Getting lost in the rainforest with him was next to heaven on earth. I spent the good portion of the last day, crying. I’m a crybaby- it’s how I roll… don’t judge. I’ve seen the worst mankind has to offer in the last year and here was my forever- standing in front of me and loving me out loud.
With words…and actions.
He did little things that counted so much more than big displays…. yet he walked in front of me and doesn’t open doors. I’m so old fashioned at my core…. and those were the flags that resonated the most.
My favorite man ever used to kiss me on the cheek, then move to whichever side of me was closest to the road. He opened doors for me everywhere we went. Cars, restaurants and such. Gentlemen are my downfall… and I’d always thought the man of my dreams would be a door-opener.
But… my mantra is: Expectation is premeditated resentment. Given to me by my very best friend and something that replays any time I start feeling disappointed. Perhaps I need to learn to feel a little comfortable having a few expectations?
He spoiled me- didn’t question a thing I wanted and fed me anything I wanted. He bought me a purple toothbrush… and of all the things I left behind, I’m the saddest about that. I miss my purple toothbrush as much as I miss him. It was one of those tender gestures- along with the bag of seashells he bought for my daughter, which I balked at and he assured me we could throw them in the sand and pick them up and it was nearly the same. There aren’t shells in Puerto Rico… and I’d promised her. He found them… and they’re another thing I left behind. I still wonder if he threw them away or took them home with him.
At any rate…we got back to the hotel from the rainforest (and don’t we all wish we could type that sentence, at least once?) and had 20 minutes to get ready. I flew… got dressed and smiled at him from my teary eyes. Positively heartsick. Begging God to slow the clock and let me have a hundred more years with him…. or just one more day?
But the seconds just kept ticking by… and we left for dinner. He handed me his phone to call the restaurant to tell them we’d be late. I could hardly breathe and just kept thinking about sand and love and anything but leaving him.
Being a princess suits me just fine, thankyouverymuch… as did this enigma I’d fallen in love with so long ago. I didn’t want my fairytale to end, and I could feel it slipping away like sand in an hourglass. He parked the car and we walked down the same stairs of the parking garage that we’d fought on the night before. Shudder…
He never told me I looked beautiful. The valet smiled at me every day and said it. The bartender said it. Frankly? I know it. I played fashion show before I left, I only took the shit that made me look smoking hot. Come on now, I’m not an amateur. It was almost like a game? He pointed out other women. He commented on other women. He didn’t compliment me.
We walked out of the garage and the cobblestones are kicking my ass. I’m searching for the tiny sidewalk that lines the street and he’s giggling at me.
J- I love these shoes, laugh all you want.
T- I love the girl wearing them.
Sigh… tears… sigh…. tears… ugh.
We walked in to the restaurant and they sat us. Our waiter was adorable and he explained the local special, something I can’t remember but wish I could. Mofungo? Something like that. It was delicious. Shrimp… red sauce of some sort? Some sort of bowl made of plantain. Yum, yum, yum. I couldn’t decide between that and the shrimp salad I really was craving.
Confession? I turned into a lame teenager around him. I wasn’t ever comfortable eating in front of him… ever. I asked him to help me and he refused. I ordered the special- because when in Rome and all that. The waiter smiled and told me he was sure I’d like it. He ordered himself a drink….
I was so sad in that moment… I can’t really describe it. Just desperate for peace and looking at the paintings that lined the ceiling to stop the tears from falling. Missing my sisters. Missing my mom. Missing my babies. Sick to my stomach and so upset I didn’t know how to pull my shit together for a moment.
This was it. Our last night. The grand goodbye…
They brought our food and it was amazing. Absolutely delicious and worth every penny. He kept telling me to take pictures because I was going to get home and be sad that I didn’t have any of just him alone. Huh.
You’d think he’d get his phone out and do the same if that were the case, right?
He’d taken my picture once, the night before… because he said I looked like the saddest little angel, and with my favorite pregnant kitty. Two pictures.
Things were nagging in the back of my mind but I was fighting back tears and trying to maintain my composure. We finished eating and left. He had an agenda for our last night together.
Caipirinhas at the Parrot Club…
Pina Coladas at the bar they were created…
Watermelon mojitos at the place famous for them…
While hassling me to ask for the la quenta. Ugh. I could see the potential for trouble before the clouds started to roll in. I just refused to see it. I took a million deep breaths and told him how much I loved him a million times. Not willing to waste a second as they ticked by too quickly.
Devastated. Stupid in love… literally.
Sitting next to him, watching the bartender muddle sugar cane and ice… looking back to see our reflection in the mirror and marveling at the irony of the two of us. My split-apart… this soul mate man of mine… who was slowly turning into someone I would spend every second missing… feeling tears burn a path down my cheeks when I looked at the clock.
His flight left at 6 the next morning, and mine at 9… facing the three hours in the airport I’d be crying in the corner, cursing the knowledge of a love like this. Missing him so desperately I needed to excuse myself to the bathroom. I walked quickly to a little door with a little lady in a dress on it and barely made it in time to be sick. I brushed my teeth, washed my hands and splashed some cold water on my face. Determined not to ruin my last night by grieving its passing. Deep breath. Deep breath… and rejoin him at the bar.
Delicious drinks… interspersed with kisses and promises of the sleepless night ahead.
T- We’ll go back and get everything packed… then I want to do nothing but unwrap you until we have to leave for the airport.
Thank you baby Jesus. Or Mary… or God… or whoever aligned my path with this devil/angel. We’d walked by a homeless guy the day before and he told me in Spanish that I was walking with the devil. We giggled about it then… now it’s not so funny.
He led me down Paseo de la Princesa… to the edge of the island. An old fishing pier where I made sure to not destroy my heels… and he kissed me in the moonlight… and told me he’d love me forever. He pointed at the San Juan Gate that we’d just walked through and told me the words inscribed on it said “Life is waiting for you”… but I know a little bit of Latin and knew he was incorrect. It actually said “Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord”. For the first time I felt like I was on some staged walk through the last night of the weekend with him. I’d bet my life he’s done the exact same thing with someone else because he told me at the beginning of the night that I’d love him so much by the end of the night after seeing all the amazing things he had to show me- and I’m too damn smart to be on a recycled date and not know it.
I cried. A lot… and looked out over the moon-kissed waves of the ocean so far from home. Praying for more time… and reaching in my pocket for the gift I’d come to set free.
That Dirty Boat Stealing Asshole gave me one thing that mattered to him. His mother’s pearls. Seven years of my life for a necklace I couldn’t wear without being filled with regret. He took so much from me and I still felt compelled to return them. So I did. I pulled them out of my pocket, choking on the sobs ripping through me, kissed them, and gave them back to the ocean. I sent them back from whence they came. It wasn’t vengeful, it was a gift to us both. I turned around and there was my heart, walking back towards the arch. I followed, doing my best to stop the flood.
He wanted to dance with me <smart man> but it was Superbowl Sunday and the place we went was having a football party, no dancing to be had.
T- You blew it last night, I wanted to take you dancing.
We stopped at Burger King for burgers, and headed back to our hotel. He kissed me when I told him I was taking the food up to our room. He told me he was going for his double…. and I agreed to come down and meet him. I allowed myself to really cry about it in the elevator alone. The door opened on the fourth floor and the man who walked in was instantly comforting.
M- You ok?
J- Yeah, just really sad. I leave my boyfriend tomorrow to go back home.
M- You look beautiful, where is he?
J- At the bar.
I held the burgers up and he grinned.
I dropped the burgers off, cleaned up my make-up, put some perfume on and fresh lip gloss… and headed back downstairs to face what would end up being the very worst night of my life.
The valet stopped me before I got to the bar.
V- Are you ok? You were so upset last night. Your husband, he is angry?
J- Thank you, I’m fine.
V- Here is my number if you need anything. You are so nice. Please call me if you need help.
J- Thank you.
Oh the nightmare that awaited me… and oh how the number in my pocket would become my lifeline…