The New M.E. Generation

It’s the end of a workday on a Monday, and I am wishing it were a Friday. I’ve worked so much in a single day I feel I’ve completed work for five. I need a drink, badly.

Dina is out of town, so I contacted Madelyn instead. She felt the same way, so we decided to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Our first order of the night was a Margarita and a beer, followed by dinner.

As the night progressed, I see a man come in and sit at the opposite side of where we are. I stared at him from time to time, and I could see that he’s also looking back at me.

This man had dark hair, blue eyes, and he seemed to be in a more appropriate age range for me. From what I could observe, he was definitely not in the ‘under 30’ category.

When Madelyn and I had pretty much finished our meals, the waitress came to our table and brought us another beer and Margarita. “The man at the other table sent you these,” she said. We both looked at him and smiling, raised our glasses to thank him.

When the man finished his meal, he came to our table and asked us if he could join us. We gladly complied. He introduced himself as Fernando.

During our conversation he disclosed that he’s from Spain, divorced with kids, in his 40’s, and that he has never done something like buying a drink to women he doesn’t even know. We both confessed that neither had we, but that his action was very flattering to us.

I was in Spain once when I was about seven years old. I almost returned there for my honeymoon, which I regret very much not doing so. This is a country I would really like to visit again sometime in the future.

I thought to myself how nice this guy was and how much I would like to get to know him more. But, wait, what if he was actually interested in Madelyn?

We are all pretty much done for the night when Fernando excused himself from the table before getting the check.

“Wow, sweetie, you made quite an impression on that guy,” expressed Madelyn.

“How can you be so sure? Maybe he’s interested in you, or maybe both?” I replied.

“No, it’s you. I noticed how both of you were looking at each other. Besides, I’m not interested in any relationships at this time, you know that,” concluded Madelyn.

When Fernando returned, we all started wrapping up for the night. I then got nervous; I wanted to contact this guy again, but after my last encounters with ‘those two guys (Erik and Ross),’ I was really at a standstill of what to do here.

Fernando paid his bill, thanks us for the nice time he shared with us, and left. He didn’t ask for a phone number from neither of us nor we provided ours. I watched him leave and I regretted it badly.

Madelyn saw how upset I was with myself. “I could tell you would have liked to see him again. So why didn’t you say something?” she asked.

I didn’t answer her but I did to myself, ‘because I’m scared of finding myself in another disappointing situation where I end up getting hurt yet again.’

{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 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.

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 day of the 2008 Halloween party finally arrived. It had been raining the whole week and it looked like it was to continue for this event.

Dina came to my place to dress up and we helped each other with our make-up and costumes. I decided to stay with my Elektra costume; Dina’s black and pink pirate suit looked cute and feminine on her. We were to be picked up by Dina’s friend, Melanie, and drive together to the event.

I also invited a guy who I recently became friends with, Edward, to join us. We were introduced through a relative of mine who attended college with him. He is recently divorced like me, but with children, and I thought the party could be a good distraction during this transitional period in his life.

The three times we’ve seen each other have basically been meeting up somewhere. Things have evolved well so far and I’m hoping that we could at least remain friends. If there is a possibility of anything else in the future, I’ll let it happen by itself. In other words, I’m not pushing or expecting anything from him or life in general.

We agreed to meet later in the evening; he had his kids for the weekend and had to wait for the babysitter to arrive.

Melanie picked us up and she’s wearing as costume a female version of Robin Hood. (Isn’t this an action hero character?)

We arrived at the location and parked the car in the lot across the venue. We’re walking the grounds towards the event’s entrance when it starts to rain again. Luckily Melanie had brought an umbrella and the three of us are cramped together under it trying not to get too wet.

We arrived at the check-in point about 10 minutes before the event officially commenced, and all attendees are also standing in line crunched together under umbrellas as well. At 8pm sharp people were allowed to go in. The party was again held in the indoor center courtyard of the mansion and gardens. Part of the outdoor area was covered with tents as the year before.

As the night progressed, as well as the rain, more people got compacted in the covered areas, and puddles formed underneath the tents. It made it difficult for people to walk around, which took the fun away of admiring other people’s outfits, as well as the chance of meeting and socializing with others.

At moments it got to so bad, that I got separated twice from Dina and Melanie while we were trying to maneuver around people to reach one of the bars to get a drink. Even worse, there was no DJ or live music; it was prerecorded. Last year’s party had both, which provided alternatives for all tastes and ages.

You mean to tell me that I spent time and money to make it here and this is the entertainment? I’m not a happy camper and I’m making every effort to make the best of this night.

About two hours into the party Edward calls me on my mobile. I could barely hear him, but he had arrived and is looking for me inside the mansion. I tell Dina and Melanie that I’m going to find him and separated a third time from them. It’s pouring really bad and had to literally push people aside to be able to walk through.

I’m upset again. I can barely move and don’t know what Edward is wearing; he said it was a secret. How can I honestly find him in this tidal wave of people?

‘I could really use some superhero powers right now!’ I told myself. Can this night from hell become any more horrifying?

It’s about two weeks before the Halloween party and I haven’t followed-up with Dina regarding the plans for that night.

“So Dina, as what superhero are you finally dressing up as?” I asked her. “I chose Elektra.”

“I’m not; the costumes I tried on didn’t fit me well or were too expensive, so I’m borrowing one of a pirate,” said Dina.

“You mean to tell me that after I get the stupid costume online and the alteration costs me more than the actual outfit itself, you decided for something else without telling me?”

“And why did you buy yours so ahead of time?” she asked me.

“Because I have difficulty finding clothes that fit me. I have to take care of these things right away or risk not finding stuff my size!”

Here’s the deal, I’m around 5’4”, 120 pounds. My dress-up size usually starts in X-Small and with the overweight problem our nation is facing, choices for women like me are hard to find, unless I venture into ‘tween or junior clothing (sizes between 0-14), which style and look I’ve stopped wearing way many ages ago.

When I find shoes or clothes that fit me perfectly, I hang on to them like dear life. My clothes are such a part of my personality I have separation anxiety every time I give anything away.

“I’m telling you right now Dina, if we decide to go to the party next year, I’m dressing up as whatever I feel like. Don’t count on me for a group ensemble again,” I told her.

Um, maybe I should look for my sailor costume from last year and wear it again.

“This year we’re dressing up as female superheroes,” said Dina. “You can’t be Wonder Woman or Batgirl so you know.” (Oh boy!)

So what else is out there that serves as a positive role model? How about a female politician? Hey, it’s 2008 and an election year. That’s something to consider if anything else fails. Ok, it’s time to call my boys.

Survey says… (ding!) George: “Well, there is that idiotic Fantastic Four character, whatever her name is. Or you can try one of the Star Trek ones.” He enclosed photos for me to review.

“George, I’m not a Trekkie fan and these costumes are full bodysuits, meaning they’re going to be SUPER hot. I was sweating buckets last year. Besides, I don’t have the boobs to fill up neither of those chests.”

“I heard push-up bras work wonders.”

“Yeah, on Wonder Woman.”

Survey says…: Mark: ‘Cat Woman.’ Here we go again with the bodysuits.

“Mark, it’s too hot! Believe me that in this party, the ‘coolest’ outfits are those with the least material.”

“Ok then, Little Red Riding Hood.”

“What?? She got rid of the wolf in the story, but that doesn’t classify her as a superhero. Besides, that’s more of a couple’s costume.”

“I know, but there was this time when a friend of mine dressed up as her…”

“And you played the role of the wolf over the phone and engaged in an interesting conversation.”

“You got it. I will say this, if I was single, I would go to this party with you like we did back in the days. (HOOOWL) We would have so much fun!!!”

And I would live happily ever after.

About a week after the 2007 Halloween party, Dina sent me an electronic photo album of the event.

Wow, I couldn’t believe it was actually me wearing that sailor costume. Dina has a talent for capturing the essence of the moment and although I was going through a difficult time, the shots showed a different shade of me. I am smiling and partying like there was no tomorrow. For one night I had succeeded in forgetting all my problems and enjoyed life for a change.

The first person I forwarded them to was George.

“I viewed them at the office with my buddies and let me tell you, you caused quite a stir. I should definitely try to make it to that party one of these years,” said George the day after receiving the pics.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2008 when I found myself making my first solo trip to Washington DC where George lives. We haven’t seen each other in years nor I have met his wife. He also felt the change of scenery would be beneficial for me during this dramatic period in my life.

Since George works in the downtown area, right in the middle of everything, I was to commute with him to work, spend the day on my own, and at 5pm we would both head back home.

He took me to his office the day I arrived. He walked me around and introduced me to his colleagues. For some reason, some of the guys were very happy to see me. I even saw one walking by looking at me. He quickly walked back and stared at me even more.

“Oh, Steve…,” said George. “Could you honor us with your presence?”

Steve had a big grin on his face and shakes my hand very enthusiastically. “So very nice to meet you!”

After the tour is over, George offered to walk me downstairs before I ventured out to the city. We got into the elevator and, out of the blue, so do Steve.

“So, how do you like it so far?” said Steve.

“I don’t know. I just got here,” I replied.

What’s up with this guy anyway?

I later learned the reason behind them guys being so nice to me – the Halloween pictures. It sounded like they had more hits than the Paris Hilton video. And Steve was the nicest of them all.

et cetera