. I couldn’t see one female in all this. It was as if they were looking at me like some strange alien that just landed on this planet.

I started walking faster, almost running. ‘Where’s my friend??’ I thought to myself. ‘I thought the school was co-ed!’

What a relief to find my friend. “Why are there no women here??” I asked him. “All the guys were staring at me as if they’ve never seen one before!”

My friend laughed. “Unfortunately the ratio of men versus women in the field of aeronautics is greatly uneven,” said he. “There are women in this school, but few. And, they’re not that pretty. Actually, they’re nicknamed ‘dogs’.”

“That’s not nice! You all probably feel intimidated by them and just want to put them down. They can’t be that bad looking.”

“They’re not as pretty as you, especially the way they dress up and present themselves. You know how I am, I like them to be feminine. They always wear these sneakers that don’t flatter them. I know we’re in college and the clothes are not that important, but a nice dressed women is always appealing to any guy.”

And as always, my friend found the words to make reason out of nothing. It was also nice to hear my friend tell me that I was pretty. I had an idea how he felt about my looks, but hadn’t expressed this directly to me until now.

He had told me before that I was well-mannered, and would know how to speak and behave in any situation, being it a BBQ or a dinner at the White House. That I was the type of girl any guy would like to take out to anywhere and not end up embarrassing him.

I have agreed with him on my so-called good education, but on the looks was another matter. Then and now I’ve considered myself to be just an average girl. I don’t know if it because I believe that ‘looks come and go’ and what you really are stays, meaning I want people to remember me for who I am, or perhaps I don’t give myself enough credit for always trying to be the best person I can be.

For me, being beautiful starts in the inside. Once you master that, it all shows in the exterior and will be noticed by everyone.

Whatever the reason for not seeing what others do, my looks have earned me some pretty memorable moments, just like what was about to happen next.

Don’t worry, it didn’t get ugly.



The rude woman didn’t waste time showing up. I don’t even think it was nighttime when I met her with the roommate. And was I about to get a whiplash.

She was way older than him (like old enough to be his mom) and not that pretty. He wasn’t handsome either. His physical demeanor was one of ‘I don’t give a crap if you don’t like what I do’.

When he opened the room door I got a ‘rude awakening’. There was a nasty smell coming from it and barely any furniture. There was a mattress with no frame on the floor and the sheets were undone. Plus, the whole space looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in ages.

I couldn’t understand many things. For starters, how could you live in an apartment with someone who’s character was the total opposite of you, like in cleanliness and organization? Someone you have nothing in common with except sharing the same college major?

I’ve heard of ‘opposite poles attract’, but this made no sense. My roommates and I have had opposites that distinguished each person individually, but there were at least some denominators that could join us.

Second, what is this relationship, especially with the age difference? I didn’t know what a cougar was at the time, but I didn’t sense anything lovable between these two.

Although I wasn’t romantically involved with my friend, there was still a true love and respect for one another. It was hard for me to comprehend that these two were together for other reasons beyond affection.

In other words, do you have to go to such extremes to get what you want or need? What is it that people your own age are not giving you?

Then it got me thinking, what were the real motives behind the past relationship with my ex-boyfriend? Analyzing it now, yes, there was a true intention from him. But I was seeing someone else when I met him and this guy went after me in such a way I eventually fell for him.

Why? Because I was getting the emotional attention (way too much of it) that I so much needed at the time.

But as with everything, time is not always on your side. As I grew and felt I matured way beyond his years, I felt I needed other things from life that he could no longer provide. That’s why I eventually ended up with someone else who did give me what I needed.

So going back to these two, why are they here? What were they getting from each other?

And what about this guy and me? I know we’re good friends, but is it all he feels only reserved for friends? Do I feel the same? Did I make this trip just for me?

As far as I remembered, yes, my feelings for him were those reserved for great friends. And, yes, I’m here for me, but treating him the way he treats me, and most of all, I guarantee you I won’t leave any leftover messes behind.



et cetera
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