The New M.E. Generation

{November 15, 2008}   The Bostonian 11 – I’m back!

Annette and I parked on the lot next to the building where the apartment we lived in is located. I stand on the same spot I stood before I left school. The same spot where I promised myself I would be back.

‘I’m back. I’m finally back!’ I said to myself.

Most of the students have not yet arrived to campus, so unfortunately there’s no one inside.

We kept walking around the complex and found the other apartment Annette and I shared when we first met; no one’s inside either. This is where I first met Mark shortly before the Canada trip.

I then searched for my sophomore-year apartment that housed four people. The door’s open. There are people here, awesome!

I knocked on the door and shouted, “Hello…!”
I heard a guy respond, “Yeah?”
“I lived here many moons ago. Do you mind if I came in?” I asked.
“No problem, go ahead,” the guy said.

I ran up the stairs and came face to face with two guys. They looked at me as if I was an angel who had just descended from heaven. One had a face that read, ‘Thank You!’ as if his prayers had finally been answered.

“OMG! It looks exactly as I remember it!” I exclaimed. I took a good look at the kitchen and living room and felt once again the excitement of the new school year like in the past.

Do you mind if I go upstairs?” I then asked.

The guys are still in a daze. One of them finally snaps out of it. “Ah, sure…”

And off I went up the stairs. The bed, desk, and dresser are still there. The space looked smaller that what I remembered and the years of constant use of the furniture showed.

The bed that I slept in is empty; the fourth roommate has not yet arrived. I sat on it and looked out the window like I used to back then. Back when I lived days one at a time, back when I wondered what was out there for me when I left this place.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day. I closed my eyes and felt traveling back in time. For a brief moment I was again that sophomore college student who had no idea where she was headed, but knew would get there somehow.

I embraced the moment and that person. I realized she wasn’t gone; it just became dormant the minute I changed my way to please (him).

I then opened my eyes and found the inner peace I needed to go on, just like I did before.

Annette and I had more to see. We thanked the guys for their hospitality and as we are going down the stairs towards the door, a man who is one of their fathers is coming up. He looked at me like, ‘Where did you come from?’

“Did you see those guys’ faces when we were there?” I asked Annette after exiting the apartment.

She laughed out loud. “I must tell you that they were looking at you, and I will say this, after not seeing you for so many years, I think you look awesome!”

Annette and I walked everywhere, including past the building where the Halloween parties used to be held. I looked at the walkway from the last apartment we both shared that leads to it, and I got a flashback. I saw Mark, Annette and I walking all dressed up in our costumes, ready to party the night away.

The memory is playing back in my mind when I asked myself this: if I had the chance to go back in time to my college years and live it all over again, would I?

The last stop we made was at the school pond and sat on the boardwalk. We’re heading back to Boston afterwards. I looked around and took a picture in my mind of the whole place.

No, I can’t turn back time. The years that I spent here belong to that time and space and cannot be changed. I exhaled. I finally got the closure I needed for this period in my life.

So now, what about my current one?

Ever since the break-up occurred, I’ve been considering that perhaps it would be better for me to relocate somewhere else and start my life over. I have decided I will not. I will find the way to make it work.

It’s time to leave this place. It’s time for me to go back to ‘the city’ and live the life that I deserve.

I no longer feel scared about anything. I know I will definitely be fine.

{November 14, 2008}   The Bostonian 10 – Remember?

We returned to campus after lunch. Annette and I were to walk around campus on our own, so we had to say good-bye to Dr. S in front of his office building.

After all these years of waiting for a reunion and a quick lunch, it was once again time for me to depart. I mean, what are the chances that this reunion might happen again?

I hugged Dr. S the same way I did back when he hand me my diploma and started to cry. I’m as confused as on graduation day and scared what the future holds for me.

“Remember that I thanked you for believing in me?” I said to Dr. S. “That is something that has always stayed with me. You don’t how much that has inspired me.”

“I remember,” he said. “I’ve never forgotten it. I still have the picture of that moment somewhere in my office.”

“What’s going to happen to me?” I asked him.

Dr. S kissed my forehead. “I know exactly what you’re going through, and I assure you that you will come out of this just fine.”

I avoid saying good-bye and I’m having difficulty letting go. When you’re in college one is in a comfort zone you just don’t want to loose because the real world is hard to come by.

My marriage was the same; a fish bowl that I in part created to be safe and risk-free so life could flow uninterrupted. More than ending a relationship of many years, I didn’t want to let go of the security that had always guarded me. I was afraid of facing the real world again on my own, with no one there to hold my hand.

{November 13, 2008}   The Bostonian 9 – Road trip

I flew to Boston about a month later. Ross never contacted me again.

On the second day of my visit, Annette and I hit the road to Connecticut to visit our school. Dr. S was expecting me.

I have been contacting him on and off throughout the years, and he’s never been short of encouraging words. In other words, he has never stopped believing in me.

About two hours later in our road trip, we finally got to school and parked on the first spot we found.

We’re here! I’m as excited as the day I first stepped foot on campus. I took a good look at the place. I felt 18 again. I wanted to run across campus just like when I was late for class.

“Let’s go, he’s waiting for us,” I told Annette.

We arrived at Dr. S’s office and he’s on a meeting, so we sat in a waiting area for his return.

About 20 minutes later I see Dr. S walking down the hallway. Our eyes make contact and felt for a moment as if time has not gone by.

It’s him!! I got up from my seat and stroke a ‘how do I look?’ pose with a big smile on my face. I then ran up to him.

“Wow! Look at you!” says Dr. S. He has a face he quite can’t believe that I’m here standing in front of him.

We gave each other a warm hug. I closed my eyes and held back my tears. After all these years, my wish finally came true. I don’t remember the last time I felt this happy.

After the formal introductions, etc., we all then went to lunch.

Conversation during this time revolved around many things: Annette and I being roommates, our days as students, life. My divorce.

Dr. S understands what I’ve gone through. He got divorced once, but now is happily remarried. He knows all about it, he’s been there.

I’m looking at Dr. S and wonder what he is thinking or might be remembering about me.

The last day I saw him I was just a student waiting for life to start. Here I was now, all grown-up and divorced, waiting for life to give me a second chance to make it happen again.

It’s now been more than a decade since I left this place. How much of that then 21-year old Emma is still in me?

{November 12, 2008}   The Bostonian 8 – Fireworks

We left the bar late in the evening so we decided to call it for the night.

When we are walking back to the car, Ross holds my hand.

The Earth stood still. I felt fireworks bursting in the sky. I felt pretty. I floated in air again. I’m wishing the whole world could see me now, especially (him). I wanted this moment to last forever.

He then took me home. He walked me to my building’s door. I kissed him on the cheek as we all Latinos do, thanked him for such a great time, and said my goodnight. He said he would call tomorrow. He’s gone.

The next morning Madelyn called me. “Heeey girl. Where you’ve been??”

“I went out last night with Ross.”

“You did?? Well, get dressed! Dina and I are hungry. Tell us about it during brunch.”

First order of the day wasn’t exactly the ‘early bird’ special.

“So what happened?? You have to tell me everything!” said Dina.

“Nothing extraordinary happened, really,” I said with not such a great poker face.

Dina gave me her ‘I don’t believe you’ look. I hyperventilated yet again. Don’t know why, but I omitted the part that Ross held my hand.

“Not even a kiss??” asked Madelyn. She analyzed my facial expression in full detail and knew I wasn’t telling the whole story.

“No, but he said he would call me today…” I explained.

I felt more I was sitting on the witness stand than in our usual Sunday brunch.

I needed to switch conversation. “So, Madelyn, how is the job hunting going?”

The breakfast continued uninterrupted. I then looked at the two of them. They are my best friends. They’ve been with me through the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are neither artificial ingredients nor plastic components here. No high interests. Our friendship is natural. They have stood by me when so many others turned their backs when I needed them the most.

I can’t imagine them not being part of my life, not now, not ever.

We decided to go for a drink after the movie. I offered to buy the first round at a bar; Ross neither answered yes or no.

Once again the location made me felt like I’m back in college, so I shifted the conversation towards this topic.

He tells me that he worked his way through school, but has not yet completed his degree. He taught English in Venezuela. He moved to ‘the city’ to basically get away from the cold Massachusetts weather. His last job didn’t work out as planned. He’s in the process of reorganizing his life.

‘Reorganizing his life, interesting. Sounds just like me,’ I thought to myself.

He also sounded younger than me. OK, it’s my turn to drop the bomb.

“How old are you Ross?”
“30.” (record scratching)

The bomb got dropped on me instead.

What is going on here? Am I looking that young? Am I really that pretty or are these men just looking for something else? Let’s get this straight; I’m almost old enough to be this guy’s mom.

I started hyperventilating again.

‘Please don’t ask me how old I am. Please, please, please!!!’ I said to myself while breathing in fast speed ready to deliver a baby. I’ve never had a child but this was definitely the closest I could get.

My inner voice then talked to me, “Emma, think quickly!! Do something!!!”

A millisecond passed and I’m staring at Ross with my eyes wide open like deer’s in the headlights.

Another millisecond passed when I finally reacted. I turned to the bartender and shouted, “Two more beers please!!”

I then turned back again looking at Ross. “And these ones are on me!!”

{November 10, 2008}   The Bostonian 6 – The simple life

Ross and I are standing in line to buy the movie tickets when I get nervous.

Should I pay for my ticket or should he? I started hyperventilating. Breathe in; breathe out, slowly. Some divine intervention, please. Anyone?

It’s our turn. I took out my credit card and offered to pay mine. “Forget that,” he said.

We sat at the theater and the movie trailers were previewed. The one for ‘Mamma Mia’ came up and I started singing to all the Abba songs featured in it, especially ‘Dancing Queen:’
‘You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of you life’

‘Hey, maybe this is how things will turn out to be,’ I said to myself, ‘having the best time I’ve ever had, living the life I truly deserve.’

“Oh, by the way, I sing all the time,” I told Ross.

I then got a flashback of me singing to Donna Summer’s ‘Last Dance’ song at my ‘x’ 40th birthday party back in 2006. I didn’t let anyone else get a hold of the microphone. After all I had gone through, I needed to get whatever I had bottled inside out of my system. I didn’t care if my singing was good or bad. I just did it.

(What’s his name) didn’t acknowledge what I did. Once again he managed to hit our relationship with another sour note.

The Eddie Murphy film, ‘Meet Dave,’ was a hit for a date movie. We both laughed throughout the entire feature. There were no sex scenes, nudity, violence or political undertone. Perfect.

It was like when I was single, when things were much simpler and didn’t give much thought of what should happen next. I took life one day at a time and that was it.

I exhaled. If only my life could be as perfect as this moment.

{November 9, 2008}   The Bostonian 5 – Date flick

Ross picked me up and we drove to the movies. We decided to see the Eddie Murphy comedy flick, ‘Meet Dave.’ You know you can never go wrong with one of those. Could it be any safer than this?

I may have been out of the dating loop for many years and may not presently know how to approach certain things (like ‘my number or yours’ issue), but I certainly was not going to get in an uncomfortable situation.

This meant opting for a movie that would ruin the night like a chick flick, man flick, extremely violent or political film, or movies that involved sex or nudity (unless you want to ‘hit the sack’ with the other person or are already engaging in that).

My life has had too much drama in the last year. It’s an election year and I’m OD’ed on politics already. I’ve been single ever since (what’s his name) left me. He was all I knew for 15 years of my life. I never cheated. I never looked at another man.

I wanted this date to be as simple as that first one with (him). Back then he came to pick me up at home, met my mom, then went to the movies, and at the end of the night (he) brought me back home. He held my hand and kissed me goodnight at the door. His eyes were glowing with joy. I floated on air. It was a beautiful courtship.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

{November 8, 2008}   The Bostonian 4 – Round two

It’s Saturday afternoon and I get a text message from Ross. I had a great time at the bar the night before and I am hoping to see him again.

Because of the ‘2am Swedish incident’, I actually took the risk of asking Ross first for his number when we met at the bar.

“How about if you gave me your number?” I had asked.

Ross gave me this look of disapproval. “Men are the ones who are supposed to be doing the courtship.” I wondered if Dina and him knew each other by any chance.

I responded to his message and he kept texting back. This is costing me 20¢ per entry, why can’t he just call?

Bingo! He did. After some uninteresting conversation, we finally decided to go to the movies.

I tried to place it safe again. “We can meet there if you want,” I proposed.

“No, I will definitely pick you up,” said Ross.

‘Oh, how nice,’ I thought to myself. Or, is he? I started getting nervous.

Questions like, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ ‘Should I invite him to my apartment afterwards?’ ‘What if…?’ are crossing my mind uncontrollably.

‘What is wrong with me??’ I asked myself, to which my inner voice responded, “Emma, move your hiney and get ready!!”

Ok, ok, I’m going…

The next day I sent an email to my ex-roommate. “I have to tell you what happened to me last night. Call me.”

I met Annette during my junior year in college. I was rooming with this Latina girl who was a senior back then (the one who was dating Mark’s best friend the year we all traveled to Canada) on the same campus apartment.

Annette and I were the most opposite people on campus. But we connected in some unexplainable way. Ever since we graduated, she has never missed my birthdays and has managed to keep in touch with me throughout the years.

My wish to see my advisor was something I wanted to do ever since I left school. Back in those days I had no clue what I was to do with my life, and he (Dr. S) somehow ‘got me.’ He had endless patience and never lost faith in me.

I still remember when he hand me my diploma on graduation day. I shook his hand and hugged him. It was very emotional for me.

“Thanks for believing in me,” I said to him and started to cry. He patted me on my back when he hugged me while trying to hold back tears.

Mark attended my graduation and helped me move my things out of my college room a few hours later. Before I left, I took a last look at the building where I lived and vowed to be back one day.

Many years later I found myself again standing outside a residence that meant everything to me. I’m standing in front of what used to be my home. As part of the divorce, (what’s his name) and I agreed that it would not be sold, and that I would get the share of the property, but I had to move out.

This was the same house I had lived in since I arrived to ‘the city.’ The same place that (him) and I fixed together, were those parties were held. It is where I thought I would live for the rest of my life.

I have been forced to do something I did not want to do.

All my belongings are inside the moving truck, and the driver is waiting for me to lead the way to the apartment I have leased.

I stared at it one last time. ‘You took away all that mattered to me the most, and I will never forgive you for that. But, don’t worry, I’ll be back,’ I said to myself.

Yes, I meant this place and, more importantly, that I would get my life back in such a way he would regret leaving me.

These two events in my life couldn’t correlate even more. I was scared, confused, and facing the world on my own, with no idea of how to tackle whatever life was to throw at me.

et cetera