The New M.E. Generation











Later on that day, I did get to rest a little by taking a nap. While my thoughts wandered into an unknown place in my mind, I started remembering certain moments from the past I had somewhat forgotten. Tears came down as I thought about them and tried to push them away.

I debated yet again if I should share them with him. A part of me felt I would look desperate if I did, while the other reminded me that, as he recently told me, “it doesn’t change anything.”

Me: “I don’t know why I’m remembering this, but there was a time when I was walking to school. You came down the street in your 2-door Fiat with the top off as always. You offered me a ride for the remainder of the trip. Was so nervous I didn’t say a word.” (And that I sat properly with my hands resting on my lap. Didn’t want the ride to end so quickly, but was more concerned about what other people would think when they saw us.)

“There was another occasion in the same car when you grabbed my hand and placed it in the shift stick. I took my hand away after some time. You then grabbed it again and placed it back. This time you held it with your hand so it would stay” (which means we were holding hands while taking a drive).

“I’m not sure if this last was the same day when you looked at me closely, made a hand gesture of moving your index finger towards you and saying ‘come here’ to me. I did with a face off ‘what?’ and then you gave me a big kiss.

The truth is that after all these years that I’ve had my own 2-door vehicle, have never been able to keep my hand off entirely when shifting gears and thinking of you when driving.

Who would have said that I would see you again. And that I would forget about you. And now you appeared again. And knowing that no matter what I feel, like you said correctly, nothing will change. Such is life.”

He made no comments to any of this. And I wasn’t expecting any, because that’s how he is. He’s one of those people that react to something by not reacting at all.

Hate to admit that the last day I saw him caused my inner-self to become unbalanced. And that’s because he’s always kept a distance much like a wall between us.

When at the apartment, when he kneeled in front of me and looked straight into my eyes, and I said that I was at peace with us (or that I’m over you), that wall came down upon him placing his hands on my knee.

He realized he was about to lose me and decided to enter my world for the first time. But that didn’t last long. When he said ‘I don’t know what to do with you’, he essentially regressed to his old self of distancing and leaving things in a limbo.

He had the chance of changing everything and didn’t take it. He made the choice of staying with the blonde.

As the weeks progressed, I kept some communication with him. I remembered out of the blue that his birth date was basically mine in reverse with a month difference.

The last time I contacted him was for the long summer weekend. Then the hurricane warnings and my birthday occurred. Nothing happened from his part considering we live on the same state.

As the storm battled my city and I survived many days without power, I took the time to allow the winds of change to set in and find my balance once more. And just like everything that got washed away, so did him and everything he represents.

He might have said things don’t change, but I did. With myself. And him. I took him out of my life with the same strength I did before. It’s the calm after the storm. It surely is.

Update: A week after the hurricane hit, on a Saturday, around 7:30 pm, I get the following text.

Him: “Hope you weathered the storm ok. Just got power and have been working on the property all day.”

I replied with a first text of summarizing that I was unable to celebrate my birthday because it was the day before the storm reached my area; that didn’t stay in my apartment during the event; that neither my home or car suffered damages; that my employer reopened the office mid-week, and I was presently getting up-to-date.

The second one read: “I’m glad you’re fine and hope your things get back to normal soon.”

Him: “Thanks. You too.”

So there it is. No surprise here, as usual.

He didn’t reach out when Maria hit, asking me how my mom was in the island, considering that because of me going to the beach with her, is how I met him, and it’s the place we both grew up and went to school together.

I know he’s not obliged to do anything. But it’s not right either. Simply said: he doesn’t care. And that’s the last memory I’ll have of him before I sign off from him for good.

“Although there’s pain in my chest, I still wish you the best, with a ‘forget you’.” – Cee Lo Green – Forget You

 

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Spending time with my maternal grandparents was a good thing for me. In spite of my non-eating stage and occasional trips to the hospital, they still loved and accepted me for who I was. Maybe they went the extra mile for me because it was grandsons central.

They were also family-oriented and their marriage was an early lesson of what a good relationship could be. They also set the example that you may come from humble beginnings and still manage to achieve a comfortable life.

Most importantly, they were protecting my brother and me. They knew my parents’ marriage was on the rocks. I was too young then to label it as that, but I clearly remember seeing that my parents were never affectionate, nor expressed loving words towards each other (or the two of us), hold hands, or anything else, which was odd to me.

Then there were my paternal grandparents, the opposite of the others. My grandfather had married 3 times (widowed twice), being my grandmother the last wife. This relationship was probably more out of convenience of joining 2 prominent families together.

They didn’t sleep together in the same room and my grandfather wasn’t fond of women, including his spouse. He was definitely from the old school in which men didn’t display affection and ruled the home with authority.

My brother and I had to visit them (mainly for him) on Friday and Sunday afternoons. We would be dressed to the nines for every time (and if we weren’t, my dad would hear it), and as soon as we walked through the door, walked directly to my grandfather’s room where he would sit on his antique rocking chair and worked out of a desk. We would bow our head slightly, say “bendición” (bless us), and he would tap them.

He gave us both a weekly allowance; $3 for my brother, $2 for me. He would also fill a small metal container with spare change that, at least, we could divide equally. But the inequality on the first was proof that on that house, men came first.

As for my dad, he was the last child and second son out of 5 daughters. Although he was a male, my aunts in later years commented that he happened at a time that his parents were too old to be having kids; that he was pretty much on his own because the other siblings were out of the home already, meaning he basically raised himself. Anything here sounds familiar?

It’s sad to think how this affected him in his marriage. From where I was standing, his relationship with my mom, and that with his own father, looked confusing and scary. All he could was go with the flow, and probably hope that tomorrow would be a better day. Pretty much how I’ve dealt with everything myself.

Even with my aunts and uncle, I could see a distant relationship with my grandfather. As much as they wanted to be close to him, there was this coldness that separated them.

And what my grandmother could only do was just sit on the sidelines and watch it all happen. It must have been horrible marrying someone who probably treated you like crap and still had to give him children.

At least she channeled her affection on her children and grandchildren. She would play the piano, which introduced me to music. She also kept these Danish cookies in the fridge for me, which I would eat while sitting in a small rocking chair in the balcony and listening to her sing to me: “Arroz con leche se quiere casar, con una viudita de la capital. Que sepa tejer, que sepa bordar, que ponga la aguja en su campanal.”

I still remember being surrounded by the garden and the simplicity of those moments that you later take for granted.

There were also other memorable times, like my grandfather’s stories when he came to college in the U.S., and my father teaching me how to play hopscotch, among others.

Everything left a print within me, like recognizing that I still like to sit in a rocking chair and enjoy eating butter cookies from time to time.

Perhaps it’s recognizing that, in spite not understanding so many things, others did the best that they could; that I miss them sometimes and wished they would still be around; that even though we say that we will do things differently, we mirror them a lot more than we bargained for, not realizing it until our world is rocked to the core.

It’s learning to sit back and appreciate the good that’s in front of us; it’s enjoying that moment before we have to get up and go face the unknown.

It’s understanding that in spite that our lives have been difficult, there were those close to us that had it more complicated, who gave a lot of themselves in the hope of making ours better than what they had.

For better of worse, in the good and the bad, it is what it is: family.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” – Michael J. Fox



{January 23, 2017}   The Swipe 18 – Having E.D.

I kept seeing Bob after the boating (and bad comment) day. Surprisingly, I managed to put the incident aside, which is a first for me.

Fact is, Bob was a contradiction within himself. Up until then he had been respectful and well-mannered, always asking me how I would feel about doing anything, including holding my hand one night when we went out to eat. And then the incident happened.

It was like a dual personality in which the second gets quickly triggered by something, to then going back to your original one in an instance.

Regarding holding hands, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for me either. It was another thing I hadn’t done in quite some time, but decided to do it to find out how it now felt.

Honestly, it was a mid-point reaction for me; it didn’t felt as great as I hoped for, nor something I wouldn’t do again with him.

There was an obvious six degrees of separation within me towards Bob when we took a stroll together one night. I even sat across from him at a restaurant table, not side by side. I was close to him, but not that close in reality.

Heck, maybe my mind still had his awful comment on high alert, making me pull away as a subconscious self-defense mechanism.

All the while neither Bob and I had commented to anyone that we were dating, not even the couple friend of mine.

Eventually Bob showed the husband the selfie of our first night out. Bob said the guy reacted with surprise that there was a female in the picture. Bob then told him to look closer at the photo and when realizing who it was, he then reacted with more surprise.

But what was surprising to me was that I was sure my GF would call me immediately upon learning about it, which didn’t happen. There was no mention of it, even on one time she and I went to dinner by ourselves.

Bob even said that he had suggested to my GF’s husband that we should all go out to eat together, to which he agreed, but a tentative date was not set.

From this point forward, this is how I remember the next sequence of events. I met with Bob for dinner on a Thursday because he had plans the following evening to meet with his children.

It had been a long work week for me and after getting a slight buzz from a very cold beer, I blurt out to him, “do you have any hair left on your head?” (Hey, he had the nerve of saying something out of line and now it’s my turn, don’t you think?)

He gave me a puzzled look and responded that he still had some, but that he preferred to just shave it off every day.

I kept staring at him and felt like asking, “why?? don’t you miss having a full set?” Oops, talking about having a bad hair day.

Saturday came and I was watching the Olympics, as a female athlete from home was to compete for the Gold medal, the first one for us.

I spoke with Bob sometime before it and his tone of voice sounded very disconnected. At no point did he invited me to his home or showed any enthusiasm when I told him about the match. It was like his alter ego had showed up again.

The game happened; we won. I cheered and cried like a baby, even took a video of the medal ceremony. I called Bob shortly after.

“Did you see it??? We won!!! OMG, this is so awesome…” I kept on and on. He listened to me, but was totally emotionless. There was never an instance of him saying something like “congrats” or “great” that would equal the immense joy of the moment. He didn’t give a shit about it.

He had disappointed me a second time, but I let it pass again because of how great I was feeling.

I believe I called him the next day just to say hello. I even asked him if he wanted some company, to which he replied, “I’m doing laundry”.

Damn dude, you probably wash your clothes in cold water because I just felt getting soaked with that right now. Do you know what a ‘fabric softener’ is by any chance?

I didn’t say anything again, but it was the third time that he was a dick.

I was so upset I even consulted with my bestie (please see The Ex-Friend story) to get her opinion.

“Guys nowadays have no fucking idea of what they want,” said she. “That being said, how can they have a relationship with anyone? I know this situation sucks, but like I have told you before, better now than later. I think this guy’s problem is that he has E.D.”

“Make it more emotional dysfunction,” replied I. “It happens all the time. It all starts well and one day to the next they disappear without warning. I know the distance is a big issue for me and most probably would have become a decisive factor in the long run, but if you don’t want to keep going forward, just say it and we’ll part ways.”

“That’s why they’re dysfunctional. They’re using the wrong head to do anything,” continued she.

Whatever the reason, I wrapped around my own head the thought that this had come to an end. Even if this was bound to fail, it’s still upsetting that it’s a repeated pattern with the guys that have become present in my life.

I’m being flexible, open, letting things go with the flow, not take things so personal as my GF’s have told me, but there’s still these ‘spots’ with my connections that won’t go away even with the best bleach.

So what I’m supposed to do now? Switch detergents? Could be, but one thing I will do for sure is this: Read the label before using.

 

 

 

 



{September 21, 2015}   The Ex-Friend 2 – Not seeing it

This guy started talking about a girl he had a relationship with, that they had broken up, but somehow he ended up in her apartment, had sex with her because she managed to get that from him, and when he left the place, was so upset with himself, that he hit the hood of his car so hard it created a dent.

The woman was sitting at the balcony laughing, but not at the car, but at him for getting what she wanted.

The way he referred to the laugh was one of sarcasm, almost as if she was getting even or didn’t care anything about him.

I was listening to him quietly and still in shock, not because of this story, but for this mystery woman.

In all the years we have been friends, I only knew of one during high school. I had seen him with her once in her school. He introduced me to her; I don’t recall if they were holding hands or not, but the way they walked clearly showed they had something together.

The other time I remember her was at a career day at her school. She was alone, but we talked to each other briefly and she never asked me anything about my relationship with this guy.

Looking back I don’t know why I didn’t question him. We both had significant others, but he said that he had feelings for me.

How did this didn’t raise a red flag with me? Was as I too naive, trusted him blindly, or perhaps I was too much into myself that I simply didn’t get it?

And then during and post college years, he didn’t mention any love interests either from his side. In my mind he had never lost his feelings for me. And our conversations usually centered around me as well.

He had his issues as well, but his approach and tone of voice were one of understanding why it was or had happened, and had resolved or come to terms with it, which was the opposite of me.

We had been close friends for the longest time, sharing the good and bad, to the point that we knew the other more than we did ourselves.

So why didn’t he tell me about this, especially when it was obvious that it ended in a chaotic way?

He had always known about the guys in my life, and now with my then ex-spouse, a relationship that at that moment was stable and solid.

I kept listening to him and this guy wanted to talk at that moment. That’s how desperate he was. He was way more broken than when he told me about his grandmother. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this way.

I didn’t wanted to let him down, but I was also on my way to see my then ‘x’. It was a delicate balancing act I never had before.

What I recall after this is that we agreed to discuss it either in person or phone. I continued to my ex’s apartment and didn’t tell him about the incident.

I don’t remember if the conversation ever happened, but I’m sure I probably felt guilty for leaving my friend all sad behind.

He had always been the main man in my life, but now things had changed for me, and certainly for him.

Yep, no matter what, things never remain the same, ever. And it’s not necessarily life that does it, mostly it’s because of us, and many times in the worst of ways.

It’s like a low blow that you didn’t see it coming.



The last time I saw my friend during college was on my Senior year. I don’t recall how it all happened, but he came to visit me.

I think he was on the area for an interview or simply decided to know my life in school the same way I had done with him.

I couldn’t get to the airport, so he rented a car and found his way to my dorm.

It was great seeing him. He was wearing a jacket (a habit that would repeat many times over) and was very happy to have made it.

My residence was an apartment and one of my roommates had brought a sofa, so it became his bed. Funny enough, this piece of furniture would become another item that would serve me well.

The memories of those few days are sketchy, but I took him to dinner to an Italian restaurant I loved.

During dinner we got up to date again about the future and, as always, he had a plan. He was checking stocks on certain airlines and according to what he was seeing and learning about the companies, he would then decide on which one to apply to.

He knew he would probably have to move if an opportunity occurred, but he was fine with it. He knew he couldn’t be that choosy if he wanted to make anything good of his aspiring career.

While at dinner, he mentioned to me that his maternal grandmother wasn’t doing well. All of a sudden, he slouched down in the chair, looked sideways and got really emotional to the brink of almost crying.

I had the chance of meeting her. She meant a lot to him because, after his parents’ divorce and his mom going back to work, the grandma was the one who basically raised him.

I was shocked at how vulnerable he became, as I had never seen him like this. He had always been the strong one for both, the one that never let anything bring him down.

I sat there, frozen, not knowing what to do. I suddenly reached out and grabbed his hand across the table.

But, unfortunately, he remained as he was. He didn’t acknowledge what I did or said anything to my remark of, ‘she’ll be fine’.

It was as if I wasn’t there, as in someone else in his life had surpassed me in every aspect, even if I was just a friend in a total different relationship with him.

His hand felt cold and distant, his demeanor one that I had never seen of him and got me confused.

But I didn’t give it much thought back then other than to consoling him was the right thing to do.

It would be a few decades later when many traits of his would resurface again with another woman in his life that would greatly alter the friendship I thought we had.

And it would be pretty much as in this moment, distant, instant and cold. Instead of holding hands, he used it against me, and other, to create a block that no universal force could break apart.



{December 2, 2013}   Looking Back 22 – Knowing me

The rest of the day and evening turned out great.

We visited a city I had gotten to know two times before with my friend. I was glad I was again for a third with the person who introduced it to me and helped me create such fond memories.

The location has a colonial architecture and it’s famous for its old style streets, restaurants, and businesses. It’s a tourist location worth discovering.

It was yet another travel back in time filled with nostalgia and mixed emotions.

The situation repeated itself. I was just out of college and had no idea what direction to take. Now I felt old, but still as scared as I did before.

The streets were beautiful and as we walked them, I looked at other couples and families together. I looked at them as if I had never experienced this myself.

I envied them and started fantasizing how it would feel walking with a loved one holding hands under all those lights. He and I would be together for some time and were spending the weekend there. And before it was over, he would propose. I can’t think of another place for that to happen but there.

My friend and I had dinner at the same restaurant we did the last time and it was an unforgettable experience. My trip was going better and better with each day, and it was a true blessing.

On the way back ‘home’, which was pretty late, I asked my friend to drive. It had been a long day and I was tired.

I called the ‘beach guy’ as agreed. He didn’t answer so I left a message stating that I was driving back and I knew it was late, but did so as discussed. I also said that ‘you will probably not head my way tonight’, but hope we could still see each other before my trip ended.

I don’t know why I felt such a detailed message. He had told me he was complicated tomorrow. So it was irrelevant to say again that I hoped to see him. It’s going to sound that I’m desperate and it’s not good.

I keep doing these minor things that scare guys away. I should have just said, ‘Hey, I’m heading back. Call me if you can.’ This way it shows I’m interested in him, but if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be fine with it.

But knowing me, I will always wonder if I did the right thing. Seriously, who cares? This weekend is all about me, not him or any other guy (except the one on the driver’s seat).

Cheers to that!



I ran to the entrance of my house and gave Johann the biggest hug ever. He reciprocated it the same way. I could have stayed like that until forever.

We sat on the balcony and talked about everything from the moment we met until now.

It was also the closest that we physically were. There was a distance between us previously. It was sort of awkward, but great at the same time.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him and there were these instances where we didn’t say much.

It is one of those moments that you just wished for to happen and when it does, you just don’t know what to do because you didn’t thought about it beforehand.

Now that I’m thinking, I don’t even think we held hands. Yes, he was that respectful.

I don’t know how many hours we sat there for, but it got quite late. Instead of calling a cab, Johann felt he could find his way back to the ship and decided to walk.

It was like another scene from a movie; it was time to say good-bye and we were both sad about it.

We finished saying what we had to say and, of course, the kiss finally happened. Yes, only one, long and sweet.

We walked to the house entrance, hugged again and off he went. On his way to the corner of the block, he turned around several times to look at me.

I was slightly crying and when he looked back one time I said ‘I love you’ in a low tone.

When he got to the corner, he faced me, waved his both hands good-bye, made a turn and left. I stood there for a few minutes still looking at the corner.

Once inside the house, I think my mom, who was already in bed, asked me if Johann had already left. I told her ‘yes’ and to go back to sleep.

I went to my room and got into bed staring at the ceiling probably until I fell asleep.

I don’t know what I did the next day (Sunday), but I certainly didn’t attempt to go to the ship before it departed.

I’m sure I was sad and went over what happened the night before over and over my head.

After that, everything went back to as before, continuing in high school, writing to each other frequently, and wondering what the future held for our friendship and myself.

As you probably know, ‘life goes on’.



{December 3, 2012}   Looking back 4 – All geared up

I don’t remember if it was on the same night or another, but he did call me.

I somehow managed to contain my nervousness over the phone to make it sound like my life hadn’t been altered.

And, best of all, he came to pick me up to go for a ride on the convertible.

I think it was the first time I experienced being in such a vehicle and next to someone you liked, even better.

I pretended this was normal for me. But it was such a novelty to see that it was a stick shift car and how well he drove it. This is probably why they’re still my vehicle of choice and even have one.

We drove for a while and stopped somewhere I don’t recall. I was sitting with my legs crossed and hands on my lap. I was holding down my emotions.

He then started talking. I don’t recall all his words but he expressed something to the extent that he liked me. I was hearing what I wished for, but I had to analyze it several times to actually comprehend it. I wasn’t even looking at him because it was so surreal.

And while I was trying to digest what was happening, he pulled my face to his and gave me a kiss. (I think it was the only one of the night but it was great!)

We drove away and he took my hand and placed it on the gear so he could hold it while driving. It was beyond a great feeling.

I don’t think this moment repeated again, but up to this day I still drive my car with my hand always resting on the gear. At times I look at it and remember that special night which has never left me.

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have a guy sitting in my car and we both hold hands on the gear.

What a great shift of life that would be.



I couldn’t get to sleep that night. All that had to do with he and I kept going around my mind over and over with no resolution.

When I finally fell asleep, I had a dream. In it, he and I were standing face to face. I looked at him straight to his eyes and repeatedly asked him, ‘Why did you leave me? Why?’ while trying to push him away.

He didn’t answer me. He held my hands and I lowered my head with tears coming out of my eyes. He then hugged me and I placed my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes. I felt an immense sense of peace.

I then woke up and stared at the ceiling in the dark, and it all came back to me. We never concluded what we had the last time we saw each other. We simply turned around and walked away from each other and our feelings. We let go of everything that joined us, but not of what we felt towards each other.

So what happens next? Nothing. What we shared belongs to that time and there’s nothing else for me to do other than learn from it and finally close that chapter of my life.

Maybe we needed to part ways and find each other again so we could get it right the second time around. And I think we finally did that, even in the distance. It is now up to us to decide if the connection remains or we part ways again.

Whatever the outcome, he will always remain in my thoughts and can only wish the best for him.

So I guess it will be good-bye, for now.



et cetera