The New M.E. Generation

Another 2 days went by before I got another reply, this time around 4am and still on a work week.

I wondered again if he was getting up or going to bed and what his whereabouts were. In other words, were you at home or, most probably, somebody else’s place?

Back in my days when I was doing my undergrad and living on campus, if you returned very late to your room, it had to be that you were either at the library (that was the main excuse everyone used) studying or writing a paper, or at the computer center.

Yes, I said the computer center. That’s where people went to type their papers before personal ones became a normal thing to have. And the place was open (I believe) until midnight or beyond.

If those 2 locations weren’t it, then it meant you were probably having some sort of relationship with someone else and managed to spend the night with that person. You either convinced the other roommate to go sleep somewhere else, or that other person slept in your bed with the roommate there as well.

Doing the second was no easy task, as having roommates was difficult per se and meant losing more of the little space and privacy you already had.

Then there was the situation if anyone called you. It was one phone paid by many and the calls were usually from parents, family, or significant others living at school or not.

The calls would mostly occur after 10pm as they knew all classes were done for the day, you already had dinner, etc.

But, that was not always the case. If you took the call, you had the misfortune of telling the caller that your roommate wasn’t there and that you didn’t know where she was, either that was true or not.

It was an uncomfortable situation because you always sounded as you were lying and hiding something.

Then there was the task of having to call them back and explain yourself. After saying ‘you were studying’, things would quiet down until the same scenario happened again.

Yes, it was a time that keeping track of others was no easy task, but is it that different now? Not really, except that all devices are personal and mobile, and you have total control in how you manage them.

In a way it’s harder as no one else knows what you’re doing, that is, if you keep it quiet to yourself.

So what am I thinking right now? That he probably had some chemistry with a girl in his biology class and decided to take it beyond the books. After all, he’s young, good looking and has goals for the future. What girl wouldn’t like that?

This got me thinking; this guy got my attention not necessarily for his merits, but because it’s making me remember my time in college.

That was a special time, as I finally got a chance to be on my own and started to discover who I really was, just like when I became single again.

The negative part is the age difference, which is making me feel old, and that feeling is not good at all.

I may have reversed the effects of what I’ve gone through, but there’s no ‘time’ capsule for the other half of the equation.

You have to swallow it no matter what.

{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?

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.

The location had a laid back atmosphere. The building looked like a warehouse and it had a pool table in one corner, the bar in the middle, and the stage on the other side. The music had already started when we arrived, and the dance space was packed.

There were no open spots in the bar, so we sat in some couches next to the pool table. I’m watching people dance when, out of nowhere, this nice looking guy asked me to dance.

“What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Oh, like the ‘Friends’ character,” I said.

He gave me this look that he gets that line all the time. He also had dark hair and blue eyes like the actor who played the role.

“Where are you from?” I then asked.
“Boston and I’m Irish,” said he.

OMG, Boston! All of a sudden this rush of emotions overwhelmed me. My last college roommate is from there. I knew a stack of people in school who were from Massachusetts. My grandfather, brother and an ex-boyfriend attended school there. My sister-in-law is Irish-American. I have a lot of connections with this city that I had forgotten about.

I kept looking at this guy and felt traveling back in time to my college years in Connecticut, and that I was dancing in one of those bars I used to hang out with my friends.

“Have you been back?” Ross asked me.
I landed back in ‘the city.’ “To where?”
“Boston,” answered Ross.
“No, but I’ve been wanting to for some time.”
“Then maybe you should,” he concluded.

Yeah, maybe I should. I’ve had this wish for many years now to meet up with my ex-roommate and make a trip to visit our alma mater.

I’ve also wanted to see my former college advisor.

Ross and I kept dancing until the band ended playing at 1am. We sat in the couch I originally was when he asked me to dance and we kept talking until around 3am when Madelyn asked me to go home. I could have stayed with him many more hours if had been given the opportunity.

This time, when asked for my phone number, I gladly complied in giving it, but I also asked for his. Ross gave me a look of being surprised at my request.

I left the lounge feeling good with myself and really happy to have met him. He revived a wish that I had dormant in the back of my mind which made me realize the time has come to make it happen.

Ross said he would call me tomorrow to go to the movies or something.

Hopefully he’ll hold his word on it.

et cetera