The New M.E. Generation











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

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Needless to say, our friendship was what everyone would say it would never be: real. There’s always been the notion that just a friendship between a man and woman will never stay like that. But it did.

We both had romantic relationships during high school, to which we respected and supported of. There was never jealously or intervened as to how we should deal with it.

He was aware of some details of the inside’s of mine as I would consult him, and I would because I had confidence he would suggest what would be beneficial for me and not for him. He never once strayed me so I would end up with him.

I showed my respect towards his relationship as well. I wouldn’t ask much about it and as long as I knew it was doing well, I would be the same. Besides, because I felt he was doing right for me, I was confident he would do the same for himself.

We had such a strong bond that even my BF at the time (who all knew each other from school) realized that if he wanted to be with me, he had to accept our friendship. I was never shy of talking about him and with time my BF realized my other friend was no threat.

My BF eventually learned to respect our friendship and even went to him at one time for advice when things were not quite there. Thing was, my BF was away in college and the long distance was obviously distancing us, so my BF started fearing he would loose me.

According to my other friend, my BF went to the pharmacy and asked him to have a private chat. Upon my BF saying about the challenges the relationship was having and me going away, my friend replied with these transcending words: “Don’t pressure Emma too much because if you do, she might slip away like sand between your fingers”.

When my friend told me this story during his last encounters with me, I got surprised to what extent my BF had gone for to not loose me. But as always, my friend was right on point as to how well he knew me.

Even more, he shed light on a personal trait: being pressured too much into something has never worked well with me. I tolerate it, but eventually disconnect or walk away. I tend to avoid the confrontation and if I do, I just explode, and then things get really nasty.

As I have said before, sounds familiar? Why is it that I seem to have forgotten plenty, but some things just remain the same?

Is this good or bad? Don’t know. Maybe it’s a half and half, good when it works on your favor, bad when it doesn’t.

What will I do about it? I’m thinking.



So what happens when a friendship goes wrong?

And I’m not talking about any guy previously mentioned that I’ve tried to do things right.

Believe it or not, I’m referring to my high school friend. Of all people, he’s the one that I felt has betrayed me the most.

So how did it all happened is unclear to me, but will try to figure it out.

Our friendship started during our early teens. My earliest recollection was that he started hanging out with my brother at home. Of all the guys that would come around, he was the only one took an interest in me.

I wasn’t into him in anything at first. With only 13 years, my parents were divorced, my mom went back to work, and I was responsible for many chores at home.

Like all Hispanic cultures, my brother was doing whatever he wanted, including giving attention to his buddies instead of me. Top that with being a freshman trying to navigate school and life in general with no one to lead the way.

My memories included him talking to me every time he would be home, mostly about how I was doing. He seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me and that I were fine. I felt at ease with him and that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.

As I later learned, his father had a pharmacy in my neighborhood and that he worked there after school, and the mom had a beauty salon at the building where my dad had his office.

When I had nothing to do, I would walk to the pharmacy with the excuse of having to buy something. I would chat with him for a few and then headed back home. He never got upset with me while there and would always find the time to talk to me. I would later get my hair done with the mom and became a client for several years.

Curiously I never had an emotional interest with him. I never once felt like kissing or hugging him, or display any affection towards him.

After some time of friendship, he conveyed to me very politely that he had some interest in me. I felt very flattered, but never pursued him in any way any more than what we were sharing already.

He respected my way of being, including my feelings towards him, and became the only person I allowed to enter my world as a whole.

He had everything going on for him and I chose not to pursue him romantically. Sounds familiar? Yep, my love/hate relationship with men has run deeper that I thought. And sadly, being then or now, it sure feels the same.



I kept myself ‘busy’ by eating the pizza non-stop. I wasn’t talking much because this conversation was all about him, as it has always been and which I have allowed it to be.

Ever since he reappeared in my life, I’ve been analyzing

    him

and what he did or not, etc., way back in high school. The sad part is I haven’t concentrated my efforts in where I stood and stand now.

Sounds familiar? That’s how it happened in my marriage. It was all about my ‘x’ and his ‘me, me, me’ attitude. Deep inside he didn’t care about me and I became a means to an end, and when I couldn’t fulfill his need (especially that of children), out I went.

So, in the end, he would have let me anyway, even if I gave him what he wanted, because once needs are fulfilled, your work ‘is done’ and ‘your services are no longer needed’.

I kept looking at ‘the beach guy’ while he kept talking and asked myself where would I fit in all this when, again, it’s all about him (and his kids). The ‘overhead compartment’ seems pretty full from here.

After showing me the endless photos and videos of his beloved one, he then showed me photos of his ‘toys’, which included cars and an RV. They were so many that they made me feel small and that my life was somewhat meaningless.

Here I am with no material property that belongs to me as a whole. I rent an apartment and I still have a year to go on my car payments.

Besides that, I have a job, a few friends and some men that are basically ‘inactive’ as we speak. I have no plans for the future and have no clue what happens next after this night is over.

On the other hand, if you have so much good going on in your life, what’s the need of all these ‘toys’?

I may have been ‘clinging’ on guys in the past for emotional reasons and my ‘toys’ are clothes and shoes I buy at mega store sales. But even if I had all the money in the world, I wouldn’t surround myself with objects that, in my opinion, give you temporary satisfaction.

So, who’s really here with an empty hole to fill? I thought this guy had it all figured out, but what’s really ‘eating’ him inside? I was now looking at a person I barely knew.

What about me? Was still feeling smaller than his actual height, but satisfied in realizing that, from an emotional standpoint, I’m not doing that bad. Actually, I’ve made great strides and this night is an example of it.

And, right now, the other thing that’s giving me ‘instant gratification’ is this pizza that I’m eating. If I’m picturing anything memorable from this night, this will certainly be it.



I will confess I was not in the best of moods when I started a new search for a suitable bachelor. I don’t why I didn’t pay much attention to their profile names the first time around. But a lot of the guys surely were using some ridiculous ones.

I came across some that read like ‘hotbod35,’ ‘ready4u’ and ‘luvmchn’ which totally made me laugh.

Even worse, their photos made them look totally moronic or served them no justice. It totally blew their chances of anyone reading their profile, starting with me.

Other had photos that did not allow you to appreciate much of them because they had sunglasses on, maybe wearing a cap or hooded jacket, or their image in a picture was too small. Even if you tried to enlarge it, you still couldn’t see much.

And then there were the opposites showing too much skin by wearing only a bathing suit. At least they had descent bodies, but you could tell by their posture that they thought that they were the ultimate guys around. (Pass…)

I did get to read a few, but overall I wasn’t impressed. There was one that caught my attention, not because of anything that really hit a cord with me, but he had about 4 pictures of himself, and in all he had sort of a sad face.

What’s the deal with this guy? His profile is simple and straightforward. Nothing pretentious and clear about what he wanted from this experience. His photos were assorted and allowed to really get ‘the picture’ of how he looked like.

So why wasn’t he smiling or chose pictures that showed a more positive emotion? I mean, I only posted one with a huge smile and that got me a lot of hits (far too many for me to handle).

His profile read ‘divorced.’ OK, now I get it. Sounds to me he was the one who got ‘the axe’ and is still struggling in getting his life and emotions back to where they should be. And he’s trying online dating because, unfortunately, all else has failed.

Sounds familiar? Yep, that face is sure looking straight at me right now.



I did not get to talk to Ivan one last time via phone, but in person. I don’t remember how it came about, but he came over to visit me.

He was resting on the sofa, looking more tired than I could remember. I even sensed some sadness in him.

“Is everything all right?” asked I somewhat concerned while holding his hand. It felt nice doing that. It’s like having forgotten how it felt.

“Just tired. Too much work,” said he while staring at me.

“Are you having problems or something? You can tell me.”

“We all have problems.”

“I know. But it helps to talk about things. It sure did for me when my whole mess started.” I kept holding his hand, hoping that, somehow, he would finally open up to me.

“Did I ever told you I was married once?,” said he.

“No! For how long?”

“Two years.”

I was totally surprised that he finally opened up, somewhat.

I finally realized the source of his sadness in his eyes. Obviously the relationship had gone wrong in such a way that he just wanted not to think about it. Sounds familiar?

I kept talking to him and holding his hand. But as much as I tried for him to open up more, he simply didn’t.

I think he is where I was some time back. You were hurt so bad you avoid that happening to you again by simply not opening your heart to anyone else.

You achieve that, not feeling anything for someone else or getting hurt. But you also achieve in turning people away, even when they want to love you (like me).

I couldn’t avoid feeling heartbroken. I was hoping something good would have come out of this. I couldn’t forget the night we met, when we kissed, when we held our hands while walking.

All I could do was to hold on to that memory.

Hold on to the wish that one day I will finally find love again, and hold it in my hands to never let go of it for good.



A few weeks later I received a surprising text message from Jeffrey: ‘How are you? What are you doing?’

Whoa! Where did this come from? Is he back? If he is, why is he looking for me? I took my chance in calling him and, lucky me, he answered the call.

“So, you’re back?” asked I in a tone of voice pretending nothing had happened.

“Yeah, I’m on the road taking care of business. Did you move?”

“Actually, I did while you were away. Are you close by? Can you make it over here?”

Lucky me, again, he did make it to my new place. When I greeted him at the entrance of my building, he was still looking as good as I remembered. He seemed to have rested somewhat. He also had a face of not entirely being happy to be back in town, a.k.a., back to reality.

He sat in my sofa and I on a chair. I did not bring the question of the reason for his break-up text and now him contacting me again.

“So…how was it? I asked.

“Great! Saw my friends, spent time with my family. I was saddened when I had to leave.”

“And…were you nice or naughty over there?”

Jeff opened his eyes wide, looked down and grinned a smile of ‘gotcha.’” “Yes, I was naughty with two ex-girlfriends of mine.

‘Lucky them,’ I thought. Why can’t I? Yes, I will admit, I felt sort of jealous. What did you expect?

I rolled my eyes up and smiled as well with a look of not being surprised at all. I mean, of course it was bound to happen. He is on an unhappy relationship, he manages to get away from it for a few weeks, and finds former flings willing to provide what he’s lacking. It’s obvious you’re going to for it! Hmm, doesn’t this sound familiar?

“So, what are you going to do now?” asked I. He gave the usual ‘don’t want to talk about it’ look. “It’s not only about your relationship. I meant your life in general.”

“I don’t know. Been thinking of moving back home permanently on my own.”

“Oh? What will you do with your business?”

“Not sure about that either. The only thing I truly know is that if I became single again, I’ll stay like that for a good long time.”

Jeffrey and I kept chatting for a while. And when he left, we said good-bye to each other as we always did before: no agreements or discussion wherever we would talk or see each other again or anything.

We would always say ‘see you later’ or ‘nice seeing you’ as if there would be a next time.

But that no one knew. We have taken each encounter as it came, without thinking about in the present or for the future.

I closed the door and kept on with my life, like nothing had ever happened.



et cetera