The New M.E. Generation

We are all standing in an Indian-style line, pretty close to one another and with just a little bit of room, about less than six degrees of separation. I’m wondering what’s happening next when the coordinator answers that question.

“OK, take another step to your right and get closer to one another even more!” Maybe if I had kept that thought to myself this second squeeze wouldn’t have happened.

I hadn’t paid attention to who was standing behind me until we got really tight, and felt a bulk between my legs, something that I had not experienced since my break-up.

I slowly turned my head to the right to get a glimpse of the guy behind me. I see a tall dude with piercing blue eyes and a goatee on his face, sporting a bandana on his head and a tan darker than a roasted ‘lechon’ (pig) on Xmas Eve, with a big smile as if Santa Claus had just gotten to town.

He looked like, hum, like, hum, can’t quite figure it out…

“What’s your name sweetie?” he asked me.
“Ah, Emma…”
“Nice to meet you. The call me Pirate!”

You don’t say!

So what’s is he going to tell me next? Probably something like, ‘how about going back to my ship, I mean room, and bringing down the house? Aargh!’

I looked forward again and only one word came to my mind: ‘Help!!’

All I could do at that moment was stand there and ask myself what was I doing here. I’m starting to feel uncomfortable and couldn’t wait for this toast thing to be over.

But wait, there’s more!

One more thing is pending before I can walk off the plank.

I’m talking to some attendees when I started getting hungry. I love sushi and I’m considering eating some before heading home.

I see this guy sitting at a table by himself eating a plate, which looked pretty tempting to me from where I’m standing. I decided to go over to where he is.

“Hi, what’s that roll you’re eating?” I asked him. He tells me, but I could barely hear him with all the noise.

He asked me if I would like to sit down and join him. I accepted. We started talking and introduced ourselves. He tells me his name is Brian.

I took a closer look at him. “OMG! You probably know that you look exactly like…”
“Actor Woody Harrelson. Yeah, I get that all the time,” he said.

How about that? I’ve never met anybody that resembled a movie star.

“So, Brian, what is your area of expertise related to Marketing?”
“I’m not. I’m a firefighter.”
(Record scratching sound)
“You’re not here for the event?” I asked surprised.
“No, I’m off today and decided to come eat something.”

‘Oh. A firefighter. Interesting,’ I thought to myself. I don’t recall ever meeting or knowing someone in this career. I ordered some sushi for myself and we continued talking.

He disclosed that he’s divorced with kids. He’s also American from the same Hispanic descent as my ‘x,’ which made me really nervous.

The thing is, after the break-up I had made a vow with myself that I would never get involved with someone with the same background.

He then continued to ask me the usual personal questions, which I answered straight to the point. ‘I’m newly single.’ ‘No, I don’t have any children.’ ‘I was married for 14 years.’ This night I didn’t feel the need to expand on these topics.

He also touched the subject about my age. Like that of children, this is something that at times I simply don’t want to discuss either.

“If you were married all those years, I’m guessing you must be around 40,” Brian says.
“Something like that,” I concluded.

While I’m still eating, Madelyn sends me a text message, asking me how the event was going. I responded with, ‘I’m here with a Latino firefighter,’ to which she answered, ‘Good for you! Enjoy it, ok?’

I finished my meal and we decided to continue talking outside the restaurant. The noise level was way too loud to handle any conversation.

I take a deep breath. ‘This guy is so cute!’ I thought to myself (and so have the rest of the other ones I’ve met. Hint: I’m desperate). Can I just get my act together here and obviously not show that I’m excited of being with him?

{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.

My other girlfriend, Madelyn, called me early on a Friday morning. “I want to go out tonight, and since you read the ‘Weekend’ section top to bottom, get a scoop of what’s happening tonight and call me back.”

Madelyn is what I call ‘the third part of the equation.’ Dina, her and me worked together three years ago in an ad agency, and we all remained in contact throughout the years after I left the company.

We started hanging out more after my break-up. We basically became the female Latin version of the Rat Pack.

I’m reading the section, looking up for things that stand out of the ordinary besides dinner and a movie. I try the ‘Live Music’ column. There’s this entry for a Latin band playing ‘salsa’ music at a bar starting at 11pm. It also reads ‘Free.’

I called Madelyn back. “Got it.”

I didn’t wake up in such a good mood the next morning. Although I had come to a conclusion about what happened last night, I’m still dwelling on it. I couldn’t get a hold of George or Mark, so I decided to talk it over with Dina over the phone.

“I honestly don’t find anything offensive in what he said. It seems to me that’s how he is and expresses himself,” said Dina. “I also think you’re taking things way too personal.”

“I just didn’t like it, period. I’m having such a hard time dealing with anything related to guys since my break-up,” I told Dina.

“I suggest that, for now, you figure out what you want in regards to him,” concluded Dina.

I ended my conversation with her and just when I’m deciding whether or not to speak to Edward, sure enough he called me.

“Are you still mad at me? I apologize for whatever you’re upset about,” he said.

“My anger has nothing to do with you. This divorce has affected me in such a way, I’ve created a wall in front of me so I don’t get hurt again,” I said.

“Emma, our former spouses left us and we are both carrying a lot of baggage on our shoulders right now,” said he.

“At least you have your kids. What do I have?” I said.

“I love my kids more than anything, but there’s moments when I don’t even have time for myself. What you have is no attachments, a chance to start with a clean slate,” said he.

“I guess…”

“You and I have to give ourselves the chance of being with someone else if that occurs,” said Edward.

“I’m not interested in you right now if that’s what you’re implying,” I answered.

“Are you then asking me to step out of your life?” asked he.

“Just be my friend, if that’s possible,” I concluded.

After this conversation, Edward and I saw each other one more time at another Halloween party at a couple’s house he is friends with. A girl that attended was so all over him, that you could tell, if given the chance, she would have hit the sack with him.

“Tell me what you’re thinking,” Edward would ask me when the girl detached from him from time to time.

“You tell me. What are you going to do about her?”

“I don’t know. After all this time, it’s flattering to get this much attention,” he concluded. (How about taking her to your place and getting it over with, duh!)

Around midnight I sat by myself on a patio chair that gives a view of the house’s whole backyard. I felt traveling back in time to those years when I held the Halloween parties at my former residence. Too many memories crossed my mind and sadness engulfed me. It had been far too many costume changes for me already.

‘I don’t want to feel these sad emotions any more,’ I told myself.

I then looked at Edward. He’s dancing very close with the chick and really enjoying himself, or so he seemed. Um, I could be in her shoes right now.

I then left the party without saying good-bye to anyone. It’s time for me to exit this show and look forward to a new character in my life.

The next day Steve inquired about me at work.

George had explained to me that his desk and that of Steve’s are closely located to one another. Steve has the habit of speaking to him while sitting at his desk, with his face so close to his work, his voice sounds like he is deep inside a hole.

George is deeply concentrated on a design when he hears a weird voice calling him.

“Oh, George…”
“Do you know where your friend is?”
“Somewhere in the city, that’s for sure.”

About an hour later…
“Has your friend called?”
“No, but I’m sure she’s just fine.”
“Just checking…”
“I appreciate your interest Steve.”
“Any time.”

About another hour later…
“Do you know anything about your friend?”
“No, Steve, but I assure you you’ll be the first to know when that happens.”
“Please make sure you tell me.”
“I’ll hold your word on that.”

When George and I are heading home, he tells me the Steve story, and I’m amused at my 15 minutes of fame.

“Emma, you don’t realize it, but you are a very beautiful person in every sense of the word. That guy left you because he couldn’t appreciate you for what you really are.

There is a reason why this all happened. I can’t answer that for you, but what I can surely say is that you deserve better than him.

I know there’s so much for you out there and that, one way or the other, you’ll get where you need to go.”

I started crying and turned my face to the window so he can’t see me doing so. “I know, George, I know.”

It’s 2007, about a month since my then spouse had left me, when Dina calls me.

“Do you want to go to the Halloween Bash at the museum?” she asked.

“I sure do! I’ve always wanted to go to that!”

If you are really serious about dressing up, this is the party to be and be seen. I finally got my wish of having the opportunity to attend this event.

The following weekend I headed straight to the costume store where the first bomb was dropped. My mind is set to get the sexiest outfit I could possibly find.

I came across a one-piece sailor suit and (awesome!) they have my size; X-Small. I put it on and come out to look at myself at the big mirror outside the dressing room.

A young girl in her 20’s looks at me and says, “Where did you get that?? It looks so cute on you!!”

The salesgirl agrees with her. “Yeah, I really like it on you!”

I thanked them both and looked at myself again. Wait a minute, wasn’t this the same costume my ‘x’ said made me look fat five years earlier? You know what, I actually look good in it!

Yes!! I have nailed the costume and it’s all mine.

I changed back into my clothes, got a pair of matching stockings, and headed for the cashier.

I walked past where the costume was hanging. There are only a couple of them left.

“I don’t like it,” said my then spouse. “It’s too tight on you and makes your ass look big.”

Just when I thought it had sank to the bottom of the ocean, the body issue resurfaced faster than a torpedo launched from a submarine.

I’m standing in front of the mirror outside the dressing rooms. The saleswoman who helped me with the costume is speechless and so is everyone else who heard my “x’s” remark.

I kept looking at myself in the mirror and nothing crossed my mind. Now what?

What happened in-between this incident and the night of the party is now all a blur in my mind. He ended up dressing up as Neptune and me, yes, as The Little Mermaid, but not the first version. The final choice was more like the character in the movie with a halter-top and a long skirt that covered my legs. He chose that costume to complement mine.

The weeks previous to the party I was doing push-ups, walking, dieting, trying to look better for him. All guests once again complemented how great I looked, everyone except him.

What I do remember is grabbing the DJ’s microphone and singing my lungs out to Donna Summer’s ‘Last Dance.’ I needed to vent out my emotions and this was the only way I had to do it. I didn’t let anyone else get a hold of the microphone. This was my only chance to be on the spotlight for a few minutes and I went for it.

This party was another total success. I don’t recall if he thanked me for the party.

10 months later he was gone.

His sister also stepped out of my life. Neither during the first separation nor when my ‘x’ left me for good, did she made an appearance of any kind. No ‘I wish you the best’ or offering me anything that could help me along the way during that difficult period.

Like my former spouse, she also became and ‘x’. She was crossed out and is now non-existent in my life.

et cetera