The New M.E. Generation











It’s Thanksgiving weekend, so I usually take this time to call people I haven’t heard of during the year. Top of list, Ivan, of course. In spite him never calling me, every so often I get this feeling that I need to check upon him.

I know the moment of us having anything is way gone, but I still contact him as an indirect sounding board (or ‘a person you run things by’ – Your Dictionary.com) to prove to myself that, yes, I’m doing fine, and better than other people I know (especially him).

I recently had also seen that he had opened a separate social media profile. There was a photo of him in what seemed a hotel room, which was odd to me. So it got me curious.

I dialed the number and was waiting to get his voicemail, which is what always happens, when he answers.

“Hey Ivan, it’s Emma, how are you?” asked I.

“Hi…!” said he with a tone that he didn’t immediately recognize who I was (am I in your contacts list by any chance??), plus that the top of the world fell on him.

“I thought you wouldn’t take my call, so, this is a first,” said I.

“I’m sorry Emma,” replied he. “I lost my phone once before. And my employer passed away about 2 weeks ago, so I’m out of work. She got really sick.” His tone now was one of being very nervous.

I never asked much about what he did, but my understanding was that he was the personal assistant to a wealthy elderly woman. He lived in a room in the big mansion she had and was allowed to drive the fancy cars she had. He even escorted her to trips.

I always felt there was something awkward here, but, hey, we all got to pay the bills.

Personally, he was always stressed. He had lived in another state before, his family is on the other side of the world, has no relatives here in the U.S., all which gave me a sense that he was very much alone and had no idea how to make his life less complicated.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said I (referring to the old woman). Him without work? Not so much. He knew this day would come. If he didn’t planned his next move, then he dug his own crave.

“So what happens now?” asked I.

“I don’t know… the family wants me to leave the house immediately… I need to get myself a place to live, a car…” said he like someone who’s still on panic mode.

“Ivan, stop, you’re making me anxious!!!” I got so out of focus, I had to breath slowly to get my mojo back.

Ivan apologized and the conversation continued normal. Among his other comments was that he was planning to go into the financial real estate sector (good luck with that).

I let him do the talking, the reason being that I wondered if he would ask if I was dating anyone. If he does, it means he’s on the same boat as me.

“Well, you read my mind,” said I. “No relationship yet. And that site you told me about, lots of fake users. Very disappointing.”

“I don’t understand. You’re such a pretty woman,” said he.

“Thanks. It’s nice to be told that, but after you move beyond it, there’s not much to look for in guys, unless sleeping with them is fine with you,” replied I. “How about you?”

“I’m going out with a girl from my country. We’re sort of together, but nothing serious. She has helped me a lot with some things,” said he in a tone that he doesn’t even know where he’s standing.

“Sounds to me that you’re with her more for what she’s giving you than your feelings for her,” said I. (And the 5-seconds delay starts now!) He was speechless.

“Like I’ve said before, I don’t know who’s having it worse, you and your bad relationships, or me being alone because guys have turned out substandard,” continued I.

He gave me the usual disappointment sigh and changed the subject by saying, “we should get together and have coffee or something.” (You don’t have a car, remember?)

“You know how long you’ve been telling me that? 4 years. That’s the same time I’ve been living in my present apartment,” continued I. “I haven’t seen you since I moved.”

“Really?? Sorry, I’m not a good person sometimes,” said he.

“That’s not true! I wouldn’t have called have I thought that. You just need to get a grip on your life. Maybe now’s your chance to do that.”

The conversation lasted close to an hour. The next day I called again; he was riding his bicycle (and the wind background noise sounded like that scene in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ where the twister blows the house away) and said that ‘he needed to leave town for a day or so’.

Kudos to him for ‘blowing off some steam’. And like the Wicked Witch of the East, riding fast to Neverland (oops, wrong story) and staying there for a while might be the start of his ‘happily ever after’.

Will I ever call him again? You bet your sweet B I won’t. It’s time to close the book on this one. The End.

 

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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 new year’s came and went. I made the best of what was left of my vacation days and returned to work with a new attitude. But, not sign of Ivan.

I think I was halfway through my workweek when I felt ‘teasing’ Ivan with a text to see if there was ever any reaction from him.

‘I didn’t hear from you at all again. So disappointing’, text I.

He surely reacted, about 5 minutes later. That was fast! And, no, it wasn’t with a text; he actually called.

“Why are you disappointed??!!,” asked he.

“Well, because…I answered your text and you never text again.”

“I had family visiting and it got complicated. You know how that goes.”

“I know that. And I replied to you that I would have loved to meet with both of you.”

“Listen, I can’t talk now. Will call you back,” said he while finishing the call in record time of about 2 minutes.

Really? How many times haven’t I heard this before or barely having an exchange of words?

About 3 minutes later he sent me a text: ‘Sorry, my employer was close when I was talking to you.’

And in true Ivan fashion, he hasn’t followed up on what he said he would do. But instead of getting upset as I used to do, I started laughing about what just happened. It made me remind that feeling when you were a child and decide to do something that you hope results that way you hoped for.

It was just the best one in the world. The fact that I was to tell no one made it even more enjoyable. It’s like having full control of what you do in your own little world.

I kept working with a nice smile on my face and feeling so happy with myself. Heck, I haven’t felt like this for a long time.

I let another week or so to go by as I and did what I’ve done before many times, send a new text: ‘Hey, you never called me back.’

Did he reply? Of course not! So I laughed again and forgot about it.

A new chance to text him happened when a girlfriend of mine was celebrating her birthday around where Ivan lives.

I thought about texting him, ‘I will be in your area tonight’, but decided not because I knew he would be another ‘no show’.

I went to the party, had fun, came back home and put myself to sleep, just like this situation has been.



I left to my New Year’s party invitation and completely forgot about Ivan on my way to it.

The place I’ve spent this night has been pretty much the same these past few years. Even better, the usual people go there, so we all know each other and I don’t feel out of place in spite of going alone.

It was a great night. I danced, partied plenty, ate great food and even enjoyed being around other people’s kids.

I also made sure and got something to wear just for the night. I went to a secret location that I know and scored a dress from an Asian designer with a quirky pattern that had golden accents on it.

I was glad that I found what I had envisioned on my mind: different, with a metallic color and even more, at a great price.

Yep, metallics are very popular during the holidays, but for me it represented trying to end the year and start the next one with a new glow.

Some of the people complemented my dress and I was glad they did. Thinking back at my other ensembles, I realized how they have evolved as a reflection of my times and emotions.

I will say that this year’s dress is the most fashionable so far. I’ve even changed my hairstyle which I got even more complements for.

If you looked at it you will see that the shape is simple, but the colors are bright (purple, red, blue) in structured lines all over the fabric.

It correlates with my current state of mind that I like things bright as they relate to light or positive things. Metallics reflect sunshine and capture the glow of stars. It all goes back to light, enlightenment, opening your space within yourself to let it shine in new things.

Although the background of the fabrics is black, the intensity of the color was perfect to make the others stand out. So in a way it means that my darker times are moving back and new shades are stepping in.

When midnight arrived I cried as I always do, but less intense as other years. People hugged me and I thanked everyone, including the house dog, for this night which they made it special.

The family even lighted some lanterns, which flew away in the sky. It gave me a feeling that I finally let go of the negative and that the light was showing the universe that, ‘I’m still here, watch me soar’.

I left the party when everyone started leaving and still no sign of Ivan, so I went home and relaxed before going to bed.

It was still dark, but the night had been perfect. I looked at the stars from my window and instead of making a wish I closed my eyes and said to myself, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’, and thought nothing else.

I opened my eyes. It’s a new year of new beginnings.



The days went by and no sign of Ivan. To be honest, I was caught up with finishing the work year and looking forward to the vacation days that I forgot about him. It had been hectic at work and really needed some ‘me’ time. I just wanted to enjoy the holidays and end the year in a good note.

It wasn’t until New Year’s Eve that he resurfaced just as he said he would.

“Hey, I’m back in town and my sibling is visiting. What are you doing tonight?” text he.

I was surprised he actually contacted me, but even more that he invited me to celebrate this day with a family member.

“I actually have plans for tonight. But would love to meet up with you and your sibling some other time, perhaps tomorrow?” answered I.

He didn’t reply to my text. I was getting ready for the night, but also nervous that perhaps I was missing on an opportunity to see him, so I text him again.

“Maybe we could meet later after midnight?” text I.

Why not? I am the one complaining that nothing happens with guys and that my social life needs to improve. So then let’s do something really out of the norm for me. These moments happen rarely and this day only once a year.

No reply. Guess he was expecting another answer? Now what? Switch to ‘desperate mode’ and call him.

But, he went back to his old self: no answer. I left a voice message summarizing what I wrote, that would love to get together with him and other person, either tonight, tomorrow or whenever convenient for him, and to please call me back.

Of course, that didn’t happen. I got somewhat upset, but quickly put it aside. This end of the year, I wasn’t allowing any guy to make me feel guilty about anything.

It has really been many difficult years, but slowly and surely, I’ve grown personally and spiritually to levels it has taken me plenty of effort to achieve. And I just wanted the next year to be better than before.

That I’ve hadn’t had a guy next to me at midnight ever since being single? True, but I know it won’t be forever.

Some people have come and gone and I have lived through the best and worst. May still not have a clue about the future and how I will get there.

But I am here still and at peace with myself, and tonight this is all that matters to me.



I have been pretty good in keeping my own promise of not contacting other guys.

Some have sent me messages once in a while just to inquiry about me.

I would read the message, analyze the content, as well as time and date received, and then reply, but not right away.

I know I don’t have to reply, but good manners never go out of style, and they reflect who I am as a person, so will keep it up.

One thing I’ve done different is that I don’t ask them ‘when are we seeing each other?’. If they were the ones to ask, then I would reply as brief as possible: ‘Don’t know. You tell me.’

Of course they would never follow-up, so at least I would ‘feel’ good that they remember me for whatever reason that may have been.

The year came and went, and when the holidays were approaching, I thought about just wishing then good things as you’re supposed to. Besides, I had no regrets or hard feelings, so, why not?

The thought circled my mind for days, but with work and projects pending before vacation started, I kept telling myself to do it for days, but wouldn’t get around to do it.

When I finally made the time to do so, I get a text no other than from Ivan. It was like my thoughts had text him instead.

He was one of those that were on my mental list to contact.
In spite of his many failed relationships and tons of dispensed advice to him, plus all those times he said ‘we will definitely meet’, which he never got to, there has always been something about this guy that brings me back to him. Trying to decipher what that is as complex for me as trying to understand what really happened that we’re not together.

“Happy holidays”, text he.

“Thanks! Likewise. How’s life treating you?” (meaning as if you’re involved with someone). Last time I spoke with him he had recently ended the relationship ‘for good’ after endless attempts.

The breakup and comebacks were so bad, I told him at one point that I didn’t know what was worse, his tumultuous relationships or me not having found a boyfriend since becoming single.

“What are your plans?” asked he then.

“Staying around. Got some invitations. You?”

“Leaving town, but will be back before the new year. We definitely need to do something when I return.”

“Sounds good. Call me. Have fun.”

I know he won’t call, not even if Santa appeared to him. It’s one of those things you stopped believing in when you learn the truth about it, but just don’t want to let go off.

It was a great feeling when you got what you once wished for and one just wants to feel it again.

After all, isn’t that’s what the season about, believing?



I waited about 2 days and called him before going to sleep. To my surprise, he answered the phone.

Once again, he sounded he wasn’t exactly on this world; it was more like being away on dreamland, but not upset that I called.

“Oops, did I wake you up?” asked I.

“No, I’m in bed relaxing.”

Hmm, it felt very inviting for a moment. Yet, he has always shared his space with all those problematic women, but never with me. I wondered why and couldn’t find an answer.

“All those women you date got you all worn out?” continued I.

“I only date one woman at a time, you know that.”

“Sounds to me like one far too many.”

Ivan didn’t answer. He knows I’m right and I’m sure he wasn’t interested in me giving him a speech yet again about how badly he manages his love life.

“I wanted to call you to thank you for listening to me the other day. I know I got all emotional, but it was all bottled up and just couldn’t control myself.”

“I understand. No worries. Listen, there’s a free dating site you should try.”

“What?? Didn’t you say to me you wanted to take a break? How many women have you met or dated?”

“Just a few, but that was not a recent thing. I really intend to be on my own for a while.”

“At the rate you’re going, next time I speak with you, I bet you’re in a relationship, maybe living with that person, you eloped or moved to the other side of the world. With you, anything is possible.”

“It’s also possible that for once in my life I will finally follow through on what I say.”

“You know what will happen next? I will get into this site you’re talking about and come across your photo.”

“No, it’s not active right now.”

“It’s a surprise to hear that, but a good start indeed. I will give it a try and let you know.”

“You will find someone. Remember, be patient. Everything will be good in the long run. Trust me.”

Trust you when you can’t even do that with yourself? Please, don’t make me laugh! Actually, it’s not a bad idea.

And regarding the site, hey, it’s free. What have I got to lose?

For starters, my dignity and sanity. That can be followed by my lack of patience and sense of lost hope that I will ever meet someone worth anything.

I know Ivan means well, but he’s the last person whom I would take romantic advice.

On that aspect, trust me, I know, plenty.



I turned my chair to face the wall, so no one could see my tears flowing down my eyes. It was one of those moments when not even waterproof make-up could conceal the emotions that were pouring out.

It started getting so bad, I grabbed my shawl and wrapped it all the way to my nose. More than for warmth, the item became my mask and handkerchief.

“This year has been so difficult,” said I. “I’m still with no guy. Every one that I meet isn’t worth anything. This month would have been my 20-year anniversary.

I know the grass is never greener on the other side. But there are times when I just feel that my life sucks and won’t change for the better.

I’m grateful that I have many blessings. But I’m not asking for much. I’m a good person and don’t understand why I’m still single.

All I want is to settle down, have a family, and live a tranquil existence. Why can’t I just get that?”

“You will find someone,” said he. “You have to be patient.”

“How many times you’ve told me that and still nothing? At least you’re always with someone, for better or for worse.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m happy. And, no, right now I’m not with someone. I want to take a break.”

“You always say that too. When I turn around you’re back in being in a relationship.”

“I know; I’m a disaster. But I really want to be alone for a while. When Thanksgiving comes, I’m getting a bottle of champagne and drink it all alone at my place. Not interested in going to any parties or anything.”

“You don’t have to be so extreme. You can celebrate the holiday very low key with people that really care about you.”

“I’m not in the mood to be with anyone. How about you?”

“I’ll be with family. I mean, it’s good, but won’t help much that I’m so sad, angry, frustrated at so many things. I need an extraordinary experience to happen to me that will give me a new perspective and change everything that I am.”

“Things will get better for you.”

“When? I’m tired of waiting. I want it to happen already.”

Ivan and I talked for a few more minutes. It was a brief conversation as usual, but it was the first one that after talking to him I felt some relief.

After hanging up, I turned to face the computer again and luckily nobody saw or heard me while talking.

I quickly ran out into the bathroom to hide and chill out for a few minutes.

I could barely look at myself on the mirror. But turns out using the shawl as handkerchief saved some of my make-up, so I was able to fix it good enough that people wouldn’t notice my tears.

Once back at my desk, I realized I didn’t thank Ivan for listening, or that to remember he had (sort of) promised to meet me one day for drinks.

So, call him again? I’ll drink to that.



I made the call and about 4 rings later, got his voicemail, not with his voice, but those who are automated (‘You have reached the mailbox of…).

I’ve always hated those, so impersonal and robotic. Besides, he’s a guy and the voice is that of a woman. Why aren’t there other alternatives that might ‘personalize’ it somehow?

So, in my usual manner, I left Ivan the same message I always do. “Hi, Ivan, it’s me, Emma. Just calling to say hello and know how things are going with you. Hope all is well. Call me if you can.”

He called me back about 3 days later while I was at work. That’s what usually happened; he would either never return my call, or do so at a day and time it would be difficult for me to give him my undivided attention, forcing the call to conclude quickly.

I know he’s always busy and returning my call it’s done in-between the little free time he has. But the real reason he would do it this way is because he’s not much of a talker, especially with me. He knows I will tell him the truth about his existence and, when I do, I’m not nice.

But this time around, I was the one who needed to be listened to. It was almost the end of the year and this one had been particularly difficult.

On top of that, I was still without a guy, would have been my 20-year anniversary, as well as my late father’s birthday.

At work, things were complicated as well. My boss was giving me a hard time and the other assistant couldn’t take the heat from her either.

Every day that I would walk through the door, this person would have a long face and would immediately start bitching about the boss.

Everything just piled up and I was reaching my breaking point. I didn’t know what to do. Beyond feeling that life was unfair to me, I felt time kept going by and I was stuck in the same place as always. That moment of great change hasn’t happened and was wondering if it would ever do.

“Hey, Ivan, how are you?”

“Fine, sweetie; how are you? Sorry I’m calling you at work.”

“It’s all right; I can talk for a few.” Lucky me, my boss wasn’t in the office. “Actually, no, I’m not that well.”

“What’s going on? Talk to me.”

“Question is, what has not happened to me.”

And just like that, this need to cry out all my emotions suddenly overwhelmed me.

No turning back now. Have to let it all out.



et cetera