The New M.E. Generation

This guy introduced himself as Stephan. By his accent I could tell he was Latino, which is a minus. Dina is Latina, but for some unknown reason, Latinos are not her first choice for men.

I could tell that she was slowly but surely loosing interest in this guy, so I stepped in the conversation to try to give this guy a break with her.

“So, what are you girls up to tonight?” asked he.

“Nothing much,” I answered. “Hanging out here for food and drinks. But we’re pretty much wrapped up ‘cause she wants to go home.”

“Go home already?? It’s still early!” said he.

“Blame it on her,” said I while pointing to Dina. “I just tagged along for the night.”

Stephan gave Dina a surprised look and she had one of somewhat being embarrassed.

I interfered in the conversation yet again and asked him what he did for a living, with the hope that the conversation would survive.

“I’m involved in different things. But I primarily work 24 hours and have off 24 hours,” explained he.

“OMG!! You’re a firefighter!” said I.

“Yeah, how did you figure that out?” asked he.

“Because I know someone that is one too,” answered I.

“Really? Who?”

“Does the name Brian ring a bell?”

“Of course I do. That guy and I are colleagues. We work together at the same station.”

Oh my, the surfer dude. (Please refer to ‘You Can Be My Hero’ story.)

The one I thought I’d never see again. The one Madeline convinced me to track down and find, and re-ignited my adventurous side. The one that…

Hmm, do I need to re-visit that experience and emotions?

Honestly, I’m not feeling it.

It was a beautiful day to be at the beach, but, unfortunately, too windy.

Brian decided to check out the waves before considering bringing along his surfboard. He had a suspicion they would not be good enough to surf. He was right; there were some waves thanks to the wind, but not to surf.

What the wind had created though, was a strong current that made it very uninviting to get into the water. In my opinion, only people who really knew how to tackle a situation like this, like Brian, shouldn’t even think about trying to go for a swim or anything else.

With no possibility of surfing, we both sat on our towels and started talking. The topic revolved again when we got involved with our ex ‘significant others.’ He felt that perhaps we were too young to have gotten into a serious relationship, and that our marriages were a mistake.

I partially agreed with him that maybe I was too young and didn’t know better, but a mistake?

Back then I was very confident in my decision of marrying my ‘x.’ I thought he was ‘the one’ and that our marriage would last.

Looking at it now, I ask myself this: was I ‘so in love’ that I was blind to those clues that could have greatly predicted back then the outcome that it had?

If the relationship had occurred when I was older, would I still have ended up marrying him?

The true question is, what has remained from my marriage? Is there anything worth remembering or keeping for the future? No, not really.

Some time later Brian decided to go for a swim and then jog back to where we were. I remained there seated in the towel, watching him swim away, and sadness engulfed me like other times.

I asked myself again, what would remain from this experience with Brian? Probably the memory of that day when I took the drive to the station to find him again and when he helped me when my car got towed.

Anything else? No, not really.

I’m waiting outside my building for Brian to pick me up when I start hearing music getting louder and louder by the second. (Hum, I wonder what the tide is bringing in?) Sure enough, it was he.

He drove in exactly like when my car got towed, with all the windows down and the music so loud, you could hear it blocks down. I even think his car was vibrating.

Brian then lowered the music. “Wassup??”
I’m still standing there completely frozen. He’s wearing a t-shirt with a beach related theme, a cap backwards, and sunglasses that surely personify a ‘surfer dude.’ I also noticed a surfboard on the back of his SUV.

Oh, my! If my friends could only see me now, what would they say?
Madelyn: “Move your hiney and get in the car, now!
Dina: “I want full details of everything that happens.”
George: “I’ve already alerted the DC secret service in case their services are needed.”
Mark: “Sounds to me like you will be surfing more than just waves today…”

I’m afraid of getting into the car. I then felt Madelyn’s presence again when something pushed me from my back and made me finally board the ‘surf mobile.’

“Hey, great to see you again,” is all I could say.
“Ready to catch some waves??” he asked sounding still very hyper.
“Guess so…”
“Let’s go for it then, yeah!”

So off we went to the beach. I don’t know why, but I’m feeling uneasy. Something doesn’t feel quite right and I can’t put it into words.

It’s sad to think how wonderful my re-encounter with him was and today’s one is not exactly that.

But, you know what? I promised myself I wouldn’t take it personal, and I’m sticking with that. I’m just going to enjoy this day, and whatever will be, will be.

For the next I don’t know how many days, or weeks I believe, Brian and I contacted each other either by phone or text messages.

His communications, though, were very brief. If we spoke, the conversations lasted an average of 5 minutes or less, with ‘to the point’ remarks such as, “here, helping my kids with their homework,” “doing laundry,” “working on my boat,” which were usually followed by “got to let you go; talk to you later.”

His texting had been even briefer with messages like ‘working,’ ‘very busy,’ or ‘trying to put my kids to sleep.’

In other words, it was like when I didn’t hear from him after the networking event: he’s nowhere to be found.

I know I told Madelyn ‘I wouldn’t loose sleep over it,’ but I’m feeling irritated. I know it has nothing to do with me, but it still sucks.

Even worse, he never took me snorkeling and every time I spoke with him and his kids were around, I was getting the feeling he was doing it away from them.

I decided to ‘put it to rest’ and come to term with it when, sure enough, Brian called.

“Want to go to the beach and hang there for a while? I think I might even be able to catch some waves,” he said while sounding very wired.
(I’m getting scared.)
“You know what I did this morning??” (Do I want to know?) He continued sounding even more hyper.
(Please, no more bombs getting dropped on me!)
“I shaved my head!”
(Oh yes it did!)
“…Why?” is all I could formulate.
“Well, I’ve been cutting my hair very short with my own razor, and I decided to take it all off and see how it looked,” he continued.
(Now that’s a sight to see.)

I’m still holding my phone in shock over what I just heard, and nothing crosses my mind.

“It’s crazy, but I feel great! YEAH!” he then said.
(Yipee, the ‘surfer dude’ has returned.)

“Get your stuff ready, I’m picking you in about 30 minutes or so.”
“O…K…” is all I could say.
“By the way, do you surf??” he asked.
“No; scuba, snorkeling and boogey boards, yes.”
“I’ll teach you! Don’t worry, you’re in good hands (am I?). I was previously a lifeguard.”
(So the part-time ‘surfer dude’ and full-time firefighter was formerly ‘Baywatch’? Oh my! Is there anything else I need to be, or not to be, aware of?)

I know Madelyn told me I needed to get my adventurous side active again, but Brian’s ‘surfer dude’ persona has gotten me nervous. It’s like a whole different person had suddenly emerged in front of me.

I need to throw her another lifeline, a.k.a., have another girl chat.

I’m whining for about 5 minutes or so over the phone when she abruptly stops me in my tracks. “Emma! Just get your stuff, and yourself, together and go!! Call me later regardless if an adventure happens or not.”

She left me speechless like she always manages to do.

“I think…I can… do…that. Bye!” I concluded.

I followed Brian yet again to his apartment. This time I didn’t mind taking the long way to get there. I needed to unwind and take my emotions to a better place while driving.

But, wait, there’s more. I also don’t want to drive at a speed that will now get me pulled over by the police and get a ticket or something.

I was very relieved to arrive back at Brian’s place. We got our beers and sat on the same couch which hours earlier we were surfing the net. I’m still sporting my not so happy face, but it got better along the way.

“C’mon Emma, I want to see you smile!” Brian says while putting his hand on my shoulder and shaking me like he was mixing a drink. I looked at him, laughed at myself, and finally smiled.

Can you believe it? Here I was, still shaken from the incident, sitting next to the ‘surfer dude.’ He who, in my opinion, have had it worst with his divorce than I did, totally at ease and relaxed, with no shed of stress.

Now that’s a gift! Why can’t I be that way as well? Could I? Will I? What is it that’s holding me back of accomplishing this?

Brian and I are close to each other with our feet up on the coffee table in front of the couch and our hands are resting on our knees. He’s at my left. Out of nowhere, I shifted my vision to his hand and moved mine to place it below his.

“I’m happy to have found you again,” I said.
“I’m glad you did,” he answered.
I’m still looking at our hands.
“I hope that at least you stay around to be my friend,” I said.
“Of course I’ll be your friend.”
And then, without giving it any thought, I moved my hand and held his.
“That would be nice,” I concluded.
He held my hand in return and that felt even nicer.

I’m still looking at our hands locked together and finally exhaled. My bad mood left me and all I could feel was serenity. It was as if his energy had managed to put me at ease.

As for what remains of this long day, I’m not going to wonder what’s in store for me regarding Brian. Having him as a friend is just enough of a good start.

Wherever life takes me regarding this friendship or whatever might happen later, I’m simply not going to stress over it.

And that’s the way it will be.

I don’t know how long I waited for his arrival, but it felt endless. He finally appeared and, true to his ‘surfer dude’ demeanor, he’s driving with the car windows down and playing music so loud, it could be heard blocks down.

He puts the volume down and I get in the car. I have a face that reads ‘my life sucks big time.’ On the other hand, he has a big smile on his face like we were instead heading to the beach to catch some waves.

“Wassup Emma?”

“Hey” is all I could say with the long ‘unhappy camper’ face I had.

The thing here is that my car had been leased just a few months back and I am very attached to it. My vehicle is like an extension of my personality to the point that I don’t let other people drive it unless necessary or I allow it to happen. The thought of a total stranger taking it away feels like a part of me went away with it as well.

“Oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!” Brian said. I kept looking at him with my pissed off face and made no additional comments.

Brian puts his face closer to mine and said, “You’re not taking this very well are you?” while laughing and opening his blue eyes as wide as possible.

I then turned my face and looked forward to finally speak my first full sentence since stepping into the car. “I need to get home first to get cash to pay. They’re not accepting credit cards at this time of the night.”

So off we went to make a first stop at my apartment to retrieve money I have saved in case this type of situation ever occurred to me.

We then continued to locate the tow-trucking company, which was located in an area I’ve definitely never been for how ghetto looking it was.

We get off the car at the company and I could see my car parked inside the lot through the gate. I’m so glad to see it! It’s as if it had been abducted and I’m finally rescuing it.

I took care of all the corresponding paperwork and payment. I then checked that there were no scratches or damages to the car and then drove it out where Brian was parked.

I rolled down my window. “Thanks so much, I appreciate it enormously,” I said to him.

“So, I guess you’re going home now?” he asked.
“Actually, I could really use a drink right now if I could. I’m still in a little bit of a bad mood,” I answered.
“I got beers at my place if you’re interested.”
“Are they cold?” I asked.
“I’ll drink to that. Lead the way please,” I concluded.

“Oh, my, I didn’t realize how late in the day it was!” I completely lost track of time after chatting and surfing the net with ‘the dude’ for a few hours.

I’ve been taking this workshop at the community college once a week in the evenings, and I needed to get back home, try at least to eat something, quickly change and then head to campus before rush hour.

I explained my situation to him. “Listen, I got to go, but I’ll call you when I’m back home, ok?”

Brian gave me directions of how to get back home, and again, felt I was taking the long way. ‘There has to be an easier way around!’ I thought to myself.
After I got home, I literally gulped down some food, brushed my teeth, changed clothes, got my stuff together, and ran out the door.

I didn’t even have the chance to call Madelyn to tell her about Brian.

I got out of class sometime after 9pm and head to my car and, where is it???? My heart sank when I stood in front of the empty spot where I had parked it in the street. I looked up and realized I had put it in a tow-away zone.

I haven’t been parking in the school’s parking because I hadn’t made time to get the permit, and now it finally backfired at me.

The other unfortunate part was that there was a campaign/election rally close by and in my rush to park, didn’t took notice of the street signs.

Now, how am I getting my car back? I know I need to get to the tow-trucking company to retrieve it, but I need someone to take me there tonight. If not, I’ll have to get home on the train and walk home alone a couple of blocks. Even worse, my computer is in my briefcase, and I’m afraid of getting held up.

The only person that crosses my mind is Brian.

I don’t get a hold of him on the first call (I called several times) and left him multiple messages. While I waited desperately for him to call back, I managed to locate the transit authority office on campus.

A guy there helped me out by calling the tow-truck company, getting the address of their location, payment amount ($150), etc., when Brian returns my call.

I started crying out of sheer frustration. “My car got towed and need to get it back, I don’t have a way to get home…” I sounded like a call to 911.

“Are you ok? Are you alone??” Brian asked concerned.
“I’m fine. I just want to get my car and go home. Can you help me out?” I asked sadly and still crying.
“No problem, I’m on my way,” he said.
(Oh, how nice!)

I’m sitting alone on a bench waiting for Brian to pick me up. I’m hugging my briefcase with my chin resting on top of it like I was hanging on to dear life, and I’m feeling totally moronic.

I can’t believe that on the same day I took the adventurous road to find him again, he is now about to take me on another one to hunt down my car.

‘OMG, look at those blue eyes! They’re as crystal as the sky,’ I thought to myself. I noticed them when I met him that night at the event, but now staring at them at daytime were quite hypnotizing.

“Hey (I kissed him on the cheek like Hispanics do), how are you?” I said while hugging him with one arm and holding my purse with the other. “I’m so happy to see you,” I added.
“Likewise,” said he.

We’re still facing each other and engaging in small talk when he asked, “want to get something and sit down?”
“Sure,” I answered.

While standing in line and talking, I couldn’t help noticing his clothes and shoes. He was wearing a t-shirt with some beach related imprint, long Bermuda shorts, and tricolored, ankle-high Converse sneakers.

I sensed a bohemian, laid back vibe from him, something in the lines of an ‘over 30’ ‘surfer dude.’

We get our coffees and sat down. I was getting ready to share my story about searching for him, when he pulls out something from his pocket.

“Look, this is my new mobile,” he said. (Oh, so that’s why he never called me. He lost the data when he transferred the sim card to this one.) He showed me all the features and kept on talking.

‘Man, he talks more than us women supposedly do,’ I thought to myself. Even worse, I was loosing my train of thought.

I waited enough time to pass by so he could get his points across when I finally courage enough to talk.

“Um, listen, I wanted to tell you why I came looking for you…” I said to him. As simply as I could, I explained how I had regretted not getting his number the night we met, that my girlfriend was the one who motivated me to do the search for the station in the internet, what happened to me when I got there, and how I eventually got to him.

Nicely enough, he sat there and listened to every word I said and smiled. Those darn blue eyes never wandered away. It was like he was staring right into my mind and soul.

I’m trying to get my points across, which I did, and we even exchanged phone numbers (finally!), when he drops the bomb.

“Do you want to go to my place?” he asked.
(record scratching sound) “What? Now??” I asked back.
“Yeah, now,” he concluded.
“Ah… I guess so.”

OK, the first episode of Emma the Adventurer is about to begin.

et cetera