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.

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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.

Day 18: Dream a little dream of Ricky

I am missing Ricky so much.

It doesn’t hurt to miss him, in fact, it makes me think of better and bigger things other than butterflies and fairy tale romances with him…

How do I say it without ever jinxing it? Oh… well, I’ve said it so many times. We have said it several times, actually. It wouldn’t hurt to dream. I just hope that our dreams would come true:

I want to marry Ricky someday.

I don’t care about how our wedding is going to be like-

if it’s less perfect or not.

All I want is to wake up right next to Ricky every morning- in our own bed.

I want to have his kids.

I want a boy running around our house and he’s got Ricky’s chocolate eyes-

with his curious look that always wants to know everything.

I want to have a baby girl to be our little star who brightens up our home.

I want to continue a journey with Ricky, longer than the ones I’ve taken before.

I want to go through the pain, happiness and our successes together.

I want to fill our relationship with so much laughter even if life throws us out of balance.

I want to make him happy and be there when he needed me the most.

I want our love to teach our children a lesson: I want them to believe in the joys of cherishing a relationship based on selfless love, an open communication, an unyielding patience, accepting each other wholeheartedly, and in respecting and keeping each other’s own identity.

I want to wake up one morning and see the man I’ve chosen to spend my life with:

Withered in his own skin, yet still handsome as I remember him to be.

I want to be with Ricky beyond the physical attraction,

beyond the short-lived infatuation,

beyond what life throws at us.

I love Ricky so much that it feels like it’s getting harder every day to imagine a life without him or even losing him. As we become more closer and as we grow more fonder of each other intimately, it is becoming difficult to break away. It’s not a bad thing, but I like that it doesn’t scare me, but it makes me want to fall so hard with him, because I know and I trust that he and I have something special, something different and something to look forward to.

Life may not give us what we hope for,

but it’s this moment that made me cherish-

more of what Ricky has made me feel and of what he tried so very hard to share with me:

his selfless love.

Day 17: Coffee date with an ex?

Ricky asked me a question one day:

“Is it alright to meet your ex or anyone you’ve seen over a cup of coffee to catch up?”

ME: “Of course not! Why would you agree to that in the first place?”

RICKY: “You know, just to catch up, to see how things turned out for the other person.”

ME: “Well, I don’t know.”

RICKY: “I mean wouldn’t you do that? I think you’ve done that before.”

ME: “I can’t remember that I did, but I don’t think I’m not okay with coffee because it seemed like it’s a bit too ‘intimate.’

RICKY: “How is that intimate?”

ME: “Because it’s one on one. If it’s a group, where you and her are talking with the other people then I’ll be fine with it.”

RICKY: “Won’t you trust your partner not to do anything with his ex?”

ME: “Yeah… but it’s still…not good.”

From our past conversation, I sound very apprehensive about that horrid idea of Ricky catching up to his first girlfriend, Alexa or any other girl he has formerly been attracted to. I was scared that he’d find her a lot more interesting than me.  But what if, that question was actually really meant for me? What if I did had the urge of catching up with one of the guys I’ve dated over a cup of coffee? Wouldn’t that make me a HUGE hypocrite? Yep, pretty much.

Mr. Nit-Picky, whom I’ve seen for a month in October ’10, wanted to “hang out” yesterday. Since we had a reunion a few months ago, which didn’t turn out great considering how it almost went down with a fight between Ricky and him, I figured I’ll pick a much safer place (without involving the use of alcohol) by choosing to meet at a coffee shop.

I felt a bit hesitant because initially, I’ll sound like a huge hypocrite to Ricky because I believed meeting up with an ex is unacceptable even over a cup of coffee. Secondly, I felt guilty meeting up with Mr. Nit-Picky when I clearly told Ricky that I’ll never want to see him again. I ended up eating all the words I’ve said to him. Those words didn’t taste good at all.

Before I met up with Mr. Nit-Picky, I’ve informed Ricky about my decision to catch up with him. I know that he didn’t like it, but he believes that he trust me well enough not to do anything outrageous. I had a strong feeling that I shouldn’t go- as the weather didn’t approved of it that day: strong winds and heavy rain made me feel reluctant to show up.

My routine earlier that day was a bit too much. It felt like I was getting ready for a first-date, which I felt quite guilty. All that time, I was thinking,

“Ugh… I’m too dressy, I don’t want to look like I’ve put too much effort, he might think I’m interested,

Why am I taking forever?! Why am I putting extra make up on? Wait, that’s good, because then he won’t like me as much.

Okay, I have to make sure that I have enough time to get there

Oh, I should wear this long V-neck shirt, because it makes me look chill, low key and effortless. Then again, I want to be more feminine. I’ll opt for a black slender dress.

OMG. I have got to stop this! I’ll be late for class!”

And what do you know, I was late for class. I hate being late for class because of dressing up. Why do I need to dress up for Mr. Nit-Picky anyways? I felt like I was cheating on Ricky. Then again, it’s not really cheating, it’s just that I wanted to be as fake to him as possible. I don’t want to reveal my true self. Only the special people get to see the real Khristine.

When the short hand pointed to 5 pm, I texted him and wondered if he’ll come since we originally planned to meet at 4:30. As it turned out, he had a huge assignment to do with his group. Originally, my excuse not to show up was somewhere along his lines. UGH… he beat me to it! I got stood up. Fudge. Well, I deserved it.

So, for real. I felt bad because I’ve put so much effort just to see a worthless person who probably preferred meeting at a bar than a coffee shop. Clearly, he wasn’t after my friendship but rather someone to fuck with. Why do I keep giving Mr. Nit-Picky a chance that we could still be only friends and not have anything else beyond that?  Well… obviously, I got the answer. WE CAN NEVER BE FRIENDS!!!

Now, I’ve put myself in Ricky’s shoes which was originally mine, he may not admit it, but he probably felt apprehensive and a bit jealous that I decided to see Mr. Nit-Picky. I am ashamed that I disrespected Ricky. All I wanted was to feed my curiosity of how much Mr. Nit-Picky changed. From my experience, I don’t think he has.

Despite my disappointment, I am able to appreciate Ricky’s trust with me and he’s openness to anything I do. With that being said, I respect Ricky more than anyone else I know and I love him for that.

Day 16: Just hear me out okay?!

Ricky has been utterly busy with working and classes. In the other hand, I have been… unproductive. Well, not because I’ve officially enlisted myself as a bum. No, of course nothing like that! It’s just that, I recently graduated and I’m only studying for my licensure exam. So technically, while Ricky and the other college kids are back to school, I’m the opposite: I’m on vacation. With that being said, there are quite a few conflicts between Ricky and I. Mainly, the fact that he’s busy.

 

First of all, I have to share Ricky’s side, not only mine. I understand that he is taking about 12 or more credits and he’s working part time as a lab technician in a hospital. He is very responsible and he makes sure that all his free time is devoted for studying. Occasionally, we party, but that is limited, since his schedule is hectic. He works in the weekends and he sometimes has the weekend off… I think almost once a month. So as you can see, Khristine time is limited and Khristine is becoming quite needy.

 

I hate that feeling… to need, to feel needy of someone’s attention and affection. It sounds like I’m clingy and obsessed. It’s totally a disgusting feeling, but I can’t help it. Sometimes I considered getting the attention I want from guys who I’ve been flirting with through texts. But I didn’t want to hurt Ricky. It’s just… I couldn’t do it. I can’t cheat on him because I love him that much! I had dreams of cheating on him but it ended up being nightmares of losing him and not being able to get him back. I am that scared of losing Ricky. He pisses me off so much, but he’s taken my heart. I can’t lose him because I know that it’ll be the biggest mistake I’ll ever commit.

I talk like I adore him right now, but earlier, I could have sworn I wanted him out of my life.

 

Earlier today, Ricky and I agreed to study at the campus’ Starbucks (which is opened 24/7!). We started studying around 3 and by 6, I wanted his attention. I wanted a “break.” Not a smoke break and not just a break from studying, but a break to “cuddle.” I am a woman and I do have needs. I wanted us to go back to his place and possibly continue our studying there.

 

Ricky hesitated and promised that when he finished the chapter that he’s studying, we are going to go cuddle. Apparently, time is ticking. I have to work at 9pm! By the time the clock strikes 7:30, my patience was running thin. I want Khristine time now.

 

Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out great tonight. I wanted to have a break from him. I feel like our relationship lacks spontaneity. I know he’s got responsibilities, but I just wanted a 30 min cuddle time with him and he can do whatever studying he wants after that. But in the end, I didn’t get what I wanted.

 

There were several attempts I’ve tried to spice things up: sent him e-mails which he reads immediately through his iPhone and forgets what it is about (gave up on that), tried to be spontaneous by cooking him lunch which he wasn’t able to eat because he didn’t had enough time to eat it (I gave that one to his friend), and now, I want to be spontaneous romantically and it has been unsuccessful.

 

I know he’s just busy. I’ve tried my hardest to get myself busy too by meeting up with other friends and what not, but all I ever wanted from Ricky was a 30 minute cuddle time! Can you not see?! That’s all I wanted!

 

UGH.