Girl Talk

It was quiet, her parents had already gone to bed. I’m not sure if it was the lamp light or the burning tears that blinded me. She laid next to me, listening to my shaking sobs. Both of us wrapped in blankets squeezed onto a full size bed in her childhood room.

I didn’t wipe my tears. I just let the blanket absorb my saltwater. She spoke softly. But I only cried harder.

“I don’t know what to do. I’m not happy. I’m so insecure. I feel like crap. I shouldn’t feel like this.”

She was trying to be a good friend. She IS a good friend.

She tried to understand.

I tried not to throw up.

“But you don’t. You’re getting married next month. He loves you.”

Being single for five years, I’ve only come across guys who have hurt me. Never have I had a serious relationship or been in love. I’ve cared deeply for a few and have fought like hell to make it work but there’s only so much pain I can take before I toughen up and walk away. The one guy that was a good guy and my best friend, someone I loved- he passed away a few years ago. I have to live with that everyday and just feel alone without him. I’ve been used and abused, I’ve made sacrifices for others who were unwilling to even say a kind word to me. When you’ve been as hurt as I have been and continue to do so, you build walls up, you lose faith, you will do everything and anything to make sure you never hurt like that again. You question their motives and the words they speak become lies. Priorities changes. You change.

You may fall apart but you know you will be ok. Because you’re always ok. And your heart hardens.

I’m ok. I’m always ok. I pick myself up. But I cry because sometimes I don’t want to be strong. Deep down, in my heart, against my own lies that I say to make people believe that I am happy, I just want a man who will take care of me when I can’t take care of myself. I want to fall in love. I want to trust and believe him when he says he cares about me. I don’t want to be repeatedly hurt. I hope that one day, a man can come into my life and love me in all ways I deserve to be loved.

We talk a bit more. She trying to soothe me in my pain. But I can’t talk anymore.

She turned the light off, and I fell asleep sobbing quietly as she softly breathed.

She’s driving back now. She’s a good friend. It’s a lonely life I live even if she tries to understand. But she tries. And she’s here for me every time I say her name.

Tears wells up behind the makeup and my favorite pair of Chanel sunglasses.

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Story Time: An Arrangement

Folder tucked under my arm, I waded through the dense crowd of people. This is why I actually choose to eat lunch at my desk, rarely venturing outside during lunchtime rush hours, instead of choosing to elbow my way through the concrete jungle. But this time, I had no choice. I had to make a delivery on behalf of my boss to another firm that was urgently awaiting these documents.

Fighting my way through the throngs of people as I powerwalked around the corner, I collided into a group of old men that had just come out of their office.

OW!

Thankfully, I didn’t break any hips and no Life Alert alarms were activated.

Then I realized looking up that they had just come out of the mysterious building I had been eyeing for months since I had taken a job at my office. Every day after work, I ran along the Riverwalk and noticed the yellow brick and the vinery. Once, the door that could open directly on the Riverwalk, was left ajar when two young teenagers came pushing through. They left it wide open and I was able to take a peek. Inside, it had couches to watch the big screen, a pool table, booze and a bar. From street level, it was very well secured; gated and locked with a door buzzer. There was a bike chained to the gate and from the window view I saw a few cubicles and a loft above with a desk. I had never seen anyone in it nor did I know what the building was for. I had just figured someone had turned it into an office space upstairs but lived there as well.

“Do you gentlemen work in this building?”

“Oh no, we’re just visiting a friend.”

Shortly thereafter, an even older and more frail looking man came out.

“I always pass by here and wanted to know what this office is. Can you tell me?”

The friend chuckled and handed me his business card.

“I’m Bob, you have a lot of spunk. Email me and we can do an office tour. I can’t actually talk right now but I’m more than happy to answer any questions you have.”

I shoved the card in my pocket as I pushed on further.

_ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __

Later in the week, remembering that I needed to take my gym bag home I grabbed it from my drawer. The plastic card fluttered onto my lap.

Oh yeah! I had forgotten about the old men and their mysterious office.

“Hello,
You probably don’t remember me but I’m the girl that ran into your friends and was asking about your building. You offered to give me an office tour and I wanted to take you up on your offer. Thanks!”

Email sent.

“Of course, I would be more than happy to. I am available Tuesday, at 12pm. Thank you.”

A few coworkers ended up finding out about my office tour and were also very curious about the mysterious yellow building and its elderly inhabitors as well. I had googled both Bob and his company to come to find out he was a VERY successful and old business man worth a couple of pretty pennies. Jokes ensued that it wasn’t an office tour but an “office tourrrrr.”

I was just ready to pepper him with questions and excited to see what was inside.

Tuesday came, as did many unexpected clients for an unexpected conference. At the last minute, I had to arrange breakfast and lunch for the guests. Once they were all settled in and fed, I took off thirty minutes late.

This time the building was not gated but the door was locked. Thankfully, Bob was right by the door as I rang the bell. It reminded me of a scene from a commercial where the puppy is sadly waiting for its owner to get home. I apologized for being so late and explained about being caught up in a meeting. He brushed it off losing his puppy dog face and got right to showing me around.

Bob explained that he and his team work in the biomedical research field. They take on projects and lab research to find a more creative solution to their client’s needs.

I was foaming at the mouth.

Working in the biomedical research field had been a career goal of mine since my younger days. In high school, I was part of a program that helped propel my interest. I became involved with city projects, made resourceful contacts which also helped into my acceptance into a university with a prominent biomedical science department. Unfortunately, I had to rescind their offer due to personal reasons and move forward with a more practical choice in both an educational institution and career. It’s a memory when looked upon that I wish I could’ve done but understand circumstances at the time prevented it so. I have no regrets in my educational and career opportunities that I have had now. It’s just one of those what if moments in my life.

He showed me the empty cubicles and explained when further expansion was done in both employing and building they would be used for administrative personnel. Behind the cubicles was an open office with a metal spiral staircase leading both up and downwards. I chose upwards where I came upon the loft that was held by chains. This was Bob’s office. He had a couch and a desk littered with trash or what he says was work. The loft opened onto a very small balcony that housed two chairs and table with Christmas lights decorating the rails.

We then took the stairs down to the basement which was what I had peeked into all those months ago. I asked about the kids I had seen and he explained that those were his grandchildren. His children live out of state and when visiting they were housed in the office as some of the space was converted into personal dwellings. The reasoning was that the handful of employees worked remotely and/or part of university research teams but every so often came together to discuss their findings so it was easier to have working and sleeping quarters together. Thus, the downtown office in which he worked from. It also was a few blocks from his penthouse apartment.

The office tour was a success and Bob was showing to be a promising future reference/contact into a future career move for myself.

He mentioned lunch reservations and although, we had missed the set time he had arranged they always had a table for him as he ate there every single Tuesday. I hesitantly agreed. True to his word, we were greeted by the host and his server at the door. Already, they had set up a table with an appetizer and menus. As we walked to the table, restaurant patrons watched. I understood their silent stares were judging me. I wasn’t naïve to their thoughts but I almost wanted to laugh because they were completely wrong.

The table was in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by businessmen taking glances, whispers and maybe even a photo?!

It was going to be a very uncomfortable lunch.

Bob asked me about my schooling, job, goals and my interest in pursuing a career in the biomedical research field. He mentioned more valuable contacts he could send my way and possible opportunities. I was feeling better thinking that I had hit the gold mine.

He recounted how he had mentored a younger girl similar to me. Once she graduated with her Bachelor’s she expressed to him interest in Harvard’s graduate school. He had made a few calls and she was in. He was looking to mentor again.

It was THEN I understood.

He asked if I had my own apartment, as he was married. His wife had fallen ill and work kept him both stressed and busy. He wanted a “friend.” Someone to merely occupy his free time.

I CLEARY understood.

He was offering an arrangement. I was beautiful. Spunky, smart and a real go getter. He liked that. I was gonna go places. He wanted to “help” me. He knew the struggles of being a young twenty something and only wanted to give back to someone.

I embarrassingly declined. Face red as fellow eavesdroppers listened quietly.

Lunch was over.

Departing the restaurant, drenched in rain as I didn’t bring an umbrella I trudged onwards to my office as what felt like a “Walk of Shame.”

Roots

Dear Future Husband,

Today has been a little slower than usual and I’m sitting at my desk with my iPhone quietly playing Rita Ora on Pandora while I eat my assortment of organic foods. My office is nestled comfortably in a new high rise of the Business District of downtown. The city is bustling below me and the sun is shining through the lobby windows.

Silently, I’m thankful for my life right now. I’m employed at a respectable firm, a great man, friends, health and my family. My sister is healthy as well as her new baby, she has a good job, degree and her boyfriend is doing well to provide for them with new cars and an even newer house. My brother is finishing his last year of college, has a flexible job and volunteer activities to keep him busy. My mom is becoming used to her own “cushy” career, house, a man who takes care of her, and all three children are becoming successful.

We are happy and doing well. We may have gone through our struggles in life but we have moved passed that. The life I live now is a far cry from where I was and at one time was only an imagination of where I might be later in life.

Every time I buy groceries, I am aware that I’m able to afford the “natural,” “organic,” and “non-gmo,” products that can be exorbitantly overpriced. When I hit the checkout button online, I understand that one bag of mine is equivalent to a week’s worth of food to a family, a year’s worth of clothes for a child or can even pay bills for a household. The vacations that I take almost monthly now, I know that some people may never do in a lifetime.

When driving down the street, I see that my nicer neighborhood is only minutes from the ghetto where I lived. Where driveby’s, flashing lights, drug houses and the “soldiers” who guarded them are the norm. Where children didn’t have food and we would go to food drives just to feed other poor families and donate our used clothing to neighbors. Where seeing a five year old on the bus line to get to school didn’t worry me. You did what you had to do to survive. You either pulled yourself out from the cracks or fell through.

I understand that I am living a “blessed” life. And for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for my boss for taking a chance on a fresh faced 23 year old college student who walked into his office handing him her resume and giving me the chance to prove myself in the corporate world where I have been treated respectfully, compensated handsomely and been given opportunities that many can only hope to achieve. I am thankful for my younger sister and brother; we disagreed more than we probably liked each other growing up and I love them. Giving them the world was all I ever wanted for them, even if I annoyed them as a second mom. I am thankful for being reunited with an old friend who is slowly becoming something more. He from the beginning was a good person to me and is teaching me what a relationship should be and how I deserve to be treated. I’m thankful for my lovely coworker –now turned friend- because every brunette needs her blonde partner in crime. She’s a doll even when I’m not. I’m thankful for all the challenges, losses and the hardships I’ve endured since my childhood. I’m thankful for my faith.

But most importantly, I’m thankful for my mother. She’s the real MVP. Through the adversity, she remained my constant. She’ll apologize about everything now. But for what? She was and has remained the best mom possible, raising us the best she could in the circumstances we lived. She provided housing, clothes, food and toys. She worked odd jobs and odd hours earning minimum wage as a single mother providing for three young children-whom also were two years apart not making her life any easier- while finishing her Bachelor’s Degree. She is the silent hero without a cape coming to the rescue with a single cry of “MOM!” She’s made sacrifices in her life to make sure we didn’t have to go without. Because of her guidance, I didn’t fall into drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy, a high school dropout or any other stereotypical labels people expected from us. Instead, she motivated and expected us to be better. She has held us to higher standards from the beginning being our confidence, voice of reason and assurance. Her tough but unconditional love molded us into the successful, compassionate adults we are now. I am thankful for her homemade food at the dinner table every night at 6pm or sometimes even 9pm. I am thankful for the countless loads of laundry she has done. Or when she would show up to my marching band practices with food and water yelling to come eat even when I’m in the middle of practice! Showing up to every first Parent’s Day to pick up my report card and expect A’s or I was grounded otherwise, instilling the very same work ethic she has into me and I’m just thankful for everything that she has continued to do each and every day.

I’ve spent most of the day reading the news of ISIS, a three year old refuge who drowned, drone blasts, all the while safely inside my nice building hiding from the issues of homelessness and poverty that sit outside in my very own city. I still continue to face challenges but nothing close to what I used to struggle with. I am reminded life is a lot better for me each and every time I am able to do even daily activities. I live a privileged life now but I don’t ever want to forget where I came from and how I came through it.

I am thankful.

Love,

Your Future Wife

Dean Sevine: Wednesday ♥

It wasn’t pink. More of a salmon colored dress shirt. Still, I didn’t think he would really take my Mean Girl’s slogan seriously. It was just sarcasm. But I should have known better.

It was Wednesday, but I wasn’t wearing pink. Instead, I had opted for black and purple floral. People bustled on by almost skimming me, it was lunchtime and crowded. The food trucks were sitting curbside of our building and everyone wanted to hurry up to stuff their faces with tacos and burgers.

His back to me against the cowhide couch, I tried catching a glimpse of him but I couldn’t. It felt like the first day of school, I swear my heart was skipping beats instead of soft butterflies.

“Dean.”

It was then he turned and stood. We said our hi’s as we made our way through the construction zone to the buffet of fast food. We decided on our healthiest option of corn tortilla tacos wrapped around chicken and beef. Food in hand, I led him to the back alleyway as he joked I was going to murder him. Instead, I surprised him with seating that overlooked the river with tall trees draping over us.

We spent the better half of our lunch talking, catching up and joking. (Well, really I did.) He was a bit shy but showered me in saying how beautiful I was. I returned the favor in saying how handsome he was.

Yes, we were being that annoying couple.

“You’re cute.”

“No, you’re cuter.”

It continued on.

He couldn’t stop smiling, his jaw hurt too much from all the laughing he did from my jokes. And I was just so happy to finally see him.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Since our first set of exchanged messages and “Meet & Greet” lunch, we’ve been inseparable. A romantic dinner on the Riverwalk with a side of ice cream for dessert, accompanied by a full moon that sat above us in a picturesque view as we laughed and talked on a bench in a park at midnight in the middle of downtown. (Sounds likes a movie scene.) He’s been a good sport about sitting in on a double date with my friends and dealing with my attitude from a sprained ankle when he took me ice skating.

I miss him when I’m away from him and hold onto him when I’m with him. He laughs every time I use the “but you don’t even remember me” card to get my way. He’s patient and kind. Funny and soothing. He doesn’t argue back even when I try to start fights, instead he tells me pretty things. He’s the opposite of me in so many ways and there’s so much more I don’t know yet but it feels like we fit so perfectly in spite of this.

He’s genuine. He’s real. And I hope he stay’s mine.

Even if he doesn’t remember me…