Loner

I’m so used to being a loner for quite some time now that I despise being in a crowd for more than an hour.

I’m so used to being a loner that when I have problems, instead of sharing it with a friend, I seclude myself in my own retreat or spill it out through WordPress.

I’m so used to being a loner that I don’t care if I lose a friend, gain a friend, lose a friend, gain a friend, etc.

I’m so used to being a loner that I became distrustful of people and their ulterior motives.

I’m so used to being a loner that I’ve closed my real self from the face of the world and only show it to those who truly know me.

I’m so used to being a loner that I appreciate my own solitude and despise people prying on my personal business.

I’m so used to being a loner that it has to be in the perfect mood and the perfect timing for me to go out.

4: Spring Cleaning

It’s a beautiful April morning, when one will notice that the trees are either transitioning to Fall or Spring. The leaves are blooming with all sorts of colors, reminiscent of Autumn, but the cool Spring showers are nurturing them to bloom. The morning sky at 6:00 am is a cross between night and morning. It’s still dark in some parts, but the morning light is coming through the darkness. It almost looks as if it’s the afternoon transitioning into the night, but in reality, the morning sun will soon bring in its splendor. The beginning and end is always hard, but really,  life is a big continuum of pauses, replay, forward and go. There’s no stopping, only going.

There’s something new, something big and something unknown that’s about to come into Cece’s life. She doesn’t know what it is exactly, but she thinks it’s because she’s ending a chapter of her life: she’s finally going to be a Registered Nurse. Is it really the ending? Or is it only a moment to recount what she accomplished?  It looks like she’s finally starting a new slate, as if she’s had the chance to fix her mistakes from her past, but in reality, she’s going through changes that are going to have a big impact in her future. Her past has always been with Dante, always striking and always spontaneous. It always finds a way to remind her of what could have been. It was all too beautiful to let go, so she kept him close by, within reach when she’s feeling unappreciated. Then there’s her future with Richard, the perfect best friend- turned-husband, who has been her moral support ever since they were 12-years-old. She knows that in Richard’s arms, she’s safe, she’s stable and she trusts him with her heart that he will never hurt her the way Dante did. Richard is too nice, a quality she almost feels guilty of abusing, whenever Dante lingers in her mind.

One night, Cece and Richard had a petty fight in postponing their long-awaited trip to Europe. They have been planning it for three years, but since both of them are still in medical school, they didn’t have enough money. Cece was mostly the one who demanded to open another credit account to achieve what she thinks was “a once-in-a-lifetime- trip” that they will never have once they commit to their jobs.” Richard hesitated and decided to go to bed early, but Cece was in front of her computer, looking through her friends’ pictures in Facebook. She felt alone, unappreciated and jealous of her friends’ journey to different places. She felt trapped. She wishes she could travel.  “Travel where?” She asked herself. Travel to Italy. Then it struck her: she might see Dante. However, a part of her mind wants to forget Dante so she can be happy. He’s the reason why she keeps expecting a lot from Richard. It’s been nearly five years since she has seen Dante. She thought, it’s about time she let him go, the same way he let her go so easily on that dreary, cloudy October afternoon.

While she was busy looking through her friend, Evalyn’s pictures, Cece wondered, how the hell did she afford to go to Madrid, San Paulo, Bangkok and Sydney? As she was going through Evalyn’s pictures, stalking pages and pages of photos like a vulture, a message from Dante popped up at 12:20 am EST, a delayed response after she sent him a New Year’s message, four months ago:

“Ciao Cecilia, 

Come stai? I’m doing good, thank you for asking. I’m in holiday right now and I would like to share to you that I’m between New Zealand and Queensland. I don’t think we should forget the past, I think it is part of our lives and I will always be happy to remember you and the time we shared. How are things going with Richard? How is everything else? How’s your nursing courses? Aren’t you almost done?”

Cece re-read the message for the 20th time and was finally satisfied with what his letter meant. Actually, she felt offended, downright angry at him:

Is he mocking me? So, he’s in New Zealand and Australia now? Awesome. Guess where I am? I’m in Virginia, the same place where he eft me, stuck with books and school obligations. Past? Does he know how much I long to forget him? Why am I friends with him anyways? I am sooo sick of sounding like an obsessed b*tch while he’s out there enjoying his sweet time with Stella. Why should I keep him as my priority? He wants to be friends? I am DONE.

Cece’s emotions were mixed with anger, despair, neediness and hatred towards Dante. She knew she wants everything to end. She was ready to put her past with Dante away for good. She finally began typing what seemed to be a long, honest letter that she hopes Dante will read, not in the next months, but the next day:

Dear Dante, 

I think I need to enlighten you about a secret that I’ve been keeping for so many years. Don’t take this offensively, but I believe it’s time I pour every truth about you and I. No sugar coating this time. I need to go straight to the point. I have an issue for quite some time now, actually it has been happening for years and I tried telling it to you before, but I have been stopping myself for 5 whole years.

Honestly, I struggled to move on ever since you left that October afternoon for New York, then eventually to Italy. I have never forgotten that moment. To this day, I carry that close to my heart. You might have thought I moved on so quickly from you: I went straight into dating other guys, a month after you left. I tried every effort to erase you in my memory and in my heart because ending things with you was too painful to bear. I dated guys just to forget you but I couldn’t. It’s hard to forget you.

That night you came back to the States, to meet me at the Lebanese Tavern, I was excited to see you. I was on the way actually, I was a street away, but I turned my car around when I found out you were with Stella, your new girlfriend that I didn’t know about. I loved you still that I decided to let you go because I know you were already happy with her. I was hurt that you’ve found her, but I had to let you go. Since then, to this day I have been regretting that moment that I didn’t see you. It might actually be the last moment I finally get to see you. But I shouldn’t regret it. I like that part when you left for New York and I was your girl. I’d rather remember that as the last time I ever saw you.

Listen, I know it’s easier for you to say that we shouldn’t forget things between us, that everything in the past happened for a reason because it has brought us here- today at this moment. It’s been hard for me to remember you and to try and have that same summer again. I still miss you. I still love you. It’s been 5 years and I feel that I’m the only one still holding on to us. You see, we never had a closure for us. I wish we did so that I can move on too. I don’t ask that you leave Stella, no, that’s not my intention. I think that the best thing we can both do, so that you can help me move on, is to cut all communication between us. I love you so much that I want you to be happy with Stella. I don’t want to destroy what you two have and I want to let you go. I think it’s time for me to move on and grow up from that past. I want to stop hoping that you and I will have another chance. That summer was beautiful when you came into my life, I was just moving on from a break up and you saved me. 

Now that there’s a new summer that’s about to start and that I’m about to begin a new chapter in my life, I want things differently, which does not include anything between us anymore. I know I sound rude and that you might hate me, but I think this is the best option for you and I.

Let’s end it all here. Please understand…

Thank you for the past, for that summer that made me grow up and become a stronger person that I am today.

Thank you.

Arrivederci, 

Cece. 

Her spring cleaning has begun.

Cece Dominguez unfriended Dante de Bella.

3: “He”

He, Dante, the so-called, Italian heartthrob was the pompous new boy in the block. He was desirable, down-to-earth and the most admired, cool guy in class. He had a charm that was so effortless, so macho, it seemed like he was born with it. Everyone enjoyed his company, including guys who wanted to be his friend because he was so cool, funny and loyal. Every girl in class competed eagerly for his attention and to get a glimpse of his suave smile. He knew how to talk to girls. He was a proud Italian-born, risk-taker who ventured into the United States to experience how it was like to be in college with people who are in his age. At least that’s how he saw it.

The real story was, his father, Mariano de Bella, sent him to the States to pursue a medical degree. Mariano wanted his son, Dante, to follow his footsteps in becoming a doctor. He believed that Dante will one day inherit his practice and he won’t worry about another outsider ruling over the family business. He believed that Dante was capable of becoming a doctor and will one day make him proud. Mariano didn’t know that Dante was eager to come to the United States, not to fulfill his father’s wishes, but to have the freedom of finally take full control of his life. What Dante didn’t know is that the choices he’ll make in his life, from the day he boarded that plane to Washington D.C., will someday not only affect him, but those people he has yet to meet.

On a Saturday night in the last days of December, Mariano accompanied Dante in Bologna Guglielmo Marconi [International] Airport, to bid him goodbye.

Mariano: I hope that you become the man I expect you to be. My son, you’ll realize that I am pushing you to become successful because I want the best for you. You may not realize it now, but someday you will. You are my only son, the fruit of all my joy and hard work. Ti amo mio figlio.

Dante: Papà, I understand. Thank you for giving me this opportunity and for trusting me. I will not disappoint you.

Mariano: If your mamma was here with us, I’m sure she’s very proud to see you become a man who takes responsibility of his future.

Clara de Bella, Dante’s mother, disappeared in a plane crash on the way to London when he was only 7- years- old. Clara was a famous Italian violinist, who was going to perform with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the Royal Festival Hall for a Spring performance.  On the day when Clara was about to board the plane for London, Dante remembered her emerald silk scarf, that hung so beautifully on her slim, long neck. She stood out among the crowd in the airport because of her radiant smile that reflected on her scarf. Dante vividly remembered his mother lending him the silk scarf that she was wearing. She said, “I’ll lend you this scarf and I hope it’ll keep you warm and happy while I’m gone.” Little did they know, that was the last day that they ever saw each other again.

The 12- hour trip from Bologna, Italy to Washington D.C. was very uneasy to Dante. He didn’t know if he was going to have the same fate as his mother: dying from a plane crash. He couldn’t sleep because he was afraid that the plane was going to crash any moment. A slight turbulence disrupted him and almost always, brought him to the edge of his seat. In the last 4 hours of his flight, his body grew tired and he finally let his inhibitions go. He fell asleep so peacefully as if he was floating among the clouds, far far away from Mariano’s reach and far away from the comfort of his home.

When the pilot’s voice broke the slumbering silence of the passengers in the plane, the sun was slowly peaking through the wintery dark sky and shining light to the welcoming sight of the Washington Monument. The pilot announced joyfully, “Our arrival to Washington D.C. is on time. The time is now 6:00 am Eastern Standard Time. The temperature is 40 degrees fahrenheit, high 47 today. In behalf of Lufthansa Airlines, welcome to the United States of America and welcome back to those who are finally home.” Dante arose from his sleep, feeling refreshed, and ready to brave his unknown journey to a whole new world.

Here I am! I CAN SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“The past the present and the future are all side by side hand in hand.”

– Kate Havnevik, “Unlike Me”

Here I am, in this very moment, when time is just a word we try to grasp and try to visualize. Here I am where my emotions can only be felt when my memories are flashing right in front of my eyes. I am in a space where I’m looking at a panoramic view of my dreams, my failures and my comebacks. Here I am standing stiffly on a cliff, ready to take a plunge and to begin a new chapter.

I can’t believe that it’s been more than five years since I was at the bottom of the staircase, wondering when life will finally turn around for me. I remember being so lost and I had no purpose. Now, here I am, almost surrounded with stars and I can breathe a little better and at ease. I’ve come a long way.

I’m no longer lost, but I’m scared of the unknown. I’m not used to the good things that are starting to appear. I’m scared that if I take my guard down, or that I indulge to the sweet life I’ve accomplished, I’ll be lost again. Is this  a trap? Or am I finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel?

Five years ago, I had a hostess job, I got paid $12/hr, I was appreciated by my looks and not with what I did. I served rich, overindulgent snobs who thought I was one of those girls who likes to have a sugar daddy. I didn’t feel satisfied where my life was going. I wanted to become someone or to do something so fulfilling and purposeful that gives a worldly impact to those who needed my help. I wanted to become a strong person, someone to look up to, and I wanted to become the girl who was more than just a pretty face. I’ve imagined my 25- year -old self to be successful but I don’t know with what. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be that girl.

If I didn’t quit my hostess job five years ago, where would I be now?

Now, here I am, look at me, here I am! I am expected to graduate as a Registered Nurse in May. I have sacrificed so much, I’ve worked harder and I’ve come so far. I’m going to be someone and I am going to do good in this world. This is another beginning and I’m looking forward in growing and in becoming someone whom I am met to become. I am so grateful for the bad and good things. I AM SOOOOO PROUD OF MYSELF!

To God, thank you. To my family, thank you. To my husband, thank you for inspiring me to become the “someone” I’ve imagined five years ago!

To my readers who are reading this, thank you for reading bits and pieces of me while I was in the process of finding myself and in finally, growing up.

2: Don’t let him get you.

She dreamt of him last night again. This time, her dream was more vivid and longer than she ever had of him. She confronted him and poured all her stored anger on him. She felt her heart beat fast, making it difficult for her to breathe. She felt her blood burning in her veins, racing towards her cheeks and drowning her in heat. He approached her with his new girlfriend, Stella.

Her anger was rising, she couldn’t keep it anymore. She finally confronted him:

“Why did you leave? Why can’t you just leave me alone? After five years, after leaving me, look at me, I’m still crying over you. I can’t get you out of my mind. I still love you.”

He cried and said, “I know piccola. I miss you too. I want you back.”

The dream was so real, she didn’t want to leave. As soon as she told herself that she didn’t want to wake up because she knew it was only a dream, reality finally woke her up. She felt her heart racing and hoping that He was still in front of her, asking her to come back.

It was 2:30 am and she tried to doze off, but he was still in her mind. She tried to remember what her friend, Mandy, told her,

“Don’t let him get you. Every time you let him into your mind, your obsession of what he looks like or how he treated you, will forever trap you in that idealistic limbo. I know you’re hoping he’ll come back, but let’s face it honey, it’s been five years. Plus, you’re married. You’re married to Richard. You don’t want to be an obsessed b*tch.”

She looked away from the ceiling and saw Richard, sleeping peacefully next to her. She removed the sheets that separated him from her. She moved closer to him and found a spot on his warm chest. Richard unconsciously opened his arms to let her head rest on his chest. She watched him take several breaths and wondered what he could be dreaming. Cece felt a pang of guilt and tried her hardest to brush it all off by closing her eyes, but despite her effort, she hoped to dream of Him again.

1: She’s Changed

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She looked at the mirror and saw herself as a changed woman.

Through the years, her body, which used to be a size 4, now a size 6, has grown in places where she felt quite proud and yet insecure. Her breasts grew one size larger, her hips are wider, her legs are plump and she’s got a small belly. Nevertheless, she’s proud of her curves, an attribute she has been known for.

She’s definitely changed. She looks young as always, but there is something about her poise that makes her quite different from when she first met him. Ever since he left her, the air she breathes no longer moved her, her heart no longer feels the rush of blood from her veins into her body, she barely remembers why she fell for him so much. For five whole years, she strived to forget him, but the mere thought of him always finds her in her most vulnerable state. She longed to see him again, but she knew she changed. He changed. Time expanded the distance between them. Can it be true that he no longer loves her, but how does she know? She knows she can’t see him… not like this. She’s too empty . She has nothing to prove and with no aces to win his game. It will take another five years to have the courage to see him, or perhaps that’s a bad idea. After all, time changes space, it changes people and it changes even the strongest hearts.

A Response to a Letter I Wrote to Myself, Four Years Ago!

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To my dearest 24- year old self,

Nice to meet you! I’ve never met you before and I don’t know how you are like. All I can do is to assume what you are like. I am your 20-year- old version and I am currently still in college. I do hope that you and I are reading this somewhere in 2014. Somewhere… pleasant and I hope with someone that we are both currently happy with.

24: Hello 20! I am your 24- year-old self writing this to you on New Year’s Eve of 2014. I got married with someone last September 24th. You’d be surprised to who: Ricky! I know! That was totally unexpected! 

20: You will look back at this point in time when I was writing this to you: bored out of my mind, tired and exhausted from work, but thrilled of the unknown. I want to assume what you are like, instead of telling you a recap of what happened to us. I expect that your memory is still sharp, so reminiscing from the years I remember wouldn’t be necessary. I just need to know the future that is ahead of me.

Here goes my list of questions and hopefully, you will still remember this blog post (and this blog) and you will answer to my questions through a form of a letter.

24: Despite our busy schedule, I’ve managed to drop in here once in awhile to share my thoughts and to keep this blog alive. After all, this is how I found this letter and I am so glad I remembered it! 

1. How’s life treating you?

Life has been interesting and full of unexpected twists and turns. We learn to adapt from changes that we initially thought was the biggest letdown.

2. Did you decide to change your major or did you pursue Nursing? Do you like it so far?

There was a moment a few years back when we decided to leave nursing for good and concentrate on Hotel Management. That thought didn’t last long because of a sudden change of heart. I decided to get a certificate as a Nursing Assistant and after that, our passion for nursing sparked. Currently, I do like nursing and I am waiting to get my feet to work. Additionally, I am in my last semester of nursing and I hope I make it to graduation this coming May!

3. Are you on our lovely couch, in our own home reading this post? What’s our place like?

No, I am currently still living at our parent’s house. It’s not bad because I’m saving a lot of money while I’m trying to finish our degree in nursing. 

4. How’s mom and dad? How’s the rest of the family?

Mom and dad have changed so much, in a good way. Remember when they used to be strict and they imposed strict curfews? Well, they don’t really care that much, except that they would much appreciate it if I tell them my whereabouts. They have been a lot lenient. Probably because of the fact that I’ve grown up and I’ve been a lot more responsible.

Little brother has matured a lot. He had a lot of drawbacks, but he managed to go through them. He is a lot more responsible, he respects mom and dad. He can still be a little stubborn, but he has definitely grown so much. 

As for our sister Lorraine, she’s married to ate Jhei now and she can finally work! She works at the Post Office and she’s finally moved out.

5. The World Cup is on this year! Last July, I watched Spain beat Netherlands with Beppe and Alberto. Didn’t you say you were going to Brazil to watch it live?

Ahhh… the World Cup this year has brought so many nostalgias to the point that I decided to reunite the Gang again. It was a pathetic reunion, but it still worked. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to Brazil to watch the game. By the way, Germany beat Argentina (1-0). Maybe I’ll go watch the games in Russia in 2018. . . or not! hahaha ! 

6. Speaking of Beppe, are you still talking to him? Did you end up visiting him in Italy? Tell me the entire story.

I know that you must have been excited to hear this story. There’s so much to tell, but I don’t know where to begin! I think it’s been complicated in terms of maintaining my friendship with him. Even after four years have passed, I struggled to get Beppe out of my mind. It made it worse when the World Cup came around. The games reminded me a lot about Beppe. It wasn’t until recently that I started to slowly wake up from his spell. I think it started when Ricky and I got married. I knew right there and then that I had to change. So, in the hopes of letting myself go from Beppe, I deleted him in Facebook, in Instagram, I even changed my name in there so that he can’t find me. I’m happy that I’m no longer waiting for him.

I never got the chance to visit him in Italy. Now, he is working in Sydney with his Italian girlfriend, Sara, who is also a chef. Beppe came back in the US two years ago with Sara. One night, he and I were going to meet at a restaurant with his former boss and his boss’ date. At that time, I didn’t know that Sara was his girlfriend. So when I was on the way to the restaurant to see him, he texted me that he was with his girlfriend, Sara. I turned my car around and I gave him a BS excuse. Obviously, I didn’t want to interrupt a double date, so I never showed up. I know I ruined the chances of meeting or having a closure with Beppe, but I’m glad I never saw him again. I would rather have that ending back in October of ’10 when he finally walked away, gave me one last kiss and he said, “We are not going to say addio, instead let’s just say a presto.” Things didn’t end up the way we wished, but glad it happened. 

7. What are you like at 24? Did you finally have the courage to cut your hair short?

As much as I would like to brag that being in my 24th year has given me such immense beauty and that I am at the pinnacle of my prime, you, my 20-year-old-self looked so much better! I never had the courage to cut my hair short even though it was the trend this fall. I think I’m growing it out healthily and I have been religiously seeing my (mediocre) hair stylist to cut my hair to the length of one- inches with long layers, every two months. So far, my hair has been longer and healthier, but I need a haircut soon! I feel some split ends have reached the top of my head :(

8. Did you lose weight or did you gain weight?

Like I said, you, my 20-year-old-self looked so much better than me now. I have gained about 15 pounds from nursing school and I have been trying to lose weight, but those darn McDonald’s french fries are irresistible! What do they put in it anyways? Crack?

9. Is the world still spinning? We both know that we are afraid of zombies… so has the world been dominated by zombies yet?

Hahah, child, so far the world is still spinning with the lively, ruthless, greedy capitalists expanding their empires and with no existence of the undead. I actually just finished knocking on wood, in hopes that such an invasion will not happen.

10. Are you addicted to smoking? I started smoking a few days ago and I’ve grown quite addicted to it. Did we quit?

The smoking thing was just a fad! It was just a phase that you went through because you liked a guy who was also smoking. I’m glad we never got addicted to it! It’s sooo bad for you! Also, CVS no longer sells cigarettes!

11. Tell me anything that I do not know. Write me at least two pages!

I’m stuck with this question! It sounds as if I should have gained a lot of knowledge within the span of four years, but it feels like I haven’t changed much. Maybe I did change a lot, but I don’t see it. I do know that there were a lot of things that happened and I don’t regret anything at all. I’ve done a lot of growing up and I’m still in progress. There were times when I wanted to go back to 2010, when I didn’t care much, and I’ve tried to replicate that year with each passing year, but I never did. I’m am still hoping that I could be a better version of my free spirited, 20-year-old self. 

20: I’m thrilled to meet 21 soon. I can’t wait to meet you when I turn 24 :)

24: I’m about to meet 25 and my oh my, I’m already facing a premature arthritis on my thumb. I’m gettin old!!!! I don’t think I’m ready to meet 25 at all!!!

Don’t forget about this letter!   I never did. 

Love always,

Your not-so perfect-self :

Khristine.