5: Shooting Stars

As Cece looked out into the distance, she saw the sun-kissed sunset peaking through the wet, leafy trees that were outside her window. She was staring at the sight with awe and whispered to herself, “I made it… I made it through nursing school and I’m going to be a Registered Nurse soon.” She instantly looked at her computer screen and saw her final grade: 90%. Cece is going to be a RN, finally after five years of waiting.

When Cece decided to stare at the dreamy sky of oranges and yellows, she whispered to herself, “I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel… who knew I made it in five years.” Then, as she momentarily loses her thoughts between the orange sky, that was slowly turning into shades of red and pink, she remembered one unforgettable night with Dante when they were looking at tall luxurious condominium buildings, hoping one lit room was theirs.

Dante: “When do you think will you finish nursing school and finally afford one of those condominiums?”

Cece: “Oh, I’m not sure. Maybe two or four years from now?” 

Dante: “You know, I’m not yet ready to settle down. I have yet to see the world. Maybe go to Australia, maybe California.”

Dante was staring up in the dark sky with a serious look, so deep as if he was onto a mission and not anyone, not even Cece can stop it. He looked at her, but he looked away, perhaps afraid that he has hurt her feelings. 

Cece: “Oh, I know! I’m not ready to settle down too. I’m only 20 anyways. Plus, it’ll take me years to afford a place as fancy as those!” She smiled and thought she was already scaring him away with huge long-term commitment plans. 

Dante: “Maybe when you finally get a place there, I can stay with you and I won’t have any problem where to sleep when I come visit.” 

Cece: “You can also come to my graduation four years from now! Promise me you’ll come!” Her eyes lit up at the very thought that he will show up and take her to Italy with him.

Dante: “Well… that’s a hard one. It all depends as to where I find work by then. I will try, but I cannot promise Cecilia.

Cece always found it fascinating that he was the only one who pronounced her full name with such a bold, authentic Latin accent. The rest of her American friends pronounced it as Ceh-Ceh–lyah. Her Filipino family pronounced it as if it’s some cat that was kicked out of the roof and poof. With Dante, he pronounced every syllable with a profound, strong, and dominating voice.

When Cece finally realized that she was surround with darkness, the sky turned into shades of blues and purple and the sun is far below the horizon. As she began to draw her curtains down, she saw a distinct, shooting star across the sky. She mumbled to herself, “It’s too early for a shooting star, it must be a plane.” Then when she remembered hearing something in the news today:

Cinco de Mayo will be welcoming some debris left by the tail of Halley’s Comet and we will see some meteor showers starting at 8pm until the early morning of May 6th.

Cece pulled back her curtains and sat in the dark, with only the light from the sky illuminating her face. She sat there, wishing very hard that another shooting star will come out tonight. Within the silence of the room and the lingering light of the sunset, she was starting to realize certain things. Four years was long and arduous to wait for. Four years was a test to see if people were willing to stick around in her life. Alas, she’s starting to wonder, maybe Dante was a precursor to everything and that was his only purpose: the green light that was so unreachable but motivated her to keep going in her life.

This year, she’s going to finally shine. This was Cece’s purpose and Dante was only the spark that ignited everything.

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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.