There’s a way…

“4 am” by Kaskade was playing in the radio.

It alluded so many memories from seven years ago.

She remembers how far she’s come.

Past loves, past life, past memories were all behind her.

She’s finally reached the temple.

On top of the mountain, she looks on to the sunrise and sings,

Dreams are shining.
Finally they’re within reach.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

A Red Bra and a Pair of Daisy Dukes.

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I am a sentimental soul, who hoards letters, notes and even gift tags, given to me by several people, who has graciously left me their small mementoes to remember them. I usually have several boxes: a pink BCBG box for Ricky’s letters, a huge brown box for everyone else: exes, family, friends, relatives, etc, and a box, which I forgot what it looks like, designated to Beppe’s gifts. I never mix them all, with the exception of one letter that I accidentally stumbled upon a few nights ago.

It all started when I was looking for my former boss’ address. I wanted to send her and her husband a Christmas greeting card because I wanted to return the favor of sending them a joyous greeting, the same way they do on every holiday. As I was going through a pile of letters in the brown box, I stumbled upon Beppe’s last farewell letter to me before he went to Italy. I honestly did not want to open it, but I did. I momentarily opened it and saw that there were two CDs inserted in the envelope. I did not read the letter, instead, I returned the letter in the envelope then I tossed it back to the box and went on with my business in sending the greeting card.

It wasn’t until last night when my curiosity was heightened. I decided to look for the letter, not read it, but explore what’s inside the CDs. As I opened the CD’s contents in my computer, pictures and videos were lined up in the folder for me to see. I saw the young me, the young Ricky (which was my favorite to see; he has changed so much! A lot more handsome than before!), and the immature side of the Gang. The pictures gave me a terrible nostalgia: I hated how I acted in the videos: a mental drunkie and a drama queen. I wasn’t proud of seeing my 20-year-old self prancing around with nothing on, but a red bra and a pair of daisy dukes. I was craaaazy. Tanned, hot, but crazy. The worse part of all, was seeing Beppe and I in our most intimate moments. I cringed and I felt my stomach sick as I saw myself making out with Beppe. Ricky was suppose to be in those pictures! I used to cry about those moments of Beppe and I, then I wished that they would happen again. Now, I honestly despise all those memories. I hated how Beppe sounded, he was too hairy, he always snapped at me when I was drunk (I couldn’t blame anyone, but Ricky never screamed at me even when I was in my craziest state), but there was something about Beppe that I didn’t notice before, maybe it’s the fact that he is part of me that I thought was unforgettable, but I failed to see that our relationship was simply a summer fling, temporary and it has no future. I hated my immature side and I felt sick of seeing him. It made me miss Ricky and it made me proud of how much I have changed and how much I’ve grown.

The best part of reminiscing 2010 was how Ricky and I started from nothing more than being good friends to husband and wife! 😀

Also, it was a wake up call! It’s time to lose the 15 pounds I’ve gained in nursing school and maybe slip into that red bra and daisy dukes once in a blue moon. What’s the harm of bringing out the Wild Khristine?!!