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.

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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[Image taken]

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 Red Bra and a Pair of Daisy Dukes.

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[Image taken]

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! :D

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?!!

Limerence

It’s been four years since we called it quits. It’s been four years since I saw you and my mind still lingers to what could have been…

But I’m getting married on Wednesday and I can’t keep dwelling on you anymore. I am in love with the idea of being with you, but to devote my entire lifetime in hopes of loving you is delusional.

I’ve had enough of you Giuseppe Iemma. I’ve held onto you longer than I’ve wanted to. So today, this moment at 10:21pm, I’m deleting you forever. Hopefully, this will give me the closure and peace that I deserve. This will give us a chance to finally go through our paths separately, forever. I am scattering our dreams into the infinite abyss of “what could have been’s” and locking it there with no hope of ever pulling it out again. It was nice, but it was never meant to be.

I’m erasing you from my memory not because I want to, but because I choose to.

It’s been nice… to recount all our beautiful memories spent together, but with every beginning, there is an ending.

Thank you for the memories.

I loved you once and I still love you. It hurts to say that and I feel guilty, but I’d rather let it all out now then let it all linger.