It’s actually a curious funny, not a ha-ha funny. We’re driving to Ponce in a sedan. 5 of us, Mom, Dad, sister, aunt and me; very smushed. By Salinas I get a text message from Facebook saying that this guy I had a class with in college sent me a friend request. I got a big smile on my face. I’d had him on FB before, but he deleted his account, I guess. Immediately after I get a text message from him saying “hey, how come I don’t have you on Facebook?”. So, here’s the backstory on this guy: we had a class together a couple of years ago and, he didn’t know it, but I had a big crush on him. Years later, he adds me on FB, we start talking and he kinda flirts with me. So, among this flirting on FB chat, he mentions that I’m sweet to care about his dislocated thumb, even though we hadn’t met. Turns out, he had completely forgotten about me, but that was a good thing. See, in college, I didn’t really put an effort into looking good. I figured I was there to learn, so I just showered and threw on the first clean thing I found. Let’s just say Bermuda length sweatpants and frizz weren’t a good look. So, one day, driving to work, I see him walking by. And then it happens again. Turns out, he worked about 2 blocks from where I worked. So, on my birthday, I go to his work with some friends to have drinks and he sees me again, after all those years, looking my best :). He told me I looked very cute, but we didn’t really talk again that night. That was actually the last time we saw each other. We kept talking and texting, but nothing ever happened. And now that I have no car or license, it seems even more unlikely. Still, it’s good to hear from him.
Along the way we keep texting. Once we get to the funeral home I see I have another text message. When I open it, it’s not from him, but from Facebook. It’s telling me I have a message from the guy who ripped my heart open. Again, some backstory is needed. If you ask me who the person is that’s hurt me the most, it’s, without a doubt, him. I’m going to make months and months of story as short as possible. We had several friends in common, so he sent me a friend request. Younger guy, very cute, but younger isn’t my type. So we start talking and this guy is direct. He likes me, he is very interested in me. We keep talking and I feel my initial hesitation starting to go away. This kid is charming, sweet, and sexy. I give him a nickname, Hot Young Thing, and refer to him as such to my friends. Thing is, this guy lives in Florida. His family lives in the island, so he came over a lot. One time, he came over. It was March. He asked me to go over to his house on my way to work. I drive over, he’s home alone. He walks out of the house shirtless and goes over to my car to tell me where to park. I open the door and he stoops down and kisses me on the lips. He knew what he wanted and how to get it. From day one, I was smitten. I had never felt like this. I finally had deep, intense, real feelings for someone, and he did too. He was only here a week that first time, and things were perfect. Our first date, the first one I’d had in years, was the happiest I had ever felt. When he left, I didn’t feel sad or lonely. I was so grateful and happy to have him in my life, that I felt full. I didn’t need his physical presence. He was mine and I was his.
Cut to 2 months later of doing the long distance thing and I’m at a friend’s birthday. Long Distance Guy has been MIA. About two weeks earlier I had sent him a gift for his birthday. I paid more for express shipping than for the gift itself. I never even knew if he got it because he never called. I see pictures that had been tagged of him from his birthday weekend. In a couple of the, he’s in a hot tub with a girl. Days later, while I’m having lunch at the hospital where my dad had just had major back surgery, I log on to Facebook from my phone and see that he has a status update and on the comments there’s one from the girl from the hot tub. The guy that comments after him says “listen to your girlfriend”. I wanted to vomit. I called him out on it and he said that I was a horrible person because if I knew what he had been going through, I wouldn’t say things to upset him. I drove to work from the hospital, sobbing. When I arrive at work, there’s a wedding reception there. A couple celebrates true love while I feel my heart literally hurting in my chest. Every time he came over to the island he would make some sappy story to me, and I always fell. My heart was always broken afterwards. He deleted me from Facebook yet still made another attempt at getting me to fall for him. It worked again. Why was I so stupid? I let the fact that this was the first time I had felt love drag me repeatedly into the mud. Last time we saw each other was over the 2009 holidays. Without knowing from him, I felt I had healed a bit. But one time I was talking about this to Gainseville Guy (a story for another day) and he asked me what he looked like. I said I could find his profile and send it to him so he’d look at it. I thought I was cool, but the moment I opened his profile I felt my heart ache again. There he was, looking like he did, and in a relationship with the girl he dumped me for. Gainseville Guy checks him out, and checks the girl out and says that he’s gonna have to be an asshole, but if he dumped me for her, it wasn’t because she was closer to him, but because he thought he had found something just as good or better, without the added distance. I try to not think about it and how stupid I was. Every time I see a poster for a new Shia LeBeouf movie, I squirm. Long Distance Guy looked so much like him, my dad used to refer to him as ‘The Transformer’. I can’t hear the song “Fever” without feeling like I’ve been stabbed.
In the movie “NINE” there’s this scene. Luisa always remembers fondly how she and her husband, movie director Guido, met. She was auditioning for a role and he goes over to her and puts her hair down. He then thanks her and when she asks why, he says for what he is looking at. She treasures that memory, the moment they fell in love. Their marriage now in shambles after his lies and infidelities, he asks her to come watch the actresses’ screen tests for his latest movie. And then a woman, strikingly beautiful, comes on screen and he does to her the same thing he had done to Luisa years ago, with the exact same line. The last bit of her heart that remained intact is now destroyed. It wakes her up. After everyone but them has left, she tearfully thanks him. When he asks why, she says “for reminding me I’m not special”. I wanted to cry in this scene. When LDG and I first started talking, he started writing to me the lyrics to “Fever”, telling me that that was how I made him feel. Months later, he has those lyrics on his status, and below it, a comment from her, remarking on how she knows the song, and a wink to their inside knowledge. At that very moment I had called my friend and said those words. “I never was special to him”. Luisa Contini knew how I felt. But Luisa Contini is fictional. I am not.
So, here I am, too scared to open a stupid message so I haven’t even logged on to Facebook. I will, I have to. I feel like vomiting again.