The New M.E. Generation

A few days later after getting this lousy call, I was still upset. It was bringing out some old feelings that I’ve worked so hard to overcome.

Plus, I have lost so much with my divorce and my friend was someone I was not willing to lose, even less for that bitch. My friend always said to me that ‘there would be nothing that would break our friendship apart’ and that he told her that if she wanted to be with him, she had to accept the fact that I would always be in his life. If she or any other woman didn’t like it, then it was time for her to go.

I appreciated his loyalty to me, but I knew things are easier said than done. My ‘x’ had expressed his discontent about him when married and although I knew things weren’t good, after you invest so much time and emotions, it’s not that easy to end a relationship.

More especially so of my friend, who had never had a relationship until now, knowing he would go as far as he could to make it work; failure wasn’t an option for him.

And as my mom has always said, ‘there are women that would do any business to have a man next to them’, which in this case was applying right on target with the bitch.

My friend called me and apologized about the incident. He said that she had complained about my constant calling (which wasn’t true) and that she didn’t like it. She went as far as spying on my friend’s phone and monitoring all incoming texts and messages whenever he unattended his device.

He said he wasn’t giving up my friendship and if she dared call me after his warning, there would be a major problem between them. The relationship was in really bad shape and he didn’t know how things would end.

From the conversation that we had, it seems this would be the last I would hear from this bitch. I trusted my then friend would do the right thing.

If you’re wondering about Madeline, after her Europe trip, she went to live with her mother back home. Eventually she made her way back to my city and came over to visit me.

She cooked for both of us and while eating, she shared a video of her from back home where she got baptized in a river in the interior of the island.

I watched it and had no words to say about it. I knew she had wanted to embrace Christianity, but this was something she could have done where she was living and working before.

I kept thinking what my friend said about not doing something to an extreme and this was one of them.

I was attending church, but wasn’t letting my involvement take over my whole life like she let it happen.

I looked at her and wondered how she, the one I always considered the strongest of the two, be consumed by this.

I was the one who have been down, vulnerable, confused, insecure. How was it possible then that I didn’t fall for a behavior that misled me from the right path?

Why was I feeling unsure about my two best friends that their lives were heading in the wrong direction?

I couldn’t understand why they were behaving this way when they had always taught me the opposite, but from where I was sitting, my life for the first time in a while didn’t seem so bad.

I guess that’s what it means when ‘divine intervention works in mysterious ways’.

After my return home, life went back to normal for me. For Madeline and my friend, not so much.

About a year later, Madeline decided to quit he job. She had mentioned this when I first visited her. She didn’t give me a solid reason for it other than ‘she had thought about for some time and had already made her mind on it.’

I tried to make sense into her, but in her true fashion, there wasn’t anything to make her go back her decision. And by the time she officially confirmed it with me, she had put notice at work and had separated a storage space.

Her mom flew over shortly after and Madeline placed all her belongings in the storage. She was literally living out of her suitcase and with no immediate plan.

She came to my area to leave her car with some friends. She then took off to Europe for a month by herself. Upon her return she was like a gypsy jumping from one place to another, without saying what she would do next.

When I told my friend, it made no sense to him either. He was convinced that something really bad happened with a person or situation that made her decide on something so extreme.

But with Madeline’s close tight persona, the answer to that mystery as of to the why was one I knew would never be solved.

Fast forward another year and my friend’s job contract was coming to an end; he was making the arrangements to stay with his employer and hopefully get transferred to another location.

I don’t know how he broke it to me, but it was during this time that he told me that his relationship was in bad shape.

It caught me by surprise, as he was someone who always managed to overcome any problem. It was a situation that had taken time to develop, which made me wonder why he didn’t share with me when it started getting complicated.

I got concerned for him, so I started calling him more often for support. I knew his girlfriend wouldn’t like it, but he had always been there for me and now it was my turn to do the same.

At that point I had no position about his relationship since I had no details of what had been happening. My only wish was that he wouldn’t get too hurt and whatever concluded would be for the best for both of them.

What I didn’t know was that his so called girlfriend, if that, hated my guts with a passion, to the point that one day she answered my friend’s phone and talked to me with a nasty tone.

I got to know her even nastier side the following week when she called my mobile. Among the things that this primitive-level person told me was that I couldn’t call him because he was ‘her man’ and that ‘his family had no recollection of who I was.’

To which I replied, “if he doesn’t want my friendship, he has to be the one to tell me IN MY FACE. Second, I’ve been in his life way before you starting fucking it up, so I’m not going away any time soon.”

I then proceed to provide such an array of details including full names, addresses, dates and else, that clearly proved that I was more than a friend, I had also been part of his family.

And while I kept on and on, all this low-class bitch could do was gag, as she realized she made a huge fool of herself and eventually hung up.

I was determined to defend my friend no matter what. But in the same fashion as Madeline, something happened to my friend that made him someone unknown to me.

Yep, the people who I always looked up to and gave me the tools to survive were the ones now with such a broken down system, that not even a personal upgrade was to fix them.

On the second day of the year, I flew back home.

Madeline took me to the airport. It was a sort of bittersweet good-bye with her. We were now living in separate states and as much as we have been friends for years, she was someone that heavily guarded her persona.

What I really knew about her were bits and pieces that she had shared with me, but of such a size that you couldn’t put together to create a timeline of anything.

If I had a wall in front of me for protection, she had one of thick steel, as one of those that you know there’s no way you can go through it. Even more, she’s one of those persons that you never know what they will do next.

At that time I didn’t thought about this much, as I needed friends on my side. But wondered somehow if all those issues that she vaguely shared with me would become resolved. How or what the results would be was even more mysterious.

The weather continued changing and now it was in the 20’s. Thank goodness I was carrying my coat.

While on the plane the captain said, “our destination has a somewhat warmer temperature, like in the 30’s”, to which everyone on board replied with a discontent noise.

It was ironic to think that I lived in a warm state that people traveled to escape the cold in the upper ones.

When I got to my destination airport, I stood at an area waiting to be picked up to get to my car at a garage I had left it at while away.

It was really cold, as cold as when I would arrive back to college from the holiday break. I looked around and tried to connect my emotions back to those years.

It was a mix of joy and anticipation that this year was going to be better than before. But now I was heading to an empty home with no one to share my space with like in a college dorm.

There are no classes to attend, but life lessons to be learned with the hope of graduating with a degree of knowledge of how to find a companion and successfully hold a relationship.

But as much as I may think I’m ready for whatever life throws at me, evolving, like the planets in the universe, is a process as timeless as creation itself.

I stayed with Madeline and family for about a week. The weather continued to be bad with cold days and plenty of rain.

The place they were staying was an apartment/hotel, and Madeline and I shared one bedroom together. Because of the forecast, we wouldn’t do much at times, so I would retrieve to the room and watch TV.

My bed was next to the window, so I would also look out at the people walking by. I called my friend as much as I could. According to him, the worst had passed and some more days were needed for his mother to spend at the hospital before returning home.

He sounded calm as usual, but I knew he was tired and stressed out. I felt sorry for him, as he had always been there for me and now all I could do was support him over the phone.

Before New Year’s arrived, Madeline and I went shopping and had dinner together. While chatting, she mentioned that life and work were fine, but I could feel that it wasn’t exactly that.

I wasn’t all happy with my life either, but was taking every effort to make the best of it. I even envied her back then; she had a good job, was living in a nice neighborhood, had achieved all her goals and was close to her family.

Still, there was something missing in her life that I couldn’t figure out. It’s kind of weird to say now that in some strange way I was in a better place than her.

When New Year’s Eve came, it rained most of the day and night. There was a party area that Madeline and I walked to, but the air was humid and muggy. When the clock was about to strike 12 am, we went back to the apartment and celebrated with everyone there.

I even took upon myself of doing the tradition of walking the perimeter of the apartment with a suitcase in your hand, symbolizing for this year to bring many and safe travels for you.

As much as I was trying to enjoy myself, I kept thinking about my friend. It struck me then that of all he and I had shared together this celebration was not on our list.

And when the countdown began I did what I’ve always done since being single, stare at the TV and start crying, as if I was hoping that the magic that is transmitted through this device would somehow come into my universe.

Once it’s over, I hug and thank everyone for sharing this moment with me. They all hug me back and told me there’s no need to feel this way, as it will all be fine. I always use the excuse that it had been a difficult year, etc., but glad I made it through.

Reality is I cry because when the night is over, I’m standing there more alone than ever, without a guy to hold hands and be with.

I cry because as much as I wish for things to be different, they have not turned out the way I hoped for, in spite of all efforts and intentions. They just seem to go in a direction I wasn’t expecting or wanted to.

It’s like the suitcase I was holding. You may fill it up with hopes and dreams, but the path to happiness will always be heavy, no matter how light you think you may be walking.

I was happy to be meeting up with Madeline and her family, especially during the holidays when single people tend to feel the loneliest. She was also single and had been very supportive during my post divorce. She was in essence the female version of my high school friend.

I remember the weather that year was really bad with heavy rain and the temperature dropped to the low 20’s. I still wasn’t technologically up to date, meaning didn’t have a smarthphone or GPS.

Both of them had one in their car and have used it successfully for years. Madeline told me to get one and make the trip; he said that if the weather was that bad, a woman like me driving by herself would be concerning to him, even if I had the device.

They both agreed that it would be a good purchase to make, as they felt that it would not only be useful to have, but would open my outlook into taking other trips in the future.

Ultimate the weather became the decisive factor, so I chose to fly instead. As simple as this road trip sounded, I was still too afraid to take risks at this stage.

Still, the temperature made me remember being in college, ending the semester, flying home for the holidays, arriving at a warm weather, and seeing my friend.

But as much as I was happy to be with Madeline and grateful for her invitation, I still felt displaced. I was still recovering from my divorce, trying to regain my sense of self, plus figure out what I was to do with my life. At least being around people who appreciated me gave me some sense of belonging for a few days.

I was also thinking about my friend. His mother underwent surgery and he spent many days in the hospital with her and later at home. Me in the distance could only provide support. His birthday happened during those days and he was more than pleased to have the gift that his mother would most likely have a full recovery.

It also started to daunt on me how loved one could be gone quickly, how oneself with age start facing calamities, how we are able (or not) to handle situations we always knew would happen, but not really ready for when they do.

In essence it was a question of how long will those important people remain with us, will they still be there near or far when the bad really happens, and if they’re gone either in life or death, how are we to cope with their departure?

It was a reality I had already seen: as much as you want to have certain people in your life or try to make things work in a certain way, like the song says, “baby, sometimes love just ain’t enough.”

Yep, that’s how it’s sang.

Fast forward another few years and it was Christmas. My friend Madeline was spending the holidays and New Year’s with her family up my state and invited me to join them for the week.

My then friend was also spending time with family, but not a planned one. His mother back home was having issues with her health. So he took whatever vacation, personal, sick days he had left to be with her. From what he was telling me, his sister was taking turns being with her as well.

I had known long enough that he and his sister did not get along. He always resented that his mom had more affection towards his sister than to him.

The tension between these two was so bad they couldn’t be at the same place at the same time.

How much? One time I was at their house and on top of a table there were about 10 or so photos of her and only 1 of him in the corner of the furniture, almost covered up by all the other frames.

I remember he saying to me, “all these photos are of my sister and this small one is mine.” It was a simple shot of him on college graduation day, standing at school entrance, smiling, and wearing a suit.

I don’t think his mom attended the ceremony (his sister did not obviously), because the mom detested her ex-spouse and couldn’t be where he was at the same time as her. She couldn’t put aside her way past personal matters and concentrate on her son’s achievement.

Even in important moments like this, if it had to do with him, she wouldn’t go the extra mile. But for her daughter, she would endure hell and back if needed to. The way each one was treated was incomprehensible and nauseating to me.

I felt sorry for him. He had achieved so much and what did his sister do to deserve so much attention? According to him, she hated her life back home, and after her first year of college decided to get married and go live abroad.

So she never even completed college and at one time took the tuition money to buy herself an expensive watch, which wasn’t questioned either by the father who was helping her with school.

It was a feeling that I shared that no matter how good one could do, it still wasn’t enough.

But her sister? It seemed that marrying a guy to run away from it all (and who had a moronic face on top of that), having a home and kids (and not working even if her life depended on it) was the way to go.

Having the situation that the mom’s health was at risk created another challenge, because they had to work together to get her the medical treatment that she needed.

The question was if they would be able to put their differences aside. Sadly, I learned the hard way that he was worse than me when it came to forgiveness, letting go and moving on with life, even more of saying, “I will never be or do something like that”.

Let’s say that besides not practicing what you preached, it’s about repeating other people’s way of existence and becoming a creature that not even your loved ones (repeat, loved ones) want to be with.

Fast forward a couple of years later and this time my ‘x’ left me and filed for divorce. It was a very difficult time. My father had passed suddenly early that year; my boss had made my work miserable from day one, and with my life falling apart because of these two events, he took advantage of doing everything in his power to make my performance suffer even more.

Within a 6-8 month period, the divorce was finalized, lost my job, and I moved out of my home and all that my life represented to that point.

Eventually I moved into an apartment; it was the first time ever I’ve been on my own and taking responsibility for everything.

I don’t know where my friend was in all this. My first memory into single life was he calling me to the apartment letting me know he had accepted a job in the Northeast and was already there.

He also called to introduce me to ‘his family’: a woman and son who would be living with him. Even more, he put her on the phone so we would meet.

I was so overwhelmed I didn’t question him on any details of how it all came to happen. I don’t even know (or remember) what he said about me, or our friendship, to this woman.

When she spoke to me she sounded OK, nothing then that impressed me or raised a red flag.

I was probably more concerned about losing our friendship than anything else, especially now, plus I trusted him he would do the right thing, or so I thought.

Once we both settled down, the calls went back to the usual routine. But now we would discuss our emotions more now that my relationship ended and he was in one that he referred to as ‘a marriage without papers’.

We kept supporting each other and would tell each ‘we would be fine’. But such a statement was easier said than done.

We were now more than 10 years older, gone through too many rough moments and in a stage in our lives that anything we set out to do could go either way.

Gone were the years that you felt you could overcome anything that was thrown at you, that there was a way to make things better, that by putting your best effort, you would get what you hoped for.

It was a time of ‘let’s see what happens’ and of knowing that all that had significance to you could be lost in an instance; leaving you with scars that not even the best medicine could heal.

{October 12, 2015}   The Ex-Friend 5 – Making a move

My time abroad was short lived. Six months into being there, things changed on the project my then husband was working, so it was best to leave, but this time we were to go to the U.S., to the state he was born and raised.

It was a move I always wanted to do, but the transition wasn’t easy. We didn’t have a job, were living with family and me adjusting wasn’t easy.

I didn’t have anything in common with family and friends; had no credit to show for myself, so getting even a store card wasn’t happening. My job experience was in another country and was even questioned if my studies were done at an accredited school.

We were starting from zero when other couples were already settled down. There was a lot going on that would eventually burst the bubble years later.

Eventually all would level down, including moving into a home and reconnecting with my friend. I have no recollection how I learned he had also moved to the states to work with the same company, or how I got his personal and work phone numbers.

I would communicate with him the same way as before, leaving a message and waiting for him to call back. When we spoke, the topics were always the usual and discussed in the same order: how we were, how was work, family, and any news that was important to share.

But this time I was doing the calls from a home office when my ‘x’ wasn’t around. He had expressed to me that he didn’t liked me speaking with my male friends, even though he knew nothing ever happened between us. I resented my ‘x’ deeply for this, but tried to manage it the best way possible.

As time progressed, my then friend switched jobs about 3 times. I think he lost the job with the airline, went back home, then worked with a cargo company, and came back to the states yet again.

One occasion he was here in town for work and all 3 of us had dinner together. It was great seeing him. My ‘x’ didn’t spoke a word the whole night.

There was a second time my friend was in town, but it was during the first period that my ‘x’ left home. I was so confused and scared, I declined having dinner with him, fearing it would make matters worth with my situation. That’s how overwhelmed I was. This was probably the first time I said ‘no’ to my friend.

I don’t recall how much I told him about what was happening or if he commented anything about it, but I would imagine he made himself available for anything he could do for me.

Maybe he didn’t say much because of how delicate the situation was. One thing’s for sure and that was that he would always be on my side, no matter how bad things turned out for me.

He was my friend, period, in the good and bad, for better or worse, in sickness and health, until another kind of ‘death’ did us part.

After my wedding and honeymoon, I settled with my then husband at the apartment he was living at. We married late November and before the end of year, we adopted a dog and celebrated our first Christmas.

I was still doing my post-grad. I had completed the coursework, but had to write a thesis to graduate.

My ‘X’ spouse’s contract had another year to go, so I took the time to advance my writing as much as possible and adapt to married life.

It was a challenging time; I didn’t know if I would be able to finish my studies or where we would be relocated.

I had always dreamt of leaving my home, but not to a place I didn’t know if I would like it or not. But was young and thought that if we both stuck together, we could overcome anything.

Because of all happening in my life, I lost even more communication with my then friend. His night shift made it hard for me to talk to him, even more now that I was married.

Plus, I had moved to another neighborhood, so I wasn’t visiting the pharmacy much. His mom would be my news link whenever I got my hair done.

A year later, my x’s contract ended, but instead of relocating to where his employer would decide to, he chose to pursue an opportunity abroad.

I wanted a change, but this was more than I expected. It all happened within a few months. We were to take all we had, including the dog, with us.

When arranging for the flight for both dog and me (my ex had left first), I purchased the pet crate and tickets with the airline my friend worked at.

I believed I called my friend to make sure I had made the right arrangements for my dog and make sure he traveling in cargo would be fine.

On the day I was to leave, I don’t know why, either I didn’t ask him to be there or he just didn’t show up because of his schedule. Even my ‘x’ wondered if he could be there.

All I remember was that my parents were there. My mom broke down in tears before I entered the gate and my dad calmed my dog before he was taken away.

I was nervous wreck and did my best not to show it, especially my mom. I kept looking around if by any chance my friend would appear.

Had he been there, he would probably have been in total control as usual, would have looked at me and said, “You’re going to be fine. Now, go with your husband”, meaning, “You’re all grown now; my work is done here and you need to be with the person you vowed to be with”.

It was one of those moments I needed his reassurance that he had confidence in me that I could overcome this or anything that came my way. He had always given me the guidance needed and never held me back.

So, why should I be afraid? Because our lives had greatly changed. Everything changes and sometimes as much effort one may put into things, other forces take away what always brought together to never bring you back. And when that happens, there’s nothing you can do to change it.

et cetera

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