Beyond the Pane XIII (Good bye Melvin, Hola Hidalgo)

My relationship with Melvin had always been rough to say the least; I bounced back and forth from completely irrational worship to self-preservation more than a few times in the 10 years we spent together. I never married him, no matter how many times he had asked and pressured. My explanation was “If you can ever go one full year without cheating than I will marry you” that year never did come.

I never wanted to hurt him; I knew he did enough of that by his behavior. After he left us he lived on the streets for a while, I worried about him especially in the winter and called his cousin several times to make sure he was ok. I knew not to talk with him or try to interfere in this lesson he needed to learn. I still miss my friend, I chose to separate myself completely from him, even as I drive my sons to see their father today I will drop them, not look in his direction or say a word; not from hurt, hatred or shame, but because I love him, and I had to learn that just because I love him doesn’t mean I have to be with him.

The fact of the matter is that because I love him, I should be without him. I needed to let him learn from life and stop trying to shelter him from it. Every time I took him back, every time I forgave him I was doing him a disservice, I was keeping him from learning that for every action there is always an equal reaction. He needed to learn that there are reproductions for bad behavior and just because he hid behind an addiction didn’t mean he was blameless for his actions. I left him because I loved him and because I love myself more. I hadn’t expected to waste so much of my life, though.

This could easily be the end of the story. I can walk away now and have given you a powerful lesson that you have learned from and be a better person either by giving thanks for a nice calm existence free of the torchers I have self-imposed all these many years, or perhaps I have taught you the importance of loving yourself enough to see yourself as a gift that should be treasured, respected and placed upon a pedestal, but that would be too easy. That would be much too cookie cutter, sunshine and rainbows.

No, that is not at all how life works. Once we have learned the lesson, we are tested and then only if we pass those tests do we consider ourselves wise. I had to be tested to prove to myself I am wise, I needed to be tested to see if this person I have created has the ability to trust my own emotions.

I got AIDS tested first! Actually me and my best friend from across the street got tested together and we both were excited that or past didn’t in fact catch up with us. To celebrate we went out dancing. Well, we went out every Saturday that we were now alone, single and ready to live free. I had already had it set in my mind that although love was fun it also had a lot of responsibility. Not having a man to “answer to” was liberating. I liked having the connection to friends again.

I would work all week, go to school and look forward to the weekend. I felt like I could do it all, and no one to stop me. My sons were growing and all was good. The incident with the cell phone and jewelry box was becoming a distant memory much like the pictures I placed in the box. I was finally being me again. I put on make-up not to get a man but to be something those men had no chance at all to get.

My friend and I especially loved, of all places, a small Mexican bar, hidden away from site and traffic, I loved playing pool and there was always a table open. There was always music playing and a man buying my drinks. I didn’t mind the fact that men liked me, I didn’t care that they spoke to me in a language I didn’t understand. In pool a shot was a shot, and an ass slap meant the same in any language. I didn’t need words.

Hidalgo was an older man, still very attractive and the way he looked at me, well made me feel good, he was even a bit disgusted at the other men that said rude things to me and my friends. He acted like he wanted to “protect” me, he would shake his head “no” from across the room when a man wanted to dance, he didn’t approve of, and smiled ear to ear when I would heed his warning. He never got jealous, he just continued to pool with his friend.

I was absolutely confused. Did he want me, did he just want to be friends, or was he trying to play like my father? I only knew I enjoyed our (non- time together) I loved our (un-talks) so much so when one weekend he brought an English speaking friend we spent the whole night talking about things we were not able to before. I learned he was married and had kids back in Mexico, that he once loved his wife but when he had a chance to come here and work they decided that, him being gone for a few years might be better for their marriage then him staying.

He said he liked me very much and has wanted to be with me sense he first met me, but had no way of telling me. I was blown over. What does a person say to this information? I said what needed to be said, I thanked him for his time spent with me, I told him I liked him to and yes I thought several times what we could have if there was less a language barrier. I stay in control of my feelings and I smiled a lot. We were stuck in time. Staring at each other and locked in our worlds unable to cross.

The following night was Sunday and I got a phone call… He spoke Spanish and I didn’t understand, so an Asian man got on the phone. “You like Hidalgo? You meet him at his work? You come here at 11 and he takes you on a date, Ok?” I stuttered for a minutes and then said “Ok?” The date was less a date and more a following to his house and get banged affair, I really didn’t mind, think about it, what were we going to talk about, really? The few words we knew took about 15 to say. But spending time in his bedroom well took much longer.

Problem was there was no time for cuddling; talking about each other’s feelings, in fact the moments after wards always seemed “awkward”. Whether I saw him at the club or not I knew just to stop by his place and I could get some one on one time together. But I never had closeness with him and when he seemed to have less and less time for me well I took the hint. I knew he was done. He wasn’t of course and when I didn’t come by after a few weeks he got upset. He had his friend call and ask all kinds of questions, he came by my house and wanted to know “Why I not come in?” I had no way of telling him that there was no way my sons would understand. I just would rather let our thing be our thing.

The last time I saw Hidalgo I came to just talk, and try to see if there was something there other than a physical attraction. But when he got amorous and I didn’t have a condom, he mentioned something that made me think. “Why you always want that? I want baby. You no want baby? I think you would like be a mommy again. You can have one more baby for me” I laughed and backed out of the house. I was done collecting baby daddies ….” No mass, Hidalgo!”

That was the end, I never saw him at the club and I never went by his place again. It was months later that I got a phone call, this time he knew a little more English but I know the words were not his, even if he had memorized them. He had no way of knowing or understanding the words I said….“ I can’t be what you want me to be, I am not that woman.” It didn’t matter to me if he wanted a child and thought I was the woman he wanted, he was married, and I didn’t even get insulted at the thought of him only wanting a child here to get his green card. I wanted a real Husband, a real life and playing house with Hidalgo was fun but when things started to get serious and “permanent” I was the one that wasn’t ready this time. I knew the difference between love and lust. I was not going to settle for anything less than the real thing.
I finally knew the difference between me loving someone’s interest in me and me actually loving someone… I didn’t love him, and yeah I liked that he wanted me but that was a path I chose to not continue on.

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