Bluntly Upon My Sleeves

You are completely mistaken.

It wasn’t because you were doing well and then all of the sudden you weren’t. White Lies. You were never doing well. It just took me a while to figure out that you were badly put together. Taped in lies, out seeped the truth.

The best revenge is that which is written down on paper.

And while neither of us are perfect, never did I try to sweep dirt under the rug. Confronting and communicating is all that I ever tried to do. Giving up is what that led to, for I always found myself speaking alone. All the time alone.

You say that behind curtains I hide but that too is simply not the truth.

Who I wear bluntly upon my sleeves is the heart of who I am. That does not mean that I am not nicked, dented, or imperfect and as time wears on, those who stand beside me find out my deepest stories, understanding each flaw.

Because I was not perfect, as perfect as your eyes betrayed you to see, you retreated in your hermit shell, instead of trying to understand me. Once again running… You ran from who we are as individuals, you ran from who we could have been as a team.

While running you ran into the arms of the exact demons that have kept you in hiding for so long. The Devil’s Brew. There you dance with the devil to the melody of a dangerous song. You have lost yourself over time and now deeper in the hole you seem to be, and although your rants and raves fall deaf to me, through the grapevine your messages have been received. Everything that you say is said because you’re sour. Everything you write is written as a coward because again you hide behind the strength of a bottle.

So yes, disappearing is what I had to do. Why run the risk of coming across this doppelganger you? This venomous character who I am just only now getting to know? Do you now realize that what you reap is too what you sow? All of those uncalled for words have hurt,  so you think I am just going to let it roll, us remain friends, let you say bye to my dog?

You should understand me now enough to know that I refuse to house hostility in my heart. I keep negativity at bay and I always remove any toxins that affect my life. Unfortunately this called for the removal of you.

Someday, once the pain subsides, once your mind is clear, and your soul is back to feeling right, you’ll see and understand why. Until then, if that day were to ever present itself, I wish you well. I pray that you get clear so you can see all that the Universe has for you in reach. I pray for your soul to feel free, and that when you someday choose to shoot for the stars, there you find what you so desperately seek.

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Photo Credit: Angie M. Muse: Natal Galvan

Pictured Infidelity

Have you ever caught someone cheating on you red handed??

Maybe not in the exact act of betrayal but you discovered evidence that could prove nothing else other than their total infidelity? My friend is going through something of this nature and it inspired me to take a look back into a deep past that I buried long ago.

This story takes place about 8 years ago and at this time I had freshly moved to FL and was dating who had been my HS sweet heart at the time. In the seven years that him and I had dated, never did I ever think that such betrayal between us was possible but with time I soon realized how possible anything in life could be.

He had left in the morning to go to the bank to deposit some of his money from his serving shift the night before. I was killing time waiting for him to get back to start on breakfast when I decided to get on the computer and switch up some pictures on my Myspace (remember Myspace?). I log onto the computer and begin to search some files looking for my new profile picture when I see a file that was left untitled. I found this interesting. What pictures could be in there? Not thinking anything negative, I excitedly clicked on the file folder thinking that I would find pictures he and I had long ago forgotten. When the file opened, my world which seemed so perfect at the time, shattered like fragile glass dropped from a tall building. Picture after picture, I find this strange girl partially naked with her legs spread open, her fingers teasingly in her mouth. Freshly shaved vagina and huge, black, Oreo looking nipples stared me in the face, almost mocking me and my broken heart. She was lying on his bed. There was no denying the bed sheets that I had bought him for Christmas just a month prior to this picture. The date was stamped just a few days after his birthday last year. My mind immediately sailed back to that time and I was bombarded by the memories. That year I had made reservations at a popular Cuban restaurant that had just opened. I made sure that the table had been set up with flowers, balloons, chocolates, and that his favorite drink  sat at the table, awaiting his arrival. That night we had made love in that same bed where just days later he had fucked her. Instantly I was fueled by anger and rage. How was it possible that I hadn’t suspected anything back then? How had I not smelled her on his sheets or had not felt her presence linger in the air? I had been totally blindsided. My best friend had betrayed me in the ugliest way possible.

I left the pictures up on the computer and made my way into the kitchen. If my timing was right, he would be back home shortly and so I had begun making breakfast, for just myself. I was still fuming when he had gotten back home.

“MMMMmmmm babe, it smells sooooooo good!” He said as he walked in through the door, though there was nothing cooking.

“Does it?” I asked as he walked by me, giving me a kiss on the cheek before walking into the bed room. I slightly smiled like a psychopath. I was anxiously waiting for his reaction because once that reaction from him came, that would be the signal to finally let the rage out, full throttle.

I heard him setting his keys on the nightstand. He opened the closet door, probably to hang up his jacket, and then shut it again. Then silence. There was no movement, not a peep coming from the room. I stopped chopping up the green peppers I was to add to my omelet. My hands were shaking so bad there were bits of the vegetable flying onto the floor. I stared at the door frame willing for his image to appear and when it finally did, he looked as if he’d seen a ghost. I said nothing. He said nothing. It felt like an eternity before I irritatingly asked, “So?”

“That was way before me and you got back together!” He tried to defend. The time stamp proved otherwise and so his words had pierced me like hot steel. Luckily I had set down the knife at that point because I felt like throwing it at his face.

“Be a fucking man and tell the truth!! That picture was taken just a COUPLE days after your birthday!!!! We were 100% together!!! How could you do that to me??!! How could you stare me in the face, tell me you love me, after being with her? FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR!!” I was fuming and it took all I had to not walk over to him and wrap my fingers around his neck and apply pressure. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to make him hurt just as bad as he made me hurt, if not worse. But I couldn’t. The energy I initially had to inflict such damage had drained from my body. He had shattered my heart and at the same time robbed me of my strength. I stormed passed him on wobbly knees and into what had been, up until then, our bedroom. I slammed the door and locked myself in there for fear of what I was capable of doing next.

To make a very long story short, this incident had sent our relationship spinning to a point of no return.  I had lost every bit of faith I had in him. He of course tried his hardest to make things better. It was weeks later when I finally decided to not throw away 7 years together over a one time mistake, when I caught him sending text messages to a stripper he met on a night out with his friends. Destroying now even the want I had to try to work things out and move on, I sent him packing. He moved out, leaving behind nothing but my heart full of pain. Even though this wouldn’t be the end of our story (oh yes, there was more drama to shortly follow), it had been the end of that chapter.

It took me a long time to allow myself to even want fall in love again. He had been my high school sweet heart, my best friend, my entire everything. The only man I thought I could ever marry. No one can ever compare to your first love. It was the first time you really came to see what it was to feel so much for someone that wasn’t apart of your family. That first outsider that you care for unconditionally, and without fear. Pure love placed in your heart and then again into that of another… to later be broken and tossed away by the very same person you wholeheartedly handed it over to.  You never do love the same after that. Of course you love, but it is not as innocent as it once was. You don’t love without questioning, wondering, doubting.

It wasn’t until a few years later that him and I ended up speaking again. I remember one of the things he said to me was how important we were for one another. We had made up so much of each other’s past it was hard to forget. He reminded me of the strong friendship we had had and how even that was something unforgettable. He reminisced as his stare went off into a moment of bliss, enjoying what he was remembering. For me, those moments were what they were, the past, and soon they’d be nothing more than just an old dusty chapter buried in a book, left on a shelf, and long ago forgotten.  Those moments he thought of as beautiful, held no light to those dark memories of betrayal.

To be honest, I couldn’t imagine my life with him. There is more to this story of heartbreak, but it will be left untold for now.  What I will add is the fact that Karma is magnificent and the Universe never goes without issuing out that which is deserved. Going through what I did wasn’t deserved but it was necessary  because I grew and learned from it. I became a little smarter and tougher. I grew independent and this is when I discovered that happiness is a choice and that it shouldn’t be something placed in the hands of another, your happiness being too precious, your destiny too valuable.

I give my friend that cliche advice that if it isn’t working out then it is because it is not meant to be, and that this is all for a reason. I tell her that she’s got something amazing coming her way. I tell her that the Universe is always conspiring in her favor and to trust in it. It all sounds like lines out of a cheesy movie, but it is the truth. I have lived it. I have been there and I have come out on top because with a good perspective and a positive attitude, that’s really all that is needed to rise above.

Another BIG Move

In exactly two months this girl will be moving across the state. It won’t be my first time relocating long distance. I’ve moved from Jersey to Florida, Florida to California, California to Jersey, and Jersey back to Florida again. This time I’m only moving from one side of FL to the other. You would think that after such major moves in the past that this would be quick and easy for me, but it isn’t. Relocating is never easy. It’s hard to leave the comfort of what you’re used to and head into the world of the unknown, even if what you’re used to isn’t making you 100% happy.  Even so, I never let fear determine an outcome. Especially when in pursuit of love.

***Skeeeeert*** All ears and eyes perked up***

Yes, I said love. This time, compared to previous times, I am relocating for Love and boy oh boy have I gotten shit for this. In all honesty it makes me giggle out loud because most of those who comment negatively on my reason in moving have NO IDEA whom they’re talking to. At the age of 30 I can say that this has not been my first rodeo. Unlike my bf, I have been in cohabitant relationship before, and although he is in for the shock of his life, I am not. I know about all the trials and tribulations when it comes to living with your significant other. I fully understand all the highs and lows that come when moving in together and I am prepared.  Hence why I must clarify that although I am relocating to the east side, and that eventually we will be living together, for the first few months my bf and I will NOT be cohabiting 🙂

If you have been following my blog you know that the relationship I have been in for the past few months has been a long distance one, and that it hasn’t been all peaches and cream.  Having to drive two and a half hours every time you want to see your significant other can really put a strain on the relationship. From having to plan even the smallest of dates, to not being able to spend certain holidays together due to conflicting schedules, being apart doesn’t make things easy. Long distance dating pushes back any milestones that “normal” couples hit in a quicker fashion. Although him and I have been dating 8 months, I still don’t feel 100% about moving in with him right away and not because I don’t love him. More so because I do and so I need to make sure I don’t make the same mistakes I’ve committed in the past. I’ve moved in quickly with bf’s before. Before getting to really know them and their quirks. Before getting to know the things that tick them off. Before getting to know the everyday things about them that would allow me to really decide if they were the right man for me or just a learning phase. If I had to guess, I would say that our 8 month long distance relationship is equivalent to a 3-4 month “normal” relationship. Do I feel confidant moving in with someone after 3 months? After my past experiences? No. I mean, would you??

“If you’re so nervous about living with him, shouldn’t you take that as a sign as to not move across the state for him?” I get asked this one a lot once people realize that I’m not moving in with him right away. These are the kinds of people that look at a situation and either see black or white, there is no grey area in between. For me, I don’t take this as a negative sign against my bf. I take this as a positive towards me and my own learning experiences. The way I see it is that I have learned from my past. My past has taught me that you don’t simply move in with someone that you’re dating out of convenience or because it’s the “next step” in the relationship. NO. You do it once you feel it’s right for the both of you. I am ready to make a move out of SWFL. I have been for quite sometime now and if I hadn’t met my bf I would still be relocating. The fact that him and I have been dating for longer than my usual is a sign to me that things between us are moving in the right direction. Am I supposed to make this relationship work from hundreds of miles away?? Of course not. At some point the move has to be made if we’re eventually going to try to get things to the next level.

“Well, why do you have to be the one who moves? You did spend most of the time driving to see him. Isn’t it time he put forth some effort?” This one is usually the next question to follow. Like I said before, I have been wanting to get out of where I live for over a year now. It’s just what I do once I’m bored so me moving was going to happen eventually. The conversation was had and we both decided together that it would be me making the big transition. Yes, I have already put much energy into this relationship in the way of having to drive a few hours a week to see him BUT it is what had to be done. My work gives me the chance to be able to do such things. His job does not. Is that an excuse? Yes, but it’s a good one. A real reason as to why it worked out the way it did, not just some made up excuse to make me feel better.  Should I punish him or make things more difficult for us simply because I was lucky in having a flexible job? What he doesn’t do in driving or relocating he makes up for in other ways. The fact that people look at our situation and think they know the sacrifices we make for each other is astonishing and goes to show the arrogance in their thinking. Plus, when does anyone ever stop putting forth energy into a relationship? Those in unsuccessful relationships, that’s who.

“You’ve seem to have it all figured out. It all sounds good but…. What if it doesn’t work out?” Ahhh yes. The most common question asked. I consider it to be the dumbest, especially if you’re asking me. What happens if it doesn’t work out? Well….. I move on! DUH! I am not one to dwell on anything. I find that dwelling on the things that don’t work out for you is the best way to keep yourself stuck and off track. I like to learn and move on when it comes to the things that don’t pan out for me like I believed they would. Would I be heartbroken? Of course I would, but I’ve never died of a broken heart before. If it doesn’t work out then it doesn’t work out, but at least I gave it a try. At least I didn’t let fear stop me from trying. I am a believer that what happens happens, as well as a believer that the universe is always conspiring in your favor. If the relationship doesn’t work out, it is for a reason. I may not be super thrilled about it not working out, but I will survive, as always.

I’m going into this situation as realistically as I possibly can but with the highest of hopes. Every day is a new day and with each step taken towards my big move it becomes less scary and more exciting. I heard a lecture once by Alan Watts where he speaks about feeling nervous versus feeling excited. The feeling of both is exactly the same. The difference is in your thinking. To feel “nervous” is to think negatively about the given situation. Feeling “excited” is the positive way of thinking about it. I am truly excited about my upcoming move. To be closer to my love will be a breath of fresh air. To be in a new environment sends a sense of thrill through my soul. A new adventure to write about in the story of what is my life. Cheers! To another big move.

DSCF0278 (2)Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

It’s Not Another Love Story

I had ended it a month before I was to meet who is now, the love of my life. It wasn’t like there was anything truly serious between us. It was more like we were beta testing what it would be like if it had turned into something more. Now looking it back, it is apparent to me that even if we had made us “official” the relationship between us would have never lasted.

We had been friends for years, or maybe “friends” is a term I’m using loosely. I met him through mutual friends and eventually when I had bowed out of the circle, our friendship had turned into one of acquaintances. It was only years later that we had reconnected.

When you’re living in a world  that is often cold and lonely, certain things, people, places, situations, begin to look more appealing than under normal circumstances. You begin to give life to thoughts that normally wouldn’t exist or at the very least would have quickly been dismissed. It had months since I had last seen him. I had been out one night with a few friends, and there he was chatting it up to some of his customers at the bar. As quickly as we said hi to one another, we said our goodbyes. My group and I were changing scenery but after that night we began to exchange FB messages here and there. After some time I knew there was an interest there, but knowing what I thought I knew about him, I didn’t feel the urge to pursue anything.  If I would have continued to follow my intuition, maybe the drama would have been avoided. Yet, no matter how certain you may be of something, once the seed of doubt is planted, it hardly take much for it to grow. My seed of doubt?What if I ended up dismissing something beautiful simply because I felt like I had an idea of where it may lead me to?

On the day that it had all began, I had been hours in to day drinking by myself on the beach. Season had finally begun to die down and there wasn’t much traffic so I had taken it upon myself to take advantage of the quiet, and decided to have a “me” day. Not that I had much of a choice considering I hardly had any friends on this side of town… or hardly at all for that matter. By this point, we had gone from speaking only through FB to texting and almost on a daily basis. The invite to hang out via text arrived in the early afternoon. Since I was already too buzzed to even think about driving anywhere, I insisted he meet me at a bar in walking distance to where I was. The bar I suggested was on the beach with a pool. I figured if we ever hit an “awkward silence” moment, it would provide us with, at the very least, a distraction.

Under normal circumstances I would have never been down to hang out one on one like that. Not just with him, but with any guy who I wasn’t already real friends with. Under “normal” (meaning sober) circumstances I would have known what us hanging out could have potentially meant for him, and it was more than what it would have meant for me.

Now I understand what you’re thinking,

“This b!T%* really is so full of herself that she believes that this poor guy is just going to fall in love with her and her not feel a thing. How does she know she won’t be the one falling for him?” 

I understand what you’re saying. It’s not that I am full of myself, not by any means. To give a little history here, during the time that I had initially met this particular person, it had been made very clear to me by his closest friends, that he was very interested and very smittened by me. Fast forwarding to this moment, the flirting through messages was obvious and strong. I knew right away that I wasn’t interested (in that way) and this is why that up until this particular beach day we hadn’t hung out. Up until this day I had really been the one to choose not too.

By the time I had gathered myself off the beach and walked into the bar, he was already sitting there, drink in front of him. Within minuets of our initial greet he presented me with a well thought out gift. I remember my last clear thought that day was “Well that was really nice of him,” and after that it was all a cloud.

I don’t remember much of our conversation. I know that once it got dark, we made it to the beach, where we sat and smoked a joint. I vaguely remember listening to the music that erupted from his phone. To this day I will never forget the song River. He introduced me to that song that night and I remember having made him replay it what seemed like hundreds of times while we sat there on the beach. Had we kissed that night under the deep night sky? I do not know. To this day I do not know because I had later been too embarrassed to ask.

Eventually we made our way back to my place where we said our goodbyes and once inside my apartment, I remember plopping down on my not so soft couch futon, thinking to myself, “Fuck, now what are you going to do?”

I woke up the next day to find a message from him telling me how much he enjoyed the day before. I was hungry, hungover, and thoughtful. It was over a reheated slice of pizza that I decided to weigh out the pros and cons of what would happen if it was decided to take this friendship of ours a step further. To my surprise the list was a draw. It could go either way. That’s when I decided to give this a whirl. It wasn’t like he was a bad guy, no matter how much of an asshole he tried to project. That was just a show for others, I knew that. Sure, he hadn’t looked like the man I had always dreamed up in my mind. Yes, he was a little more negative than I had hoped for my other half to be BUT those were things one could look past and even maybe with time, change. (by this very thought it should have been clear to me that this was not to be…you don’t attempt a relationship with people in hopes to change them. Not like that.  When it is pure and true, you accept them as they are. You love down to the very flaws that once would have made you think twice and if needed be, with love they evolve, on their own to be better versions of themselves, of yourself.) 

We continued hanging out after that night. At first a couple times a week. Quickly a couple times a week ended up turning into almost everyday. Days had then turned into weeks and still the doubt was there and just wouldn’t let up. I was angry at myself because I didn’t understand what was internally wrong with me. He was funny and attentive. Two qualities I had always loved in a man. He had household skills that would put many housewives to shame. A particular set of skills in the kitchen that only a true chef could master. Still, all these great qualities and I just couldn’t fall in love. Not like he wanted me to. The flame was just not igniting for me no matter how much I tried to force it.

The heart is strong and it is pure.

One cannot convince the heart to feel things that do not come natural. I learned this the first time when it came to my father. I would later learn this many more times in a number of different situations. It is a lesson hard to learn and only when one comes to accept this does life become a little tiny bit easier.

We had been “talking” for a little over a month when I had finally decided to be completely and 100% honest with him. Not only was it what he deserved, but I truly did come to love the friendship and I wanted to preserve what we had built up to that point. Silly girl.

It wasn’t at all easy for me to have the conversation. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, news that would emotionally hurt someone for that matter. It wasn’t easy for him to hear. No one wants to stand there and get their heart broken.

His hurt wore many faces. He was angry, sarcastic, hurtful, all of which I understand. He tried many times to make me realize how perfect we were for each other. “How could two good people who deserve each other not be together?” he asked me once.

“Just because two good people come together doesn’t mean they should date. Maybe they’re in each other’s lives for a long lasting friendship.” I answered.

The friendship has now completely diminished. His anger over time built into resentment and once I made it public that I was officially in a relationship with someone, he completely let me have it.

I had known this reaction would come but I hadn’t believed it to be permanent. I thought that he would eventually see that my honesty was something that had to be. What was I supposed to do? Suck up the fact that I was’t emotionally connected to him like we had hoped I’d be? Was I to live a life forcing something there? I thought he would get over his angry and understand that I had not meant to hurt him. That he would understand that if I had continued on to force love, things would have ended way worse.

The understanding never came. Instead there was more insulting and hostility. Today we don’t speak and with all the sadness that a dying friendship brings I do morn for its loss. I move on with my life coming to the understanding that sometimes the pursuit of happiness can be difficult. You will encounter tough situations and maybe hurt others along the way, but happiness is what we’re on this earth to experience. Not for others, but for ourselves.

029-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: Venice Beach California

 

Life Isn’t Hallmark

I was insane to believe that by reintroducing him back into my life that it would change anything. I believed, that at that moment, my life would end like a Hallmark movie.

It was during Christmas week, while my boyfriend and I vacationed back home to meet each other’s family, that I would see my father again after almost ten years.

The unconditional love a child has for her parent, no matter how angry they can be at them amazes me. When I saw him sitting there, his back towards me, the surge of love that filled my heart left me frozen in my place for a few beats. Once I snapped out of it, I walked towards him, and sneaking up behind him on his left side I whispered,

“Well look at who is out and about late night on a Thursday?” He turned around in his seat and I instantly found myself in his arms. It was a strange embrace, but it felt warm and kind.

Our reunion that night would have probably been a bit happier, catching up, telling stories, if only my mother’s boyfriend wouldn’t have made the evening be about himself and his insecurities. That’s neither here nor there. That I will leave for another story.

I ended up drunk and emotional that night. After closing down the bar, before heading home, I repeated, “I missed you…. You should let me take care of you.. I hate knowing you live alone…” I unsteadily hung on his shoulder slurring as I spoke I’m sure. Now that I think about it, I don’t even remember him actually leaving. All the sudden he just wasn’t even there anymore.

I haven’t heard a word from him since then.

Christmas has passed. New Year’s came and went. Next up, my birthday.

Should I be surprised? Hell no. I should have expected it, and honestly, I’m surprised I hadn’t.

Life isn’t like a movie. Life is real life. In life you will achieve great things but you will also face low and hard times. In life you’ll be happy and you will too experience great sadness. You will be lifted up by strangers and be left in the dust by loved ones. Expect it.

Now, let’s try to accompany that realistic thought with one of a happy silver lining. By embracing the fact that life will have both good and rough times in store for each and every one of us, we can face facts, deal with them, and either cherish them for their beauty, or move through it, learning as much as we can in order to move on.

I took a risk by meeting my father that night. I do not regret it because I experienced a quick moment of satisfaction and love with him, probably the last one we’ll ever share. Yes, maybe I built up an image in my mind that hadn’t been realistic and yes, maybe I had set myself up for the let down I experienced afterwards. Yet, I’m still glad I put myself out there. The unknown is much more punishing than knowing, and now I know where it is that my relationship with him stands. There are no regrets and if someday something were to happen to either one of us, I am satisfied with knowing that at least I tried, because in life, that’s what ultimately matters, is that we try.

img_20160707_171557-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Author: Natal Galvan

The Three Month Mark

In life I believe that everything has a bit of a probationary period. Some range longer than others. If you start a new job for instance, it’s usually three months before you are able to obtain any kind of benefits from that set job. You take your car to a mechanic, it’s usually a few days before you can tell whether or not they’ve really done a good job repairing your car. You maybe order some Chinese food from a new spot that just opened and within a few hours you can tell if you’ll ever be ordering from that place again.

The same holds true for relationships.

The dating scene has always been quite a challenge for me. Long ago it took me absolutely no time to fall “in love” with someone. I quickly learned that by always jumping in head first that it could be truly painful for the heart. Though the heart is strong and resilient, there is no need to place it in a constant state of unnecessary vulnerability. Slowly I began adapting what I call The Three Month Mark. It was a three month period in which I noticed I would “dip out” of a relationship for one reason or another, the underlying reason being that I knew it simply would not work out. It wasn’t something that I purposely set myself up for. It was more like I slowly noticed what it was that I was doing. I had found my own way of protecting my heart by purely building up a wall. It wasn’t a wall made of pure cement. It was more like dry wall, where it seemed thick and impenetrable, but if given the proper tools one could knock it down in no time. There were a few that came close to getting through that three month mark, but in the end it was intuition that led me to know that to enter a true relationship with that individual would just later lead to heartbreak whether it be them or me who was left broken. The three month mark was a way of me getting to know someone, who they were, their intentions, before getting attached. I started noticing that within three months one could discover so much about a person before it was tragically too late. Before the heart became truly involved that is.

That is until I met the love of my life. My soul mate…

He walked into the dark and empty nightclub, alone and radiating an energy that just seemed to pour out of his soul. His eyes locked me in and I knew that very second that I had met someone truly special. I just hadn’t known how special they would become until later.

The night we met we spent the entire time talking. Just two strangers surrounded by good music, watered down cocktails, and shitty disco lights. We spoke about all good things in life never once spending time on a negative sentence. From that night on our friendship developed past the point of something typical. It was as though we had picked up right where we had one day long ago left off.

Quickly things escalated. We spoke every single day and spent every free moment together. We became exclusive within days, unnaturally quicker than with any other person I had met before.

It wasn’t until recent that I noticed that we had hit our three month mark. We had taken a trip up north to meet each other’s parents. It was when sitting with his mother in their cozy little living room, warmed by a fireplace, and surrounded by the sounds of Jazz music coming from his father’s room that it hit me. The thought had never crossed my mind before that moment. We had overcome that self imposed probationary period without even the slightest hiccup. I had met his friends. I had met his family. I had been thrown into his Georgian culture, engulfed by food, drink, music, language, and tradition, and had not only survived but actually came to love. The same went for him. I knew the very second the realization of our three month mark hit that this was true. I had finally found what I had so terribly wanted for so long and this time I hadn’t even looked for it. He had arrived unexpectedly yet at the perfect time.

I’ve come to truly fall in love with him, quickly and without fear. I had no preconceived attitudes towards him. I felt no reason for a wall to be taken down for one hadn’t even been built. I’ve given my heart completely to this person without conditions or concern and I thank The Three Month Mark for this. It has kept my heart protected for all this time. For when the moment truly came it would be healthy and happily willing, without fear, to love again.

People have asked me, “Well how do you know that this is it?” and all I can answer back is all I’ve ever heard, you just know. It’s a feeling of certainty that no one can confirm other than the true inner self. It is a moment that arrives and it whispers in your heart. A feeling no person can describe. That’s how you know. You’ll know when you realize that from the moment that you met, there was never a three month mark.

img_20161018_103935-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Raver’s Paradise

****** Fictional Story ******

 

The night was dark and mellow. Although the music had stopped for the night, the vibes still carried throughout the cool, crisp air. It was an invisible blanket that enveloped her allowing her to feel safe and pleasant. She hadn’t been ready for bed yet. There was no way she had lied in order to skip work for three days to just simply go to sleep. Work had taken up most of her time these past few months and although grateful she was to have had that as a distraction throughout her ordeal, still she was happy to be here present in this moment. It felt amazing for her to get away. She was out in the wilderness not only camping and being one with the Universe, but she was among her kind. Here she didn’t stand out. She was able to be herself, she was able to enjoy the present without a thing negatively getting to her. Her focal point for this trip was a journey towards absolute happiness and throughout her first night here she was beginning to feel it.

She still had the buzzing of the music playing in her ears so even if she wanted to try to sleep, she knew she wouldn’t be able to. If anything she’d just lay down and stare up at the sky for a bit, contemplate life for a while. He had already gone to bed. How, she didn’t know because she had remembered him taking a bean not too long ago and that was of what she saw him take. Who knew how many he had already bought and popped. Yet when they made it back to the campsite he had gone straight to bed. That spelled one word to her “duds.”She knew who he had bought them from and advised against it from the beginning. Sure, she had been away from the scene for quite a bit now but she still knew the dealers and their product as well as the quality. A schemer never stops scheming and so when he had bought the beans from Valco that had made her laugh a little. Money poured right down the drain.

She was hiding behind the tent popping a squat and couldn’t see very well. It was pitch black except for the fire that was still burning bright, yet its comforting light couldn’t reach where she was. She maneuvered as best she could trying to shift her wide leg Jnco jeans away from the stream she was creating.  She couldn’t help but giggle when she had almost lost her balance, one jean leg skimming the puddle that filled up under her. When she finished, she grabbed the toilet paper that she had left sitting on top of the cooler for easy access. She searched it for bugs and once she was sure there was nothing on it, she tore of a few sheets and quickly wiped. At the same time she felt a bite or two on her exposed thigh. “Fucking mosquitoes..” she mumbled as she pulled up her jeans and made her way back to the tent. It seemed that no amount of bug spray could ever really protect her from the bugs.

Instead of laying completely inside the tent snuggled in her sleeping bag, she decided to leave it unzipped, moved her sleeping bag closer to its entrance, and laid on her back with her head sticking out of it’s opening. She wanted to drift off to sleep staring up at the stars. As she laid there she couldn’t help but feel as though the tent was birthing her. Laying there, gazing up at the crystallized night sky, she let herself get carried away, slowly allowing for the last of her dance buzz to wear off. She went over the night in her mind remembering how comfortably numb she had felt as she let herself get lost in the lights, floating away on the music’s current. Nothing had been able to touch her. At one point she had even taken off her sneakers and socks to totally vibe out, the soft grass slipping between her toes as she danced.

She had almost drifted off to sleep when all the sudden a sense of doom crept in, breaking up the bliss she had created in her mind.

Her cheeks were beginning to grow warm and she wondered that even though she was quite a ways from where the fire pit burned, would it still be close enough to make her warm like this? She sits up and feels her face. She was incredibly warm and oddly enough her lips too were beginning to feel weird. Puffy almost. The doom-like feeling she was surprised with was growing more intense. Her legs were now feeling itchy. She felt under her pant legs and traced her legs with the tips of her fingers, shocked to find raised bumps completely covering every section her slender fingers roamed over.

A slight panic began to rise within her and so she turned into the tent,

“Babe! Babe! Wake up!!” She shouted in a whisper. They had been sharing their camp site with his friends from work and she definitely didn’t want to wake them. The last thing she wanted was to make a crazy ordeal of what may just be a tiny incident. He hadn’t heard her so she quickly began to tap him, harder with each time. Her lips felt as though they were swelling with every second that passed and now she could feel it in her throat. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me babe! Seriously, wake up. Please!” Full panic was starting to set in. She smacked him on his chest hoping this would wake him up. He began to stir, waking up to a look of panic deeply set within her cranberry brown eyes, sheer terror dancing there.

“What’s wrong? What’s going on with you??” He was sitting up right, looking to see what was going on but had noticed nothing other than her freaking out. “What the fuck did you take? You know you’re not supposed to be taking shit babe!” He was frightened it was obvious in his eyes. He thought that she was on a bad trip of some sort and she knew that if she panicked the situation could turn into something dramatic. Still, it was now that she realized that it was getting harder for her to breath. The fear of what could happen crept into the back of her mind. It was like death was standing far off in the corner trying to decide whether it was hungry or not. She began to think about how she should have never come here to begin with.

The weekend of the rave she had been scheduled to work and instead she had done something she hadn’t done in years. She had ended up lying to her bosses to get that weekend off. This of course wasn’t her normal behavior, or at least it hadn’t been for the last 17 months. Once she had decided to get clean things had changed.

Her throat was feeling warm, but worse, it felt like it was thickening, threatening every breath of air she tried to take.

“I didn’t take …anything…” her breath she tried to maintain slow and steady.

“What do you feel? Tell me what’s going on!” He was analyzing her, probably trying to make sure she hadn’t really taken anything. He ran his fingers on her legs, “Oh my God babe!! What the fu..” He placed his hands underneath her pant legs this time, “You’re covered in bumps!” He grabbed her face so that he could get a better look at her. She angled her face up towards him to allow him a better look never forgetting to keep her breathing steady. “What’s going on with you babe? Did you maybe drink something that someone gave you?” He was beginning to feel guilty for having brought her out here camping with him. The situation had been compromising for her and they both had known it, yet they had believed she was strong enough to have keep herself away from anything that would have messed with her sobriety. Now his doubts were setting in and it was unnerving her. Her eyes were closed and her thoughts distant. She was trying to keep herself calm and stayed silent for a few more beats before she answered him.

“All I did… was dance. I went to pee….. a few times. I got you… beers between… bathroom breaks.” This was all said barely above a whisper. She had to try to keep a slow pace when she spoke to try to steady her breathing. Her throat was thick and it was getting extremely hard to swallow her saliva. Quickly she discarded that thought. “Focus on breathing. Stay Calm” is all she could think about right now.

“Should we go to the hospital??!! He shifted around in his sleeping bag as if trying to get untangled from its grip. “Like I don’t know what to do!” He still wore his winter beanie which was in the shape of a bright blue teddy bear face with evil clown-like eyes. The red and veiny eyes, out lined in sharp black lines, were staring directly at her, deep in to her soul.

“No! No hospital…” She closed her eyes hard. She could control this. She’s heard about how your mental state could determine how certain things in your body affected you. This was their first night of the camping trip. She refused to be the one to ruin it. “I can work through this,” she said out loud but mostly to herself. “I just need to… breath.” She remained sitting in the tent for a second until she realized how intensely he was looking at her, his anxiety radiating off of him in waves.She needed to be away from this. It was as though his anxiety was causing for her throat to swell even more. Her entire face felt hot, her cheeks feeling like hot lava cakes. Her mouth had swollen up badly, her lips feeling like a duck’s bill. She needed out of this tent NOW. She lurched to her feet slightly losing her balance for a second, then quickly decided to sit back down for a few more seconds.

“What are you doing?? Sit down.. here drink some water.” He hands her the bottled water, the cap already off, and she takes a small sip just enough to wet her mouth a bit. She takes in a little more, realizing that she’s actually thirsty but could barely swallow it.

“I just.. need to get.. outside.. and … chill. I need fresh .. air.” This time she took her time getting up and made her way through the tent’s opening.

“Yo, are you sure you want to go outside? Why don’t you just lay down instead, c’mon babe.” He pats the empty space beside him. Under normal circumstances she would have found him adorable in that moment. His big brown eyes were full of worry and reflected the dancing flames that continued to burn in the fire pit fiercely.  His creepy bear beanie had slid down, hanging on only half his head now,  a smirk escaping from the raver bear’s lips.

“I’ll be.. back… I just .. need fresh… air. I need to… calm.. myself down.” She turned away from the tent, internally repeating to herself that she would be alright. She believed that the power of positive thinking would get her out of this. She slowly made her way to the chair that sat right in front of the fire pit, making sure not to trip over all the crap that had been thrown around the site during the rave’s chaos, and then plopped right down into it. Her head felt like it weighed a million pounds. She couldn’t even lick her lips her mouth was so swollen. Not being able to deal with the weight of her head any longer, she leaned her head back and stared straight up into the night’s abyss. The sparkles that danced within its void captured her, trapping her gaze, and seemed to conspire in never letting her go. She sat there captivated, eyes locked onto the diamonds of the night, and there she remained. Lost in nature’s trance. She remained there long after the fire pit’s flames smoldered out. Still so as the first signs of the rising sun began to show.

Ben abruptly woke up. How had he just fallen back asleep? He had waited some time for her to return and must have just drifted off to sleep when she didn’t . He crawled out of the tent still heavy with sleep. His eyes quickly squinted against the daylight but he still searched the campsite for Lily. The place was a disaster, riddled with garbage from the night before. He then spotted Lily sitting in the chair gazing up into the sky.Poor Lil. It broke his heart that she hadn’t come back to the tent and more so that he had fallen asleep instead of staying up with her. She probably hadn’t slept at all, too freaked out to.

“Babe?! You feeling better doll?” He kept his voice low to not wake anyone else up. Rubbing the crusties out of his eyes, he made his way over to her. Either she hadn’t heard him or she was sleeping. “Hey, wake up. You’re going to get a crick in your neck lounging out like that.” It was with one more step that he then realized what was really going on with her and stood there too stunned to take another step.

Her lips were the first thing he noticed. They looked like she had spent the night sucking face with a vacuum cleaner hose. They were extremely puffy, dried out and cracked, and instead of their pretty shade of pink they had turned a deep purple. Her chest was covered in huge hives that were no longer red, just puffy. They went from the sides of her neck all the way down her chest, disappearing under her bright pink Hello Kitty zip-up. Her face had lost all color and had now set into a light blue, highlighting the tunnels of veins under her skin.

He had known almost immediately that she had been dead, but it wasn’t until he got a little closer and saw her eyes that his breath caught in his throat, eyes instantly welling up with tears. Her eyes were wide open still, staring up into the sky, and hidden within the corners of her eyes, a slight smile. A smile one could only see if you truly knew Lily for it was not obvious, it was just faintly there. He knew she was gone but her expression looked  more alive now than ever. A desperate wave of sadness washed over him. He reached up to stroke her cheek and the instant his skin touched down to hers he fell to his knees.

“Fuuuuucccckkkk! Lily!!” A groan similar to a wounded animal’s escaped his lips. All he had wanted was for them to get away for the weekend. She had been working so hard on getting her life back together. She’d gotten clean and had held two jobs to keep herself busy and away from temptation. It had taken some time to convince her to get the weekend off but with a little effort she agreed to. Music had been her religion and nature her church of worship. When the rave had been initially announced and he saw it was to be held at the campsite he was convinced that this would be the place to take her. Now she was gone.

Ben looked up and just stared at the shell that had once been his girlfriend. He stared at the face of this girl he now hardly recognized. Her eyes were the only things about her that still looked familiar. He had loved her eyes from the first day they had ever met. A beautiful deep brown color with specks of dark red. Cranberry Eyes.  As he stared at her he noticed movement by her nose. He moved in for a closer look when he noticed a bright red fire ant crawling around her nostril and quickly flicked it off of her. He then noticed a few more crawling on the sleeves of her sweater. As he continued to scan her body, he was shocked as he spotted more and more. Instantly he knew what had happened. The proof was there, what seemed like hundreds of them, roaming over the new territory they had recently conquered. The bottoms of her Jnco jeans looked like they were covered in a moving blanket of deep red. He took a near by twig and carefully lifted one of  the pants legs up to get a look at her legs. Just as he had suspected, her ankle and leg were mercilessly bitten, now severely swollen, from the evil bugs.

It must have been during the night as she danced, numb to the world except for the music, that these silent killers took a hold of her. How hadn’t she felt them?? She hadn’t been high nor drunk, but music to her was equally as intoxicating and so he believed that she truly hadn’t felt a thing until maybe it was too late. Everyone who knew Lily knew she had been allergic to certain insect bites. Her mom had always joked about how the bugs loved her sweet blood. He had seen small allergic reactions with her before like slight swelling around the bite, but had never seen anything remotely close as to what he saw last night. He didn’t even think Lily knew what had struck her last night. Neither of them had. He quickly flashed back to a time when her mother had asked her to see a doctor in order to find out how allergic she was, but Lily argued that her lack of health insurance was what had been stopping her.

“I can’t afford a co-pay visit, testing, and then maybe later on an epi-pen.” She waved her hand in dismissal. “I got other things to work through first.” Now he wished so badly that he would have made her go. If he would have made her see a doctor like her mother had begged her to do, she would probably still be here. Still, she had taken precautions for fuck’s sake! Her zip-up and long jeans in the middle of September in Florida, her four cans of bug spray that she had strategically placed around the camp site for easy access. She thought she had had her bases covered and all for what? For her to fucking die anyways? He sobbed like a ravaged wild animal. She had beaten the drugs but that hadn’t meant she had beaten death. Death had calmly waited for her, watching for the perfect moment to come and sweep her away. It had come during a time in which its prey was most vulnerable. When she had been lost in her religion, while she had been out attending her church. He sat there by her, sobbing, until a stranger wondering by discovered them.

Lily watched as the heart and the soul of Ben mourned for her. This would be his story, his challenge to overcome. His journey here was to put back the pieces that have shattered away from his soul due to this in order to become stronger. From this point on, it would be his story to construct, the ending still unknown. She lingered there for a while listening to his cries, not wanting for them to fall on deaf ears. She, instead, absorbed them, and in return, sent him a current of love, vibes to help him with his journey. She placed a hand on his shaking shoulder, leaned in and whispered in his ear, “I’ll see you later,”  a phrase commonly uttered between the two, for they never ever said “good-bye” Within seconds his cries stopped and she knew that he had felt her there beside him. She would make sure to always be there whenever he needed her. It was a promise she made to him before turning to go. With that she turned towards the lights that had been patiently waiting for her. Colors of red, blue, greens, and pinks outlined the direction she was to gravitate towards. She feels the music’s bass pound to a rhythm she had never heard before and she begins to drift towards the swirling lights.The music grows louder the closer she gets, penetrating deeply into her soul. She feels a cool breeze and it makes its way around her like a blanket, stirring the side of her head with her long hair, whipping it into a mess, and tickling the side of her shaved scalp like imaginary claws slowly tracing the zigzags buzzed into her short shaved hair. A feeling of ecstasy erupts within her and with that she closes her eyes, allowing herself to get lost in beat of the music, and off she carried by the breeze. Her body moves to beat of the after life and just like that she soars off into the clouds of a raver’s paradise.

008-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Angie M. and Sebas, Location: Day Glow Fort Myers, Fl 2013