I wish they taught us how to handle emotions in schools
Is it possible to ignore the signs? Is there still hope, faith?
I bumped into Rebecca the other day as I was walking down in the narrow streets of Brooklyn-where we all grew up. We decided to take a coffee break from our currently busy lives. Our focus, suddenly fell into the deep place of comparisons of that day versus the golden old days. The neighborhood was different, so as our lives, people we knew, dreams we had.
Rebecca looked as pretty as she was in high school. But, that was only the facts to me apparently as she had pointed out. If you had asked her, she should not have stopped working out after having three kids. She would also add that her three sons were like her personal trainers due to the high energy and pressure they put on her. Rebecca would tell you not to have three sons as if that is a choice you could make. She would finish her thoughts about her kids, kids in general, some advice for future mothers then never has she ever thought about saying anything about the other person in the conversation. It has been always about her for all the times we have known each other because she was funny, delicate and knowledgeable in every single area you could ever think of in life. However, after all that talk she would never quit smoking her cigarettes, in which she would come to a conclusion of not knowing her own boyfriend/ husband.
Yes, he cheated on her but she knew that it was one of his personality traits. To Becca, it showed how much Ben loved her because after all the women, he went back to her. As she was telling me their understanding in cheating, I just found myself zoomed out in the bodies and minds of those “other women”. How devastating would that feel like to lose your man to someone like Rebecca over and over again… Becca stood right in front of my eyes mumbling more words on this subject as I prayed to all the other women in Ben’s history. Poor ladies must have thought he was going to get a divorce..at some point.. yea, right! Was it really okay that he was doing that to Rebecca? To the others? To his kids? To himself?
Becca and I both took a sip from our drinks and looked around a little bit. She has never been the person to ask how someone else was doing but keep talking about her life. I had to put a stop to it, so the words came out of my mind with no control over; ” Are you happy?” I asked this question because there was a time when I was in love with my ex boyfriends like crazy until someone random asked me this question; I fell out of love due to lack of happiness from their dirty deets on me. That was the moment that I realized how unhappy I was to prove myself to all those boys back in the days time after time, which had got me as torn as worn out shoes. Therefore, I wanted to be that illuminating light in Rebecca’s life for her to realize some things. All she said in return, however was that she was still madly, more passionately than ever in love with Ben and the happiest mother and wife. I turned off the illuminating light to get rid of my own shadows meanwhile she was glowing.
Afterwards, we exchanged words on the stock market, businesses around the neighborhood we both grew up in, different sex positions and lastly, the people we still kept in touch with. It was so much fun to talk to someone who knew me and not know me at all at the same time. Everyone knew Rebecca. She kept in touch with most of the girls from high school. She stayed honest to her promises about her life; married to Ben, had boys, stayed in Brooklyn. I pictured her life in a quick glance, took a deep breath. I felt overjoyed and peaceful. There were still those people who had hope in themselves. It made me anticipate a better future for the rest of us, singles and the ones involved in the big wide dating world, like myself.
As I was paying for our check at the cashier at a store later on, I took a last glance at Rebecca. She was on the phone. Out of joy, I tipped the barista, then walked straight back to our table. My high school friend, Rebecca was right there breathing the same air as I did. As I got closer I heard Rebecca saying, ” I love you, gotta go.” to the person on the other side of the phone. She then hung up the phone, turned to me and said, ” It was Brandon from high school.” I remembered Brandon…
Brandon was a tall guy back in high school. He had no interest in any subjects taught in school, except for those art classes. He was everyone’s desirable future artsy and intelligent but also an asshole husband who ended up dating my friend, that is to get close to me to get to know me. When I heard this with my own ears from my friend’s own lips, first I froze, then I ran to his art class to find him. Yes, I skipped my own class but it was only to protect my friend against heartless man like Brandon, hence carried on with this big fireball stuck in my chest. I walked, passed some teachers and classes full of students to finally have arrived in Brandon’s art class. The moment he saw me, he came out towards me. Closing the door behind himself, he wanted to talk to me in private. Without any idea on the current situation, I stood there when Brandon took my hand and asked me if I wanted to talk in private. Shocked as I was he must have seen, he took me by the hand and pulled my entire body to the direction of his body. “Run!”, he said quietly. Holding my hand, we ran together to the dining hall. There was a set of staircases at our dining hall where he took me to hide from cameras and such teacher disruptions. I started by saying what he had done was wrong because he was dating my friend. Brandon went ahead ti explain himself in a way that just had to be out of this world. I could not help but calmed down by looking at his moving lips, breathed softly as be made hand gestures to emphasize his feelings, and felt sorry for him because he was talking nonsense in an unreal tone of voice. I cut him off by saying,” Enough! You don’t even know me. You don’t like me. You love Becca!” Looking very frustrated with the situation at hand, he said that Becca was not good for him.” As we were ready and able to get into a more difficult subject, one of our security guards got both of us. We were to now solve our problem in detention! Well, that detention gave us all the time to solve nothing. He saw I was not interested in him. I saw he was still in love with Becca. We spent all that time quietly. I read a book while he looked through the window of that classroom. This is how we met.
However, Brandon later on would find that Becca was cheating on him with Ben, to whom she is now married to. I never talked to Brandon after both of us choosing different state colleges to pursue our careers, but of course Becca is still keeping up with him. I bet they even see each other on regular basis because I would not be surprised! “Hey! Remember Brandon?”, Becca asks again. “Yes. You used to date him but you went to prom without him.”, I replied back. “Yea, well I loved Ben. Plus, Brandon was crazy in love with you. Wanna know what he is up to?”, she asks. “No, not really.”, I say to Rebecca. “So, he is still single. He ended up being a lawyer. Can you believe? Like, with his talents in art, I would think he would choose a career related to arts, but this boy always surprises me.”, Becca answers me back. “Becca, did I ask for any of this? I said no, I don’t want to know anything about him.”, I reply back once again. “Okay, well he is on his way here right now I thought you might know some things beforehand, you know?”, says Rebecca like it is no deal at all. Before even she finishes her last sentence, I pack my stuff to leave. I give her a hug, tell her it was nice seeing her, and tell her to follow me on my Instagram. I really never wanted to see Brandon ever again. I mean even though Becca argues it was not the right time back then, but now it is, I refuse to see Brandon. I agree he was the guy who would skip classes with me; he was the guy who I shared my lunch money with over art materials, and yes he was the same guy who kissed me for the first time. Even further, he was the first guy to make plans with me about our future art galleries, and future kids but he was definitely not the one to see ages later! Plus, a lot has changed with me. I did not even hang out with anyone from high school. I mean what the hell was there to talk about?! I just had to leave before he arrived, hence flight mode was on. I walked, walked faster then to almost run from where Becca was. I passed my old high school, new kids in that school, old buildings. Seeing my history left me breathless so I stopped to catch my breath. I leaned against this grocery store’s dirty and blurry window to rest- that is until someone from inside the grocery store to knock on the window. I caught my breath, looked at the other side of the window to apologize… for leaning on their private window. Instead, I saw Brandon smiling from the other side of that window! “Hey! I thought you were with Becca!”, he almost yelled, then made his way outside of the store to walk to me. “I.. uhm.. Brandon! It is good to see you. I kind of had to go, uhm for a meeting, but I will sure see you later, some time maybe later?” was all that I could say to Brandon. “You are still the same girl, aren’t you? If you are not going to hang out with us, I’ll tell Becca to meet up with me some other time then. You need a ride? I parked my car right over there.”, says Brandon. At that moment, all I could think of was how he grabbed me by the arm to tell me he did not like Becca but me when we were in high school. I was so stupid for not giving him a chance. This thing is happening again. I hope he does not drag me to his car this time. “So?”, he asks again. “Thank you, but no thank you.”, I say then to try to walk away. My breathing gets only faster, only more out of alignment with my pulse as I try to walk away. He grabs my arm, again to ask me if he could have my phone number. I say, “Yes.”, put my phone number to his Iphone. “Thanks! I’ll ring you again tomorrow to see if we can meet up… if that is okay with you of course. I mean or maybe.. you know what let me just text you right now so you can.. uhm.. have my phone number.”, he rushes to end his sentence. “Brandon”, I call his beautiful name. “Yes?”, says Brandon. “You did not ask me if I was married.”, I tell him. He points at my finger to say I did not have a ring. “Well, what if I am seeing someone, then?”, I tell him. He says, “We are just friends, right? I mean we were never anything more than friends before, and we are friends…wait… you think I still like you? Oh. Wow. No… I was just happy to hear that you came to the neighborhood. I gotta tell you. I am actually married.”, he says then directs his eyes on his fingers. He continues, “I don’t like to wear my ring every day. It is too small for my chunky fingers. Plus, I paint after work. Remember that place we used to go paint? The basement of my uncle Ronald? I still go there to paint. Not every day but some days more than the others. Oh well, sorry if I gave you the wrong impression earlier. I was getting some water from this store and saw you here, so I guess I just wanted to say hi.”, Brandon tries to complete his sentences. “It is okay Brandon. I understand. Can I go now, please?”, I say to end the endless torture of trying to make sense of all the meaningless sentences. “Sure. Give me a hug.”, he finally says after looking straight into my soul for some time. We give each other a very casual hug, and apart to go on our ways, again.
Walking back home had never been as hard as leaving Brandon behind me back there at the grocery store, standing, watching me walk away from him. What could I do? Even he got married. For a second, I wondered who he got married to but then my thoughts suddenly and intensely slid on to the thought of being alone. Rebecca had three kids to take care of now. Brandon had his wife waiting at home to take care of him. I did not even care to change my car’s tires. No one took any care of me if I was not there. No one would open my apartment door for me when I get back home after work. Would I always attend those picnics alone, I wondered. Would I find love at the end of the dirty, dusty highway if love existed in any imaginable way? I probably can’t. Brandon will always have someone in his life. My dating rates will probably always stay high because I am simply a woman. If I were a man… If I were Brandon, what would I have done to make myself fall in love with me? After pondering on the meaning of life for awhile, I finally got home. There at the door stood my brother yelling my name, waiting for me to run to give him a hug. I ran to him. I ran to my brother who was now standing at the door, holding it open for me to get in. I gave him such a long hug, he must have been startled. “Are you okay?”, he asked looking at each tear running from my eyes to my cheekbones. I just hugged him, wore my heart on my sleeves, felt encouraged to cry to move on. I wish they taught us how to deal with these sensitive subjects related to our lives back in school. Perhaps only then, I could handle all this better.
Thank you for reading.
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