The New M.E. Generation











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.



I know I’ve said many times over that the best thing for me to do is stay away from people that are not good for me, especially guys that just drop off radar for no apparent reason.

Every so often I’ve broken my own promise of doing so. Case in point, Ivan. He’s one of the few that once in a while I send him a text. Chances of response are slim; calls are not really worth the effort. Sometimes he replies, sometimes he doesn’t, and if he does call, the conversation is limited to no more than 5 minutes, if that.

So if it is so complicated, why do I reach out to him? Good question.

I recently started calling people I haven’t spoken to for some time and his name always comes to mind. But this time I decided to text. This way would just do it and forget about the rest.

“Hey Ivan, what’s going on?” is all I wrote.

A few days later, while at my lunch break, the phone rang; it was him.

“Emma (—-)”. I couldn’t understand the second part of what he was saying. It sounded like ‘ciao’.

“Why are you saying ‘good-bye’ to me?” asked I.

“No, I’m saying hello in my native language.”

“Oh, ok; I wasn’t expecting your call.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve been working so much and my employer got sick, and it has been crazy…” This is not the first time I’ve heard this. I was getting a stomach ache of just listening to him. In fact, it’s the norm for him; working until he drops, with no fun or something good to talk about.

“I can sense in your voice that you’re really stressed out. Surprised you didn’t say you got sick yourself.”

“I just need to seriously take a vacation. But you think they would care about me or how I feel??”

“No, they don’t, unfortunately.” And it doesn’t just include work, it refers to many people in general. “You know, you don’t have to go very far to disconnect. It’s just a matter of really resting and not having to worry about anything else.”

“I know. I used to be more fun, had more of a social life. Now I just want to go home and sleep.”

“There’s nothing wrong with doing that,” said I. “Besides, you don’t need to fulfill other people’s expectations, only yours.” (Silence from him.) “So, are you dating anyone?”

“Ah, yes, no; going out with somebody. She’s been very helpful with me with an investment I’m trying to do.”

“Sounds like you feel obligated to be with her because of that.”

“Well, she’s a good woman overall. What about you?”

“I tried that website you told me about and got a lot of too young guys just wanting to sleep with me. And the ones my age look really bad.”

Ivan started laughing. I think it’s the first time I hear him do this. “How about church?” asked he. “Where I go there are many single guys.”

“Mine is full of families. Your town is another market; it’s party central.”

“Listen, I have to go, but we should get a coffee or something some time.”

“Ivan, you know how many times you’ve told me that? I’ve given up on you.”

“I know, everyone has given up on me.”

“I meant that most probably you and I won’t get to see each other again. You’re a good guy. You just have to stop living life for others.” (Silence again.) “Don’t do as I did and found myself totally lost when I got divorced, with no sense of who I was.” (More silence.) “Like I said, you’re a good guy. And I call you because a supreme force gets in my head telling me to do so. What can I say?”

Ivan was speechless and I felt that his anxiety sort of calmed down. The words I had said flowed out in a way as if it was someone else delivering them through me.

After hanging up I knew the universe was the one to blame. Ivan is going through a never-ending difficult time and was emotionally in a desperate need for some sympathetic support.

It was almost as he needed a miracle. You know what, it actually did.



The memories I have of this vacation start at getting to the apartment. It was clean and organized, with a living room, kitchen and half bath on the first floor, second floor had the 2 bedrooms and 1 full bath.

His room faced the front of the building and had what one needed when being in college: a bed, desk and TV. I believe he hand a nightstand and the closet had good space.

I took my suitcase to his room and set it on the floor. To keep the space organized, I decided to leave my things inside of it and take them out when needed. I think he provided me with some hangers and made space in the closet in case I wanted to use it.

Next memory that I have was that he had to go to school. I stayed behind and was taking a rest when the home phone rang. I rushed to answer it thinking it was he.

“Hello,” said I. There was a pause from the caller.

“Is (roommate name) there?” said the female voice with an unpleasant tone.

“No, may I take a message?”

“And who are you?” asked her.

“Me? I’m just visiting.” (Click.) What the hell? I looked at the phone puzzled, but put it down. The phone rang again just a few minutes later. This time I answered with a serious voice.

The same scenario repeated, except being asked who I was and I left out the message part. Second hung up of the day. I wasn’t happy, but didn’t let it affect me and went back to my nap.

That’s how I was then. I was so naive I didn’t see it that when the caller heard my voice, she wasn’t content at all that I was there. For me, it had to do with her being totally rude and disturbing my beauty sleep.

In spite of already being away from home and exposed to a new environment, I still believed and trusted those people that were part of my life. What had occurred gave me no worries. I was confident nothing bad was to happen to me. I was there to have fun and nothing else mattered.

When my friend got back and I told him about it, he started laughing. It had been a while since I saw him like this and it was refreshing.

“That’s someone my roommate is seeing,” said he.

“Oh, his girlfriend.”

“Not exactly. There’s more than one. Well, that’s what he’s told me.”

“Whoever it is, she hung up on me twice.”

“Of course, the person was expecting a male voice. Besides, she obviously thought you’re with him.”

“Why? There’s also you here.”

“Yes, but she’s clearly insecure about herself and him. She’s now in a panic mode.”

“That’s stupid jumping into conclusions when she doesn’t even know me.”

“I think it’s incredible how he’s seeing many at once and haven’t been caught yet. You being here might change the chain of events.”

I was looking at him with a somewhat concerning look. I just got here and the wave hit me before getting to the beach. Universe, give me a break, not this one, please.



After graduating from high school and going to college, our communication decreased even more. I was like him; my mind was focused on the future of leaving home and starting a new life outside all that surrounded me.

I still learned about him through his family and always sent my regards, and whenever we saw each other or spoke, it was as if neither time nor space had affected our relationship.

Such an example of this was when I was on my sophomore year; my boyfriend came to visit and out of nowhere he called me. I don’t know how he got my number, but I completely dedicated my attention to him. I believe it has been over a year from last we spoke, and I was more than happy to talk to him.

It was one of those conversations that could last for hours. I was ignoring my then BF, but he didn’t complaint or got upset with me. Our relationship was on the brink of ending, so I think he remembered what this guy had told him about me, and probably didn’t want the situation to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The next year we broke up, well, I broke it off, for many reasons beyond him pressuring me. My friend and I were resumed our conversations from that day on and he invited me to go visit him for Spring Break. I quickly jumped at the opportunity.

Because I didn’t have that much money, the year before I went home. Although there were plenty of beaches, I was curious to experience what a real event like this was about.

I was attending college in the Northeast and he in the South, at a city famous for hosting these breaks. This was the ultimate college moment that anyone needed to do at least once. Getting out of the cold was even better.

My friend’s schedule was different than mine, but he was living at a 2-bedroom apartment off campus with another guy, plus he had a car.

This was the perfect scenario for me; we could spend some time together and I would have some independence to venture out on my own.

He living at an apartment felt better than visiting him at a dorm full of men. It also avoided the question of where I would sleep.

Knowing how my friend was, I was certain he would have a sofa I could crash on. I never asked him before my arrival about this, but I believed he offered his bed for myself.

I wasn’t worried; I was confident I would arrive to a safe, clean place that anyone would enjoy staying at. I was sure that I would have a memorable vacation, one that I now look back upon fondly, but filled with certain moments I never thought would repeat in other circumstances many years later.

And now that details are slowly coming back to mind, I ask myself (or perhaps the universe) if these were coincidental or meant to occur (even when they had nothing to do with me directly) to test (or perhaps prepare) me for the present life?

Let’s just say, you’ve been warned.



My Senior year was a mix of many emotions. I was proud of myself for getting this far without having resorted to any negative behavior to help me deal with my insecurities I had about myself. I had zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol, and had no interest in even getting close to them.

At home it was just my mom and me. Although I wasn’t happy being there, I enjoyed the alone time I had when my mom was at work.

Although I still had responsibilities, at least I felt some sort of independence and space for myself. All I wanted to do was bring my best in school, graduate and go away.

Many of these feelings still remain with me today. I have become accustomed to my living conditions and like the freedom to do as I want without being judged. I still stay away from anything I believe will be bad for me.

In spite of experiencing way more difficult situations as an adult, I have always known what’s good and bad. I will say I have been very lucky and blessed to never stray.

At school it felt weird not seeing my friend around. I would learn about him when visiting the pharmacy and hair salon. It all seemed he was doing very well, as if the experience of before didn’t have a permanent effect on him.

Ironically, we didn’t write or called each other much that I recall. I would relay a message through his family, which I hoped he would receive.

He moving away was the best thing happening. From my end he looked like a fully developed adult that wouldn’t stop at anything to get ahead.

In spite the distance and lack of communication between us, I didn’t realize how he kept influencing me for the better. He was the best example to follow that you could overcome any situation if that’s what you chose to do.

And now we both have totally distanced from each other by choice. He did it first and I followed when I felt that he became a threat to my emotional balance and wellbeing.

He almost turned my world upside down and I hate him for that, but I didn’t allow it. It was heartbreaking to do, but it was something that I needed to do and don’t regret it.

It has taken me a lot to ‘graduate’ to where I am today. And like when he was my friend, I will continue moving forward, not letting anything deter me in going the distance to reach my dreams.



et cetera
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