The person that you see on the outside, and the person that you get to know that lives within me.
The hot Texas sun makes my brown skin glisten, making me shine brighter, but some days not bright enough.
It takes a huff and puff from leafs of this earth to get me to a transcendental place that allows my inner self to come out and play.
I connect with who I really am underneath this now-orange skin.
This feeling of warmth and love and awareness runs through my lungs, back up my throat, out into my atmosphere and back in through my nose. It makes my heart race, gives me wide eyes, and makes me accountable for every breath in and every breath out.
I blink and I am back to a Saturday night, 20 years ago in the living-dinning of our tiny red-velvet apartment. I see the shape of the toy behind the book sitting up in front of the cushion. The color is the same auburn-brown that made up my mothers plastic ware. I can touch all five of its edges. I pick it up and walk it over to another part of our living-dinning. Maybe I’ll place it on the mesh chair where my little sister won’t be able to find it and where I’ll spot it when I’m ready to play with it again. I can smell my mother in the kitchen.
I look around and I don’t see my father.
Same background noise of cartoons being played over the quiet of the walls of our home, at the same time every day.
My mother is thoughtful
The phone rings. His voice comes through and she lights up.
With eyes already open, I wake up. Every nerve ending, every sensation, every smell and emotion has travelled with me to the past where I can always be a part of the scene that is happening in the play that my life has been, that is and that will be.
The room was nearly empty when I walked in for the first time.
There was not much personality to this space. Not much of anything really.
At the entrance you found a calendar to your right from 2014. The year was 2016.Without missing it, a red 10 x 30 canvas with pretty, melancholic, blue flowers hung, inviting you in.The bed could fit two people, it seemed perfect for the current situation. I could almost make ourselves out laying there, embracing each other. It had not happened yet, but I could see us.White walls. At the head of the bed there was a single small window with wooden blinds. At the end of the bed there was a TV held by a large drawer, where he kept his clothes perfectly folded.
We watched the leafs of fall cover his driveway, from the inside looking out.
We watched us fall in love under the covers of his bed.
We watched Netflix shows beginning to end, analyzing and reviewing each episode like we were critics, or like our pretentious opinion mattered.
We cried in each others arms.
We fell asleep and woke up next to each other, day in, day out.
Rainy, spring days knocked at the window of what had become our little safe-haven.
The rays of the summer sun woke us up.
One day I opened my eyes looking at the ceiling. I sat up and looked around the four walls of the room and realized the interior had my name written all over. There was not a corner of the safe-haven that did not have something I had given him. The love was apparent. You could tell that the person who slowly decorated the nearly empty room knew every bit about this boy. His favorite color. The shapes that calmed him and those he preferred having on his skin forever.I had made my mark in that interior that belonged to him. And I hoped that every time he looked around himself, that he would remember me, whether he wanted to think of me or not.
I drove by there a while back. After the storm and rage between then and now, it was now fall and the leafs covered his driveway, just like last fall.
THESE RAMBLING THOUGHTS COME AND GO like the waves of Galveston Beach that kissed our toes that summer day. After a while of coming and going they finally crashed into me. You dove right in. The sun burned your skin.
It’s hard not to know where we stand. It’s difficult to try and attempt to tap into your mind and your thoughts without actually asking you to talk to me about how you feel when you’re around me, when you see me. About where we are and where we’re going. I don’t want to scare you with these questions and even though they are questions I have to ask, I only think of them. They say that I am young and that I should have fun! Explore and meet. Try and fail. Kiss and tell, or don’t. For a while this was my aesthetic but the more I know you, the more I realize that I know what I want and where I want to be.
You try to figure me out without asking any questions, but I stand here, waiting for you to tap into my universe.
I know you wonder, just like I do, so here is the break down of my love life since I became “relationship-active”
6th grade: First little boyfriend. I used to “pretend to not like him or his groove.” It all came down to the realization that I was just a jealous little pretender who wanted to be as close to him as his best friend was. I confessed my feelings for him and we made our way towards each other. People looked on, watching the spectacular show that was a brown, chubby girl with glasses and a small, white boy.
8th grade: First little boyfriend’s mother moved him away from “the ghetto” school district. He broke up with me and I didn’t even notice he had. I thought long-distance was a thing.
9th grade Presents: Gaby- The Crusher (High School Years)
10th grade: I crushed on a boy who never looked at me. He was funny, he was chubby, he was perfect to me. Also, I realized that I was attracted to humans, not boys, not girls, but humans. For three months, I made my way down the halls of building “B” hand in hand with my lady friend.
11th grade: While I still was into the idea of liking people for who they were on the inside and not what gender they identified with on the outside, I went back to day dreaming about the boy. He lost weight. He shed the funny off as well and underneath those extra 70 pounds he once wore was a first-class asshole.
12th grade: I dated a freshman from the beginning of my last semester until graduation when he decided he wasn’t into cougars, but more into a friend of his sister’s.
Freshman Year: In a relationship with school work, extra curricular activities and working my first job.
Sophomore Year: In a relationship with school work, extra curricular activities, volunteering, theater and working 3 jobs.
Junior Year: In a relationship with school work, extra curricular activities, moving cities- starting school in Dallas.
Senior Year: In a relationship with school work, extra curricular activities, beginning a new job. And as I strolled through the front doors of the new job place I bumped into the boy that would be the one to begin and end it all. The demise of dreams and fantasies of years of day dreaming of the perfect person; He did away with all of that. All of me.
So as you can see from that quick rundown, there has never really been a consistent pattern of people in my love life. Most of the time growing up, people I liked were people from TV shows, boys that I only looked at from far away, boys that stood next to me that didn’t want to stand next to me. People that were only for the season and not for a reason. And at the most important year of my life came a person that pushed me to limits I didn’t know could even exist.
They say that love is blind and I wholeheartedly believe that. I believe that you can meet someone and give them all that you are. And being who I am, I will indulge in the other person completely. I will dive in and try to always find the best in them, even in the darkest of places. In the darkness I will always look for the light and when that light begins to dim, I will make sure I take care of it and guard it from the winds that might burn it out completely. When you are down, I will bring you back up. I watched him fall so many times and those many times I picked him up. He never gave me the gift of his company, when my minutes and seconds were his, unconditionally. I waited for him outside until he opened his door, the door- to his mind, to his thoughts, to his heart. Healed his wounds, and when it was my turn, when I would reach out for him, he only looked back as if to say, “I can’t right now.” Eventually, not ever. He said sorry and I said, “It’s okay.”
And that, that is my hamartia.
I had fallen in reverse into a black abyss that was him.
You found me in a murky state of mind.
You said, “Hello.”
I had met you once before, but as we declared, the first time meeting someone isn’t always the right time.
You took my hand, twirled me around. We danced.
We made our way towards each other even with miles in between us.
Mostly importantly, you’ve given me the gift of your time: minutes and seconds you won’t ever get back…you give those to me. And I thank you for that.
Eight months have gone by now.
I’ve known you from Halloween with our costumes and friends, to Thanksgiving, to our Christmas days together. That New Years phone call and meeting my family a week later. Valentines day. Opening the dance floor at your friends wedding and slow dancing to ‘Thinking Out Loud.’ My 23rd birthday: Getting away from it all by taking off to a different state and spending a few days in the mountains. I never really made it on to my feet while skiing, but falling down many times never mattered, because I was with you.
Eight months have gone by now, and it gets harder every time I see you. It’s hard to stand next to you, because it still feels like you’re miles away. We walk hand in hand, you kiss me and hold me. We make each other laugh, we sing to our favorite music while we drive around in your truck and it feels like I’ve known you forever. And then I wake up from this perfect dream and I realize that even though this is really happening, even though I became yours long ago, that you still are not mine.
I always told myself that I would never become one of those “what are we?” people, but that is exactly who I am now.
There are nights when I lie awake thinking of everything, from the smallest moments, to our biggest adventures, and the underlying question haunts me, “What are we?”
I try my best to enjoy it all and live in the moment. And then I realize that we live on borrowed time, that life is so short. That even though my “love life timeline” does not show case the longest, or most consistent relationships, that I know what it is that I want and who it is that I want when I wake up next to you.
In you I have found a friend, a mentor, a confidant, a gentleman, an adventurous companion, and a bearer of great taste in music. A beautiful human made of flaws stitched together with good intentions. Someone who sees past my glasses and own imperfections. I see myself growing up with you. And in between the many things that I only think to myself and never ask you, I ask and I wonder if you think the same of me. Willing to keep the wind from blowing the light out, I protect it with my hands, but I realize that unfortunately, I cannot do this forever.
I would close this by saying, “I remember the first time I met you…” but really, “I remember the second time I met you,” for I met you in warm conversation that slowly pulled me from a wreckage.
If our paths were not meant to merge and create one that we both can walk on for miles, I hope I can meet you a third time and maybe time and distance can be kinder to us, then.
It’s 4:40 AM. I woke up thanks to the heat in the room I am in. I took a shower the night before, I fell asleep with wet hair and then I think of how my mother is mostly always right. “Don’t sleep with wet hair! It’s bad for you!” Well, I don’t know how bad it really is to your health but what I do know is that if you sleep in a room with no a/c, the heat will crawl up to your head and make you sweat and make you sticky and make you wake up at 4:40 in the morning. You will then proceed to contemplate on whether or not you should stay awake for work and start getting ready. I mean, you wake up at 6 and that is only an hour away. You lay back down, your hair tied up now and set up an alarm for 45 minutes later. Phone off. “Hmm. I wonder what the fastest way to losing body fat is…” Phone on. Google, “Fastest way to lose body fat..” results are exactly what you’ve read before. Phone off. “Let’s swipe left a little for a while, I’m not really that sleepy and this alarm will go off soon. Phone on. Open up Tinder. Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe….Hmm..maybe..nah. Swipe left. Swipe left. Phone off. Eyes become moist. It’s not the hot room making your eyes water. It’s the thought of everything. Everything you used to have, or at least thought you had. It’s the thought of what you had to let go and the thought of what you want now. You fall asleep. Work in 40.
…90 days since the last of many things I had to say good bye to the things and people that made me fall in love with the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex.
Time has gone by so quick. And going into a job that I caught on to so quickly does not help at all when I want to just take a step back and see everything I have accomplished so far. I guess that’s a good thing in a way? Maybe.
Austin, TX has been great to me so far.
Except for those long traffic lights that I usually sit at for 6 turns, the super healthy/ beautiful people that make me feel like I should be there too, and the nice people that make me feel like shit because I flipped them off because they let someone cut in front of them, or in other words, gave them the, “Go ahead, I believe in good karma” pass.
There is so much to do around here, and in the three months I’ve been here, I’ve only experienced only about 15% of it all. There are beautiful running/ walking trails you can find between the neighborhoods that make you realize you need an awesome paying job to one day live in one of those mansions. Mountain hikes that give you an awesome view of the downtown skyline, along with all that cedar.
At the top of Mount Bonnell
…Okay. Get me down. Now.
This time last year, I was living the life of a final year college student. Ready to finish strong and graduate. I never thought of moving anywhere else. I had my framily (friends like family) all around me. Awesome job. Concerts almost every weekend. Then came the realization that it was time to move closer to home, and Austin, TX was the closest I would get. Right in the middle of my home town and where I loved being, it seemed like the perfect place.
The news came as a shock for some people that, much like me, at the time thought I would be there forever. Some doubted my reasons for moving away, citing, “It’s because of what he did to her that she’s leaving.”
One time a co-worker that found out I was moving said to me, “Austin, TX, huh? Good for you. You look like an Austin kind of girl.” I asked why and she said, “Well you’re just so nice and perky and creative. And you’re young!” And that always stayed with me.
Things were just beginning to fall into place for me. It was scary, but I jumped off at the highest point. The point where you look down and the earth below you is a microscopic version of itself. The point where your stomach hurts, palms are sweaty, and you think of taking a step back and rescheduling that jump, but then…you do it. And fear, self-doubt, and hopelessness fills you, but so does determination, confidence and hopefulness.
Austin, TX is it’s own little universe.
There are many delicious places that you just “have to go to!” according to many websites and people who have lived here for as long as I have been alive, as well as those that haven’t been here for that long and are still discovering the grub spots themselves. The biggest attraction for many is 6th Street. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but just in case you have not…It’s a huge street filled with bars and underground dance clubs and beautifully expensive restaurants and food trucks (of course). It’s considered the Live Music Capital of the World,” and that my friends, it is. On almost every corner, you see lamp posts covered with posters of local bands playing at different clubs or bars. Walking down 6th, music from live instruments fill the street, tempting you to walk into the location, or at least stand outside and little for a little, because like many of today’s most successful artists got their start playing at clubs as such. It’s great to walk around and suddenly bump into congress street, which, if you turn right or left (depending on where it is that you’re standing) you will see the majestic TEXAS STATE CAPITAL building. It’s a breathtaking historic architectural structure. It’s green grounds make it a perfect spot for a picnic, or a peaceful sanctuary to sit down at and read, or write.
On free weekends, any time I drive up to the lake or hiking trails, I almost cannot believe that this is the same city with the fourth highest population rate in the state of Texas. I walk around the corner of my yoga studio and I look up at the Chrysler building and I find it mind-bottling to think that so much nature, and so many infrastructures can come together to make this the awesome city that it is.
Laredo, TX (my hometown) is lovely. A small town, coming into its own by growing slowly but surely. Dallas, TX was just amazing to me. Being a small town girl, I only ever dreamed of walking among the buildings that made up the neon skyline I would only see in postcards. It was a whole other world. And now Austin, TX I feel offers me a little bit of both. Small and quiet in certain corners, yet industrial and adventurous.
So it’s been 90 days…Well 91 now since having to write between breaks at work delayed me by a day to post it yesterday. Every day I discover a new route home. A hidden mall behind pine trees. A new favorite restaurant. Someone new that I get to have a conversation with and call my friend and fellow Austinite. It’s definitely a city where riding a bike and walking around with a back pack instead of a purse is a norm. It’s a city where even between the rush of the streets and the hassle of a long work day, I can still find time to open up a new post and finish it.
Thank you for 3 awesome months, Austin. Here’s to many more.
What is it about us humans, or at least this human, that loves to feel even sadder when I already am feeling sad?
I have tried so many times to delete the “Love Hurts”playlist on my Spotify. I am not kidding. I have a playlist that I am attached to that is titled after an Incubus song. This playlist includes songs such as:
Kiss me by Ed Sheeran
I’m With You by Avril Lavinge.
Till Summer Comes Around by Keith Urban
Free by Zac Brown Band
About Today by The National
Slow Show by The National
Last Kiss by Taylor Swift
Where Is My Mind? by Maxcene Cerin
Opus 22 by David Ohalloran
With or Without you by U2
…you get the point. It’s music that will remind you of the one you loved before they left you broken and shattered into a million little pieces. It’s music that will make you want to be in a music video where it’s raining outside and you’re looking out a window.
And with that little excerpt of inside into what I listen to when I am feeling down, I must admit that I am a huge fucking moper. Is that a word? Or did that added suffix make the word mope sound like I might be a drug user? Hmmm. I don’t know. But give me some mope.
The year was 2003,
and I was only nine years of age at the time. School had always been a fascination to me. I had the chance to learn something new every day. I got to raise up my hand and feel good when the words from my mouth were correct. I had always been seen by others as peculiar and dressing up like a hybrid cross between Angelica from the Rugrats and Urkel did not help at all. I was a nine year old, obsessed with Saturday Night Live, anything Lisa Frank, metallic butterfly hair clips and vocabulary books. Anything I thought looked pretty, I wore. Even if it was a baby blue fuzzy sweater that fit me tight, I felt like no one else owned that piece of fashion and that no one was me. I never tried to be someone else, because I never did know that was an option. A boy named John Godey seemed to think otherwise.
Up until the day that third grade began, I had never been noticed by anyone. I made my way through the early years of grade school by being quiet and only speaking when I was spoken to- manners my parents had taught me. I was well aware that I was always the chubby, brown girl in my classes. Other girls my age had the same characteristics: straight hair, light colored skin, thin little bodies. I sat in my designated seat that first day of third grade, next to the person whose last name came after mine, next to the person that would make the next year of elementary school a hell on earth. I noticed that he too was different like me. He was bigger compared to Ricky Sanchez, the boy who I had a crush on. His head peaked above everybody else, he seemed to have no neck so all you could see was a big head mounted to a big body, much like a play dough figurine.
One day on our way to dinosaur-shaped nuggets and macaroni n’ cheese, I heard the following conversation:
Boy 1: Hey who’s going to be the leader of the group?
Boy 2: We chose King Kong dude don’t you remember? Right John you’re our leader?
John: You know it! Hey but at least I’m not black like her…
I felt my ears get warm, followed by nervous perspiration from my forehead and an accelerated heartbeat. All I wanted to do was eat my favorite kind of food, and maybe ask someone who hadn’t eaten their mash potato if I could have it. But I felt like throwing up when I turned my head and King Kong and his posse were laughing at me.
The days that I looked forward to until then, now became dark days that forced me to take a verbal beating, without knowing how to fight back. All I could do was cry and no one seemed to notice. I did not want my mother to know because her lack of knowing how to drive at the time prevented her to pick me up from school any time they sent the sad girl to the nurses office. So my own remedy to John Godey was hiding. No one ever went to the restrooms near the gym, all because one unfixed light flickered and everyone said it was haunted. I laid my head on the cold floor of the handicapped bathroom stall. It was the most spacious and it was my favorite. Some days, I would spend such a long time inside one that I could imagine it becoming my bedroom. I saw my bed on the corner next to a rail, and next to it my bookshelf with every piece of literature I owned. This was my safe haven during dark third grade days at Farias Elementary.
Pretty soon, the name ‘Hershey’ caught on and that’s what I became known as. ‘Truffle with glasses’ was also another good one, but Hershey hurt more because I was aware that Hershey was a chocolate and at the time I was not acquainted with what a truffle was. During lunch time one day, John’s words to me seemed to not be enough for him anymore that he decided to move on to the next level. I sat down ready to eat the food of the day. I opened my half-pint carton of chocolate milk, and John Godey decided to take my carton and pour it over my only slice of pizza. How could no one see what had happened and why did I sat quiet? My body had never hurt so much and the floor of that restroom never felt more comforting. Soon after, Mr. Curry finally noticed I had been missing after lunch time for nearly three weeks and the truth finally came out. John Godey was moved to another classroom, but teachers knew that would not fix anything and that he would do the same. His parents decided to move him to another school. John Godey disappeared from my life, but his words lingered within my thoughts and my self-esteem for a very long time.
Some say it’s a part of “growing up.” But a person’s childhood should be as eccentric and unforgettable and filled with things around us that make an impact on our lives that shape who we grow up to be. I fought hard with myself to accept this theory. I tried to compare it to chickenpox, where even as an adult, if you had never had it, you had to have it.
Two years ago, I walked into a McDonalds. I remember being last in a line of four people waiting to order. As I walked closer to the counter I realized that the cashier was John. He was much taller, slightly thinner than 2003. John Godey was a man now. I thought of getting out of that line and driving to a different location, but then I realized how many unsaid things I had kept to myself all these years. Would he understand just how many school days I wasted, laying on the floor of a restroom waiting for the day to be over? I got clammy hands, my blood went cold and I felt two hands wrapped around my throat, preventing me from even thinking of what I would say next. Then it dawned on me to think of where we both were standing, and I grinned just a little, just enough to feel my satisfaction. I walked up the counter and he said to me, “Good afternoon, what will it be?”
One of my all time favorite creative people happens to be Lena Dunham. Creative Writing major at Oberlin College in Ohio, creator, writer and star of her own very show: GIRLS, and over all badass bitch. There is something about the way that she presents her way to the world that makes me crave for that same carelessness about the what other people think. Not in an, “Oh I’m always right and you should just shut the fuck up,” kind of way. It’s more of an, “Oh…okay….well…this is me and who I am so…to bad. Have a nice day! :)” I met her during a reading of her first book, Not That Kind of Girl, October 2014 in Austin, Texas. Here we are. Please, ignore my overly excited photogenic-ism that makes me look like a tr
A couple of years and many projects later, she has recently released a tiny little book called Is It Evil To Not Be Sure? which is an excerpt from Lena Dunham’s college diary. I am yet to purchase the little thing and read it, but the title really made me think of things that I have ever not been sure of and just how full of doubt I made myself feel. Then I think of my two younger sisters and their lives at the moment. How they’re growing up and how I have walked the same path they walk today, only, I did not have a guide of any kind to know how to do things right. Just to clarify, I am not saying that my steps are the corrects ones to follow through. I am not perfect and so with that, my dear sisters know better than to make me the blue print to their flourishing lives. What I can vouch for is the good intentions behind my actions in order to make them see that if a messy, imperfect person like myself can try their best to jump the hurdles of life that sometimes stand at 3 feet tall, that this 5 foot and 1 inch girl can do her best to jump over them. And sometimes I make it over. And sometimes only one foot makes it over and I fall on my face, but I get up.
My middle sister is 20. She will be 21 this September. In societal tradition she will be officially “legal”. She will be able to purchase alcohol and drink it every once in a while in the company of good people. Sometimes in the company of herself.
My “little” sister is 14. She will turn 15 this June. In Mexican tradition, she will be turning into a “woman,” which is impossible for me to process because only yesterday my mother and father sat me and my year-and-a half younger sister to tell us that we were having another sister. Because only yesterday I witnessed her take her first steps across our dining room.
The family of 5 that our family is was a complete puzzle up until I moved away two years ago. I didn’t mean to make the puzzle incomplete, but I did mean to give myself some distance and independence away from everything I had ever known, even if it wasn’t always in the way I wanted it. It’s when you’re away from people and the known to you that you really appreciate it all for what it has always been.
One thing I hoped for when I left was for my middle sister to take over “big sister” duties. Really, there had never been actual duties that I had when I was home except “set the example.” However, my father had always expected that from both of us for the good of our little sister.
I left my home with a heavy heart and guilt at having to leave my sisters by themselves. They had each other and my parents. They had the friends that they made and the people they knew along the way. But a sister bond is something you can’t find anywhere else. And I missed our late night talks, our drives to the Walmart, walking through the clothes, looking at shirts that we could only wish we could buy because we didn’t have any money. We had each other and even today, everyday, I know that I hurt them when I left because we are not each other without each other.
Fall 2015, my little sister began her high school journey.
Having my little sister begin a new chapter of her life was a big deal to all of us. Both my middle sister and I, we couldn’t believe that our little sister was about to become a high school kid- something that we ourselves had been only some years prior. My parents couldn’t believe that their smallest was heading towards the “grownup” path.
Above all the excitement that filled the air, fear crept into my mind thinking of my earlier years in grade school, getting bullied and not feeling like I belonged anywhere. I didn’t want her to feel that way. I wanted her to feel like she could do anything with better opportunities, like the ones I gave up. Like the ones I had never thought twice about.
I will go on to say that all was done with the best of my intentions. I will say that sometimes you think with your heart and not with your mind. and I will say that sometimes what you want for somebody else might not at all be what they want for themselves.
Sometimes I feel like I threw my little sister into a world that only caused her to doubt herself more. At a pivotal time of stress and decisions she did say to me, “you did this to me,” and my heart broke at thinking that if only she had chosen her own trail to the “grownup” path, that maybe the sign of relief into summer vacation, the sigh of relief into what will soon be her sophomore year would have been less heavy in her tiny chest. Inhale. Exhale. Relax. I love you, Birdy.
Fall 2013, my middle sister began her road to her undergraduate college studies; went straight to four more years after four previous years. Just like me.
It’s lovely to think that maybe I had some sort of influence on her decision. Maybe, and most likely, it’s just what is expected of students nowadays. It’s what is expected so you don’t seem lazy or not willing to jump into the next face of your life, almost immediately.
Her and I grew up a year and half apart. 18 months. 547 days. 13128 hours.
We grew up under the same roof. Played with the same toys. Shared the same stories. Borrowed each other’s clothes. And eventhough we grew up on the same street, the one we continued walking down on was different. And that too was okay.
The struggles that we both had during the beginning of our college years were different. The way that we both managed to over come those obstacles have been different. For her, it’s been a rougher road. Her years of life and everything that comes with it. Looking for love and for the good in people that can show you and tell you the nicest of things…and then leave you hanging on a breakable threat. The pressure of carrying the weight to set the best example for our little sister, by herself. Anytime we talk, it seems like the world weighs heavy on her shoulders. But what I want you to know is that I’m on the outside looking in, and you’re doing a great job. The road is rough. The skies above you might be gray and rain may fall on you. But dance in it. Get wet and go with it. I love you, tuti.
The world seems to be a little harder for women. Girls. Females. “The opposit sex.” To know that we have to follow certain rules and regulations, standards and expectations, can be an overwhelming venture. It’s not evil to not be sure of what our next step will be. It’s not evil to make mistakes. For if we would never dare to do anything that would have consequences, then we would never know how to do things right.
I look throver to the passenge seat. My mother sleeps as I drive us through cities. I’m taking her to the outlets in San Marcos, Texas. Nothing Fancy. Just a day trip. Just here and I. And as I drive, it’s crazy to sit here behind the wheel and realize that I’m taking care of my mother, just as she did when we were small.
Brown: The color of my skin.
Kids made fun of me. I had all kinds of nick names. “Hershey” hurt me the most, so “Hershey” was their favorite. On sad school days when other second graders would make fun of me, I would ask my mom, “Mami, why do I look like this?” “Mija, it’s because of the sun. We walk too much and this happens sometimes. Don’t worry. You’re still pretty, negrita.”
When we were smaller, my mother did not know how to drive.
“Ninas! Es hour to picorr. ( It’s time to wake up).”
She would wake us up at 6:30 AM every day, ready to head out the door by 7, in order to get to school at 7:45. Right on time before the first bell would ring. At times it seemed like she was a single mom, doing it all on her own. My father was away working, absent on those hard times when we needed him. When my mom had to walk down Chicago streetw towards Farias Elementary with her seven-year-old by the hand, her five-year-old on her back, and her new born in the stroller.
The sun burned. We were sleepy. Whe had to stop at certain corners for breaks. But there my mother was, making it her mission to get us to school on time.
There is something so great about knowing that she trusts me that much; her, falling asleep, motionless, loose and vulnerable. The fact that she decided to put her sluombering life in my hands, making sure we arrive.
An emotional gate has opened up. I was alone when it happened this last time. I actually prefer for it to always be like that. But I want there to be someone waiting outside my door, waiting for it all to be over. Once I’ve calmed down and have almost numbed myself from the storm that rages inside of me during that time, I want someone one to open the door and come inside and hold me. Wipe my tears away and tell me that everything will be okay. That what I did was not something bad. That it’s okay because I too will be okay in time.
There’s so much going on.
I tried so hard to suppress the feelings and the thoughts and the memories of everything but I just could not do it this last time. Something much stronger than myself came through me. That was almost a week ago today, and I am still emotionally reeling from the way that I felt. The loneliness. The lack of understanding and the lack of support from the one person who has repeatedly said to me that would be there. Where were you? Why do you cause me to cry myself to sleep?
I hold on to this as much as I can because he is such a big part of me that I wouldn’t know where to stand if he were to disappear from my life suddenly. I tell him this but not always to his face. Because I don’t want him to believe that he is in control.
The truth is that he is. He is in control of my heart.
I want to be with him all the time.
My life is like movie. This part of my life, I like to close my eyes to and listen to a specific song: The Cinematic Orchestra’s “Arrival of the Birds.” I like to start from the first time that I saw him. His smile. His eyes. His voice. Everything about him so captivating. I like to imagine that part of my life playing out to this song. Pictures of us. Moments that can only be described as magical. Everything about this time that I have spent with you so far.
The first time we had our first conversation. That first night, laughing and drinking with friends and talking and you. So different. So real. The day after that first night and the way that I felt when I woke up and I realized that I wanted you. I know that I was still invisible for a while and did not make myself noticeable until I decided to give you tiny hints of what went through my mind exactly. Then that first time when it was just you and me and on the ride in your car, back to my dorm, you held my hand. And I thought out loud, “I really want to kiss you but…” and suddenly you swooped in, and kissed me. And my dream had come true. You said to me, “We’ll be okay.”
Getting the chance to go into the job that I love and seeing you there. It never once felt like a mistake, like this was wrong. Never. Not then and not today.
The first time we made love in the back seat of your car.
Dressing up for you, waiting for you at that bar. Looking at you come inside. You told me I looked cute and kissed me, right there, in front of people, like I had never been.
I asked you if you wanted to stay over and you said yes. And we fell asleep together and we woke up together. And when we woke up we talked for hours. Then I said goodbye to you but not for long because we would then see each other again soon, like we always do.
The way you held me when my grandmother died and the moment I realized that I loved you.
I felt it. And every time I tell you that I love you, I go back to that wonderful first moment. It is a moment that stands so apart from anything else I had ever experienced with another human being.
Then came the first time you let me down. You say it was not your fault, and in the haze of my love for you, I ignored the obvious hurt and said, “Don’t worry about it.”
Then the next one and the next one.
The time when you walked me into your home and walked me towards your mother. Having the honor to stand in front of and finally meet the woman responsible for the birth of the love of my life. I said hello, feeling so important. You then said to me that she said I was cute. So she liked me. I could not wait any longer for the most important woman in my life to meet you, either. I video called her. She had just gotten back from work, and as tired as she was, you still said she was so beautiful. She was so shy but so happy that I finally showed her who Josh was.
I went away for a while to go back home for Christmas and I could not believe how much we missed each other’s presence. It was crazy. I could not help but imagine that you had gone home with me. That we both had made our way through the front door of my home and that I introduced you to my father, telling him, “Dad, this is my boyfriend. And I never told you until just now.” Just like his dream predicted I would do. I did not want you to be alone then, or ever. You let me know that you were finally realizing just how much I really meant to you. My heart melted and my head spun at the thought of never being missed by someone like that. Everyone else before you were just not the right people. But every day I realize that you are worth so much more.
New year’s day came along and although we couldn’t touch each other at the end of the count down, we looked into each other’s eyes as the final seconds of a very long year came to a closing end. “Three, Two, One…HAPPY NEW YEAR!” We both whispered I love you to the wind and space that stood between us. When we got home, as we laid there from a long day of work, we recreated the count down and this time we kissed. It was the first time I had ever kissed anyone ringing in a new year. A new start.
The time we went ice skating, and how you took care of me, making sure that I would not fall down. And you never did let me go. Every meal I eat with you- I want to take care of you.
And then we finally came to a time when you were feeling so vulnerable against everything and everyone around you. I could not immediately come to your rescue, since I was unaware of what exactly was going on. But I did come to you as soon as I figured that you could not be alone. And I never want you to feel like that. Never in the life, for as long as I am alive. So I came to you and I held you. Although you stand so much taller than I, I still managed to take you I the bosom of my chest and cradle you like a child. I wanted to make you feel wanted and understood and safe.
I opened up to you as well, letting you know that now that you have me, that you will never be alone, again. You have someone whom you have to be able to trust and open up to. You have someone who genuinely cares about your well-being. And most importantly, that you have someone who will not desert you because of who you are and everything that makes you, you.
The other night when we went to dinner and a concert, another in our list of concerts from the past and those we are yet to go experience together. It was so cold. But just like that we made our way through downtown Dallas. We ate, then went to the Reunion tower. It was bad weather but it was a great time with you.
You held me the entire wait outside before the concert began. You held me in your arms. You tied my hair up in a ponytail, the best that you could. You did a good job. You held me the entire time we were inside. We enjoyed the live music. The essence of happiness and joyfulness, not just ours but everyone else’s contributed to the great time we had. I was so tired and was about to tumble a few times, but I stuck through it for you. Because I know how much you wanted to be there. I would do anything for you.
Then came the darkness that crept over me like a hovering cloud of rain, hiding the sun from me.
It happened about a week ago. Exactly a week ago in a couple of hours.
I got home from work. I got home from a great day at my favorite job and being with you.
I walked into an empty dorm room, my roommate wasn’t there. I was glad she wasn’t because that helped when it all started. I was so tired. I was feeling so unwanted by everything and everyone around me. I did not know what to do exactly when it began.
I began feeling worthless, degrading myself. Feeling guilty for everything that I had not done for my grandmother, for not seeing her one last time. Looking at myself in the mirror only made it worse. I could not stand the image of the person staring back at me. How fat she looked and then I wondered how someone like you could be with someone like me. I do not want to disappoint my parents, and I made damn sure I reminded myself of what could happen if I fuck up. I tried hurting myself. Just a little. Just enough to feel something and pair it together with the way that I was abusing myself mentally.
Later on that night I messaged you, telling you, “I never ask you for anything, but right now I need you to tell my how you feel about me. Reassure me of this.” You replied to me with your sweet words that I try to think of even right now, a week later, to remind me that everything is okay between us. Because truth be told, fear creeps into my mind. The fear of losing you.
Days went by and the communication between us was not satisfying to me. You didn’t say much. All I needed you to do was maybe call me, ask me how I was doing. But nothing happened. I wanted to pull my hair out. I cried so much. I cried myself to sleep thinking of the disappointment my heart felt at not having you there with me, in both an emotional sense and the physical.
I could not take the quiet of the days without a word from you, so I caved in. Because I had promised myself that I would not be the one to go to you. That I would wait for you to come to me. For you to call me and tell me to go outside because you were waiting for me. But nothing. So I decided to go to you. There I was, going against my own word.
You opened the door to your home, the place that you tell me is also my home.
And we talked, but we went in circles. You told me you love me so many times. Sometimes I feel like that’s all you can do: tell me to remind me or just tell me to shut me up and make me feel at ease. I don’t know.
I tried to hide the fact that I wanted to raise my voice at you and be more assertive and be more demanding. So instead I asked you how your day went. We played around. We kissed. But I lied to you, because I was pretending to be happy and okay when I really wasn’t. We made love and we came together. It was explosive and so wonderful. When we finished you laid on top of me, your heart was racing and breathlessly you said to me, “I love you,” like you tend to do when we have both satisfied our sexual needs. After it all, I went back to feeling the same way that I felt when I stood outside your front door, just a few hours before. I laid on your chest as you watched Master of None. I had already seen the entire season. You had not, so all I did was lay there, looking up at you laughing at the jokes of Aziz Ansari. I scratched your beard and slowly let the sleep come over me.
A gate has opened and I don’t know how to close it. My mind is running in circles. Where is it? I need my mother’s embrace and advice. I need your love and your warmth. But I don’t get it. I don’t know how else to ask for it from you and make you see that I really am in need of it. I am not the kind of person that ever expect anything in return for what I have given. But it would be nice to know that you are the person outside my door, waiting for my episode to be over so you can come inside and hold me and tell me that although you don’t understand completely, that everything will be okay. I wish I didn’t have to speak to paid strangers to listen to me and pretend like they care. I might be wrong. They might actually really care but I don’t want strangers to be the people that I hug after a long, intimate talk. I want that person to be you.
Where are you?
In this movie of my life, I always want the part where you come in to have the prettiest music. The love I have for you and the many memories and moments that we have created out of this opportunity to be with one another deserves to be played out for us to see with the best music, I believe.
There is much more ahead of us.
There is much more for us to see and feel and talk about and cry about.
And there will be time. Time for you and time for me. There will be time. Time for us both.
I close my eyes and I am looking at you from the passenger seat. We’re listening to music on this car ride. It’s a nice evening. There are many trees around us. There is a little bit of fog, preventing us from seeing what lays ahead. And I don’t know where we’re going. But that’s okay because I’m with you.