The New M.E. Generation

I don’t remember if I ever got to see Jeffrey again after his visit to my new place. But we would talk on the phone, on and off, of course.

A few months later, his birthday came up. From our previous conversations, I knew things were still the same as usual. His relationship had gotten worse, his business was struggling, and he couldn’t see the day that his life in general would start change for the better (or he finally had the guts to make this change).

So the only thing I could do was to call him and wish him well. “Jeff, hi, it’s me. I know it’s your birthday so I wanted to wish you good things your way, and that all gets resolved for the best. Love you man.”

A few hours later he returned my call. His voice sounded that he was touched by my message and even teary-eyed. ‘Thank you very much’ was all he could say because his voice chocked.

He was on the verge of crying but he held back. I knew he was deeply sad but didn’t tell me.

I told him again that I appreciated him, thought he was a wonderful person, and that nothing would give me more peace than him finally turning his life around and be happy. All he could answer was ‘I know’ repeatedly.

Yes, I was reaching out to him, but I could feel he was holding back to accept my love for him. I know why he did.

When one has been hurt so much and the pain takes over, you don’t allow yourself for the good to touch you because one feels that, in the long run, it will turn around to become bad and hurt you yet again.

It’s easier to build a wall that shields you because it is all one has known.

We want the good, but we’re scared of it. One thinks that if we shift our emotions to neutral, or not feeling anything, we will be fine.

But we’re not.

A former classmate of mine, Rob, found out I was living in the area and contacted me. I’ve been reconnecting with an assortment of people throughout the months and it was very pleasant to see him again after so many years.

Rob picked me up and we decided to have some drinks. We are sitting at the bar having a great time. Some time later, he excuses himself from the table and while he was away, I started looking around at the other people, when all of a sudden (record scratch sound in my head), I see, Erik?

OMG, he’s sitting right on the opposite side of the table. And I’m wearing the same dress that day I met him! Is this for real?

I kept staring at him and he seemed to have briefly stared at me. He is sitting with a pretty girl, looking very cozy with her. I could only wonder if that’s the girl he talked about in his message.

When Rob gets back, we kept talking about school, then life. I don’t mention the Erik incident.

“I remember you were very shy and always sitting quietly at your desk,” Rob says.

He’s been divorced for some time and it was inevitable that the conversation would shift to this topic. I still needed to talk about this and I presented him with questions he can’t all answer.

“It takes time to heal, you know. Believe me, you’ve gone through the worst part already. One day you will look back and remember this conversation. What you need to do now is get your life back on track. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

‘You’ll be fine.’ That’s what everyone is telling me. But, will I be?

Just before we called it for the night, I see Erik finishing his drink, getting the check, etc. Before he gets up from the chair, he does what confirmed to me he was ‘that guy’ – he kisses the girl’s hand, just like he did when I first met him.

I called Dina the next day. “Remember the Swedish guy?” I dished out every detail, including the part about the dress.

“I don’t believe it. It’s so funny!” said Dina.

“It sure was, in every sense of the word,” I concluded.

I finally laughed for the first time in a long time.

Yes, maybe my friends are right. I’ll be just fine.

{October 5, 2008}   The Swedish Massage 5 – George

Some time passes without me knowing anything about Erik. I tried calling him with no luck. I then decided to call one of my boys, George, for help.

George lives in Washington DC and we’ve known each other for over 20 years. Our moms have known each other since their childhood. They were the ones who introduced us back home when I will still in school during one of my breaks, considering a career in Communications. At the time George was working in Advertising and them moms thought it would be good for me to have a chat about this with him.

George and I clicked from the moment we met and became fast friends probably because our lives coincided in many things. We are both children of divorced parents; we are inclined to express ourselves creatively like in photography, writing, or drawing. We enjoy comedy movies or other mediums that help develop our creative minds.

We were never interested in each other romantically which allowed us to bond and stay as friends. Our friendship has been so true that we would call each other after bad dates or relationships to seek support and advice. We had the confidence to cheer each other if we accomplished what he called a ‘violá’ (achieving with the other person what one was hoping for), or say straight forward if we knew the other person one of us was with wasn’t worth any of our time and effort.

We also knew that, whatever we decided to do in life, staying in our homeland was not where we could achieve it. The US was the gateway to pursuing our career dreams. George eventually decided to go back to school and study arquitecture. He was accepted in a school in Arizona, got married after graduation and moved to Texas. He was later offered a position in Washington DC and relocated.

In other words, George knows my personality inside and out. He knows where I’m coming from even before I finish my thought. I can’t think of anyone else who knows me as well as him. He has become my unofficial life coach.

“I would hate to be in your shoes right now Emma. Dating is not what it was when you and I were both dating.”

“I was with the same person for 15 years and he was all I knew. I honestly don’t know what to do.”

“All I can tell you is that I know that you’ll figure it out along the way and that you will be just fine.”

et cetera