1 - Day Dreaming
If anyone ever asked, I would say I’m perfectly happy being single. Those waiting for prince charming are clearly out of their minds. Why would I need a boyfriend? I’m perfectly happy as a single woman, building my career, making memories, and strengthening relationships.
But deep down, if I have to be honest at least with myself, I’d have to admit that as any normal thirty-five-year-old, I do dream about a relationship. I dream about someone to hold hands and to try new places with.
I want something that lasts longer than a night, except that, unlike my sisters or my best friend, I am not waiting for prince charming. I am waiting for the Big. Bad. Wolf! Because ’he’ can hear me better, see me better, and… eat me better!
My two sisters are married to the love of their lives, both have kids and are living proof of being in love and being loved. My best friend lives with her fiancé who insists on “making a little human” with her. Me? I live, daydreaming about “My Broken Happy Ever After with Frank”.
“You think then, it’s a good Idea for me to introduce my good friend Steve to my home girl Clara? I think they would make such a great couple”
Roberto interrupts my thoughts during a lunch break at the Empire Publishing Magazine, where we both work.
Roberto is a Graphic Designer, the head of the Team, he is what I call my best friend from work, I treat him like a little brother we all wish we had. He is also my wingman… He is ten years younger than I am, and we share a good, safe, friendship, even though I think he is very attractive with his olive skin, dark eyes, fine facial features, pink full lips, besides the confident personality suitable for a young alpha Latino man.
“If they both are the way you just describe to me, I think they would appreciate it. Well, we gotta go back to work bruh, let’s go!”
I opened my office door to find Valeria, my best friend sitting on the couch, eating a salad, she winks an eye and smiles at me as I enter, bad timing to be in my office right now, I thought.
Before I can say anything to her, I hear my cell phone ringing… It’s Frank, he video calls me before he leaves for the day, every day.
We are “virtual dating,” since it’s the only way I can date him, not only because he lives a coast away but because he is married, it isn’t real dating, after all… I will have to save the speech for Valeria for latter, I put my finger on my mouth gesturing she stays mute, she rolls her eyes and keeps eating.
“Bianca, OMG, I can’t believe it”
“What? tell me, tell me” I said copying his excitement
“I just got out of the Director’s office”
“And… good news to share?” I asked intrigued.
“Let me put it this way, Lola is changing the title that hangs on my door to, are you ready? He said making a pause, Regional Manager of Marketing and PR!”
“¡Wow Francisco! Felicidades” I was walking around the office trying to avoid Valeria’s gaze, as she was giving me the stinky eye.
“Wish you were here, so we can celebrate the way I want to”, he said while looking straight at me.
I knew that look, "The hunters gaze". He has this incredible way of expressing every single sexual desire without even talking about sex… just that look, man!
“Crazy! I would love to be there as well. Thank you for sharing it with me it’s a privilege”, I’m trying to change the topic because I know Valeria is paying close attention, as I turned the other way.
“You are the first person I’ve told so far Bi, I haven’t even called my mom or Fabio yet, well, Carl, but he works here, so it doesn’t count”.
“I’m so proud of you and your accomplishments, Frank, am sorry your almost ex-wife is missing the amazing you - hey I need to go back to work, we can talk later?”
“See You Bi”, he said while blowing a Kiss
“See you, Francisco,” I said while I winked an eye.
He always manages to make me smile, sometimes he would call me just to watch me work. Even if I can’t talk to him he will just stare. I would look at him a few minutes, wink and get on with my job at the office. We sometimes take “our coffee breaks together” and talk about all and nothing, at a safe distance from each other, a whole country of safe distance…
Valeria’s voice calls me back to reality.
“So, what is so special about Frank? Says Valeria, my best friend with her thick Argentine accent “don’t think you can fool me, piba. I’ve known you since we were roommates in college, I’ve seen you head over heels about this jerk, saw him break you and now, I am seeing him glue you together, but what? He can’t afford a trip to come see you even once in the fifteen years I have known you?”
She is being overprotective just like my older sister Vianne, coincidentally both are lawyers and have the same personality, she was a free spirit and it was hard not to like her as soon as we met in the dorm at UCLA, I was blessed with her friendship, often she reminds me of my sister, she would take a bullet for me and I would for her. I ignore her bitter comments most times but respond to her questions anyways.
“Love brought us together, bad timing tore us apart “ I responded with a big smirk, It’s just a funny thing how our lives are so similar though we haven’t ever been together actually, we have the same degree, just to mention, and we like the same drinks black bitter coffee and sweet red wine, bad timing, life, time and circumstances wrote that we were apart from each other in the last 20 years we have known each other, one day we keep telling each other, one day…”
At this point I’m not sure if I was still talking to her or to myself, after all, she knows the whole story about me and Frank, I was just daydreaming again, his name has that effect on me.
“Bianca, you are smarter than this, why can’t you see this isn’t real? You aren’t in a real relationship with him, you need a real man, uno que puedas tocar, one you can feel and pays for your coffees, just to mention!” She says while tossing her empty salad container in the trashcan.
“Hay Valeria! Let me dream at least”. I said half annoyed
“What you need is a date. She softened her voice you’ll find one, or I will post a profile online. I’m not kidding, I will call Vianne!” she teased me.
“Don’t get my sister into this, Val, now get out!” I joked with Valeria. “What the heck are you doing here, by the way?”
“Hiding from Mike, of course” She said while walking through the door.
Valeria’s Law firm and the magazine building is connected by a bridge, we could hang out on the shared patio, eat lunch together, we sometimes walk to The Office, our neighborhood bar at happy hour as she says she needs it as a stress relief from her cases, and I… well, I don’t need an excuse to drink a cold one with my crew!
I spent the rest of the day at the Magazine. The road back home was a long one on the 405 South. I’m driving back to Huntington Beach, to my piece of “little heaven on earth” … nothing about the sea amazes me, I dislike everything about living on the beach from the sun, the sand, to the fish smell yuk … why do people like it so much?
I miss the four-season weather at Redlands, it’s always at the back of my mind to go back there as It has everything I like in a place to call home, maybe because it reminds me of my childhood town “Mezquital”.
Vianne and Elena, my sisters love it and I can’t go anywhere because I love them and the precious kids they brought into the world to aunt me up.
They make my life complete besides, Valeria moved to a condo in my vicinity, so we could be neighbors, my sister and I are a family to her, the only family she has, and being an only child, we just fit perfectly into her life.
The traffic always gives me much time to think and it always tend to fall back to Frank, I remember the day I met him, it was around the same time I became a woman, and maybe that’s why it remains fresh on my mind.
If I ever write a memoir or if I ever have daughters (with Frank, of course) I will tell them the story about how I met their father and how to use a darn tampon.
I was at my Grandparents house a typical rural town in Mexico consisting largely of farmers, my grandpa Manny had his own field and rented it to a rich [town] guy, who virtually owns half the town at Mezquital.
At 11 I was about to start the sixth grade though I was advanced for a conventional six graders. I remember everything from that summer clearly, maybe due to the fact that I had my first period… which marked the most embarrassing time of my life, or because it was the time I met him.
Tia Lucy was on her way to my grandparents’ house, and as usual, I was playing with my cousin who was my best friend and partner-in-crime, Adam.
While we were atop a tree at the front of our house pretending we were exploring the space in the USS Enterprise, we saw Tia’s car approaching and ran to tell our grandma.
Tia came to show us the new baby boy she had a couple of months back, so my grandma sent Adam and I to the local abarrotes a small convenience store to get coffee and bread for the visitor.
It rained a lot that summer, the grass grew knee-high, so we played around like all normal kids do at such periods. Adam was turning 11 like me, he was a couple of months younger than I am, so we were crawling on the grass carrying our imaginary shotguns to rescue our fellow soldiers from the imaginary enemy field.
I felt something on my white leggings, but didn’t care, I thought I peed my pants from laughing too hard. As soon as we got to the store I ordered the bread, but Adam ran back home and left me by myself. I didn’t even realize he left… he didn’t say anything; Mrs. Mendoza, a neighbor approached me and said, “Paloma,” nickname I gained after my Grandma, “you have a stain”.
And she must’ve pointed out the obvious! I thought… I excused myself.
“Yes, I know, me and Adam were crawling on the grass, it’s nothing” she just left me alone, but what she meant was that I had a blood stain that was so big, it covered from the front, between my legs and my ass!
As soon as I got back home, my grandma and Tia took me to the restroom, no explanations whatsoever, no words about what the heck was happening to me, nada! Not even a brief training on how to use the thing they put in my hands.
Tia Lucy gave me a feminine pad and told me to put it on my panties. I can’t remember if they made me take a shower, but they made me change my blood-dyed leggings.
I took the white thingy, for some reason, maybe the lack of training, I put the pad upside down in my panties, by all means the “glue” part was on my skin, as soon as I had another flush of blood coming down, they notice right away because I was climbing on the tree again, they made me get down, asked me why I was dirty again and why I was not wearing the pad they gave me, I explained in a hurry that I was indeed using it, I did as I was told, put it inside my panties with the gluey part up, they started laughing at me and sent me to change clothes again, and this time glue the thingy to my clothes not my skin, they said.
I’ve hated the pads ever since, month after month was like having a football between my legs and I ended up in stains, it happened in the most inconvenient ways and times like during breaks at school when I was not prepared and the girls at school were not helpful, because most didn’t become women until they were at least 14, why me?
After that remarkable episode, Tia went back to Nogales and another set of visitors came as a family of four that I never met before, the parents then two boys.
The boys were ‘scary cats’, city people from Virginia, where is Virginia? kind of shy, but in my childish 11 years old mind, they were just nothing but perfect, they had what we didn’t, a mom and a dad… I never had that, it was only my Grandma, Grandpa and my two sisters, Vianne the protective, smart, wise older sister and Elena, the shy well behaved, sweet Elena, and I, the middle child… the best of both worlds, at least it’s what I like to think, reality is, I was a troublemaker.
The family from Virginia, wherever that is, were the Brown’s, Frank and Connie, and the boys, Frank Jr and Fabio.
Not sure how they were related or associated with my family, apparently, they came to a tribal festival organized every year from our tribe, and I think my grandmother and theirs were like longtime friends.
Fabio was very cute, dark skin, dark eyes and dark hair, like the kids from our tribe, and a bright smile to match his naughty-bubbling personality, he was a year younger than me.
The older boy Junior was tall, skinny, not as cute as his little brother, not so dark either, more olive skinned and honey smoked eyes, straight light brown hair, smart, sarcastic, bossy… and was a year older than me.
Frank told me, he was about to start Middle School too and his favorite subject was Math, I hated math, but I never told him because I want him to think was smart too, I mean, I just don’t like math, I prefer history or social studies, and to dance, of course.
I don’t know how to name ‘What’ I felt in my stomach, it was like an emptiness that goes up and down, it’s not hungry, it's different… I think this is what Vianne my 16 years old sister and her best friend Mariana always talked about, like “I had butterflies flying all over getting high and then falling down”. They were chatting the other day, I asked them, what was that, but they only looked into each other eyes and shooed me away.
He was staring at me, and between the shock looks, a smile was the best accident that could happen… I smiled at him sort of… I was shy, so not me, but I felt my face tomato red and burning.
I couldn’t hold his stare anymore, is was like, he was studying me…. I started climbing the Mesquite, the one Adam and I won’t dare to climb because it had no place to hold and was really high, grandma told me “if you fall from that tree, palomita, you are going to get the mother of all spanks for disobeying me”.
I didn’t care, and Junior was both excited and scare at the same time I push myself up just to keep enjoying the expression on his face, my younger sister Elena was scare too and begged me to get down, “Bianca I will tell on you, get down chiva loca” pleaded my baby sis.
Grandma yells its dinner time and I better get down. So, I did, and we walked back to Elena’s house, a good 55 yards walk, Junior and I were walking shoulder to shoulder and we talked about me climbing that tree, Elena and Fabio were walking behind us.
“Bibi!!” Says my niece as soon as I pull in the driveway of my sister’s house, Vianne’s girl, won’t call me aunt but Bibi, she is too small to call me Bianca, but it’s the only thing they hear, and Vianne says I deserve it for not spending enough time with them, “You are supposed to earn the title Bianca, work for it” she says.
And back to reality I go.
“How old are you again? Bi-an-ca, Tia is shorter, call me Tia, I prefer Tia, or Aunty, but Bibi?”
“I am tou silly, you forgot?” Said the doll, while she was making a sign of a four with her fingers
“Well, why can’t you be 16 then, you should be making dinner and calling me aunt”
“But I’m tou”, this time two fingers up
She is just a doll, I wanted my sister to call her Paloma, like grands just to call me, but she looked like a doll when she born, a perfect little doll, my sister called her Manika, it means doll in Filipino, and it suits her perfectly.
I hurry myself inside my sister Vianne’s house and thank her again for having me over dinner, and then I help her with the dishes while Manika was wearing my heels and walking all around the living making a clap noise every step, she is so funny, I saw Vianne’s expression changed while she was following Manika little claps, I asked her what was going on.
“You are going to be an Aunt”, we are having a boy Bibi.
I hurriedly hugged Vianne, I was so excited, a boy! we only have girls, well not me, sort of, Grace and Maddison, Elena’s girls, and Manika, Vianne’s greatest creation so far, and now a boy, Oh My God!! Our own boy, I was beyond happy for her and Peter.
Vianne is so radiant, no wonder I thought she looked more pretty but a little weighty, makes sense.
After I almost cried tears of happiness and hugging my sister, I ran to Peters arms, and gave him a big mini bear hug, he is a big man, and I am short, so…
I called Val after, we went to the Harbor Rackhouse to have a drink after dinner at Vianne’s, being ‘Tia’ deserves to be celebrated.
Valeria was eye-hunting a good prospect for a boyfriend for me, she doesn’t like the “relationship” I have with Frank, I’m supposed to be with someone “real”.
“Val, seriously, it’s not like he doesn’t exist, he lives in Virginia, it’s just a few hours flight and a week if we drive!”
“Then why doesn’t he come to see you? Oh yeah, because he has a wife, a W.I.F.E Bianca, what are you doing with this guy?” she says waving her hand, trying to hide the disgust on her voice and facial expression, waving her hand didn’t help.
“I am not doing anything, I can’t do anything, even if I wanted to…”
“Ok, you might not want a guy out of the bar, but… Brad…” she was trying to find a harmless way of saying this, the new lawyer at Barnes and Steel would be perfect for you. “You are coming to have dinner with Mike and I, and you will meet Brad, he is cute as hell, Bibi, tall blonde, sun kiss skin, deep blue eyes, you have…”
“Stop, Valeria, we are not doing this again, I already lost count of how many guys you have tried to hook me up, OMG remember Vladimir Koft?”
We both laughed hard, and we said at the same time “Dracula guy”
“I’m sorry for that piba, I feel sorry for him”.
“You should feel sorry for me, bitch!”
“Don’t ‘hey’ me, if you want someone to suck me up, it better not be my blood girl”
“OMG! Can’t believe you just said that”
We lost track of time, being with my best friend, my sister, my other half, is like going to a different dimension, I will kill for her, I just don’t like how hard she always tries to hook me up, so I can get over Frank, still she have a good point though, I said it myself, it’s a few hours flight, we both make good money so we should be able to see each other if we wanted though, but the fact that he is married, well, I forbid him, I do not believe in destroying a family, or having any kind of relationship with a taken man, however, here I am, having a virtual relationship with him.
I can’t innocently call it friendship because I desire him in every possible way a woman can crave a man, I know he feels the same, he says it out loud, I try not to be so expressive, for my own protection, but my friend is right, I keep holding myself back from dating, from taking a better position at work because I am always waiting for him, planning that I could be Mrs. Brown.
1 - Confessions
I can’t remember the last time I woke up without the memory of her curly hair framing her doll face, her smile always sweet and warm, or her eyes, God! Her eyes, hazel dark green with a hint of honey, as sweet as she can be… well, Bianca’s sweet like.
Confession: I think of you. I have told her so many times this week that I already lost count.
Bianca is my first thought every morning and my last every night, I look forward to the time I will talk to her again, even when it’s only through a video call…
“Mr. Brown? Hello Mr. Brown, can you hear me?
Lola my secretary calls me back to reality from the frame door of my office… but I can only think of the last picture that Bianca sent to me, I can’t stop wondering how I have lived all this time without having her physically in my life.
“Yes Lola, the whole building can hear you, but I am about to start a meeting on video conference, so please, unless it’s the Director, do not interrupt me and close the door I ordered her.
I see Lola making a face, something bugs her, not as much as it bugs me the way she looks at me while turning on her heels to leave my office, that Woman can’t be more obvious… No way Jose!
I dial Bianca’s cell number, crossing my fingers hoping she can take the call, I can barely wait to tell her about how she makes me lose my sleep because I can’t stop fantasizing about her like a teenager.
“Hey Francisco, how was your night? Good Morning!
I adore you, I said, before she can say anything else. Bianca has that maniac of Mexicanizeing everything from when we were little kids, including my name; Francisco Cafe, she would call me “must be because she grew up in Mexico, who knows, but it’s adorable”.
“I have a confession to make, I thought about you all night long, and when I finally fell as sleep, I dreamt about you”, I told her.
“I’m guessing you will tell me with full color details, you pervert, what was the dream about?” her eyes widened with curiosity.
“Should I better tell you what I had to do because of it?” I joked
“Don’t even start with that” she was trying to be serious, but she was smiling widely.
“You have no idea what you do to me” I said grabbing my crotch, I loved her smile, sweet but flirty, that smile made me hard, without her trying at all, she will always say.
As usual she asked me to stop with it and tells me she must go back to work.
I am left alone just savoring the effect her expression has over my body, the image of her is hovering on my mind and I notice the fire she lights on my skin every time we talk, have I ever told her I love her accent when she speaks? I don’t think so! Pretty sure she will laugh about it.
“Nothing wrong with an accent”, she will point out.
I am stuck in meetings the rest of the afternoon, the Director is a short guy in every sense, a short person with a short temper, a real pain on my back, every deadline he asks is from yesterday, nothing can wait, and nothing is less important than the things he asks one minute before.
“We need to gain the contract with the vineyard, Brown, a lot is depending on you doing a good job, you need to get your crap together, I don’t care if you have to break the rules, you get that signature, you hear me, Brown?” He said in a harsh tone.
“Director, my apologies, I have never had to break, not even bend, a company policy and I won’t start now”.
“We have a deadline, Brown, even if you have to sleep with the owner’s daughter, you get that contract. Understood? His voice was so loud that it makes the windows tremble.
I can’t believe what he just said, that is inappropriate in so many ways. I refrain my tongue, but I made sure my expression tells him how offended I am with his comment. I wish I can take this to the VP’s Council, but it’s better to leave it alone, I prefer to focus on the presentation I will make to get that contract.
And then, it’s Lola, she keeps flirting with me, every passing day is more obvious, and more annoying, like when she brings me coffee, she walks behind me and “accidentally” rubs her boobs on my back, I have asked her to leave my coffee on the table, but she pretends she can’t hear me.
I told Bianca the other day and she thinks I should talk to Human Resources about it before Lola makes a move and turn the whole thing against me.
I think it’s a little too extreme, but I will have to have a conversation with her once and for all about it, otherwise I will indeed talk to HR about it as Bianca suggested, I hate when Bi is right, but Bi is always right.
Friday finally! At 5:00 PM I’m out, I’m going with Carl O’Malley, my best friend, and Irish-American I met after College at my first real job.
He likes to go to the Irisher Saloon, a bar down the street from our Advertising Firm, I have no desire to go back home to my almost ex-wife, I will do anything not to see her, it’s been months since the last time we had sex. I’ve been asking her the divorce a few times already, no responses ever, not even to fight with me, she just ignores me.
Carl is talking about some college football game on TV, I have no desire to follow or watch. While I sip on my beer, a tall, hot, big boob, brainless blonde approaches us, I make a move very fast before Carl can even react, even when I don’t like blondes, must be because I am married to one but who cares, I need action!
“Buy me a drink”, says the blonde
“What would you like?” I asked her and wave the waitress to come over us
“What about sex…” she made a pause, “on the beach?”
“Sex…” I made a pause, mirroring her tone, “on the beach will be”.
Easy piece. We talked a little, her conversation is even shallower than Carl’s, and based only on sex, Carl almost chocked on his drink.
After a few minutes blondie’s friend join us, she’s a cute brunette with wavy hair, better dressed than “blondie what’s your face again”? Seems like Carl will have company too, and even better than mine… He will rub it on my face tomorrow.
An hour passes by and I ask this girl if she will like to have one more drink at a hotel nearby, she says yes immediately, we say our goodbyes and went to the hotel.
In the morning I go out for a run, the weather is not so bad for September in Richmond, the temperature is nice, and it’s not so hot today. I made plans with my little brother Fabio to get lunch together, we might go visit the old ones today too, anything to be away from that crazy yoga pants back at home.
Fabio and I orders wings and beer at Buffalo’s, nothing too much, mom says we have to eat at her house, but we need the men’s talk, my bother says things are getting even harder with his ex, she won’t let him see his child this weekend, or the following weekend, or better yet, he can forget about seeing his child for the rest of the weekends this month.
“Man! That sucks, I guess it’s the only thing I can be grateful, that I don’t have kids with Mrs. Loose Screws, two fail marriages, imagine what those crazy women will do if we had kids together, probably they would use it against me”.
“Having a child is a blessing Frank, but, when things don’t work out in the marriage, having a kid is painful because moms forget that the one suffering the most, when they decide to take revenge on us with the kids, is the kid himself, seems like my ex and your almost ex are flour from the same sack.
“Yeah, crazy, huh?”
“Did you ever find out what happened to Marcia? Speaking about crazy ex’s” he said casually
“Yeah, I know. I prefer not to talk about her”, I cut the conversation sharply
My brother made a face, I am not ready to talk about my first wife, I have never spoken to anyone about what happened to her, I might have to talk about her, but not now, not with Fabio, to a therapist, maybe.
We got to our parents’ house, after diner I volunteered to help my mom with the dishes, as soon as we finish the task my dad and Fabio pour us some red wine, my parents are holding hands while we watch the sunset, I turn sarcastically and asked my parents how they felt about their two sons failing in their marriages, they laughed and said it’s our problem, they did their job raising us well, but if we decide to fuck it up, well, is our choices.
Monster wife is my second failure, at least Fabio walked the walk of shame only once, and had only one child with his high school sweetheart, he was so crazy about her, that he followed herto her church and changed the path we were taught, I always wondered what would have been if I had married Bianca instead of my two ex-wives.
We are on our way back to Richmond after spending the weekend with our old folks, dad took us out to fishing on Sunday while mom went to church, can’t deny, it was so relaxing, so peaceful… Monday morning back to reality, back to women I don’t like and women who will eat me out without compassion.
Fabio was driving and stare at the road and out of nowhere he asked me “do you remember the summers we spend in Mexico? I think last time I felt this relaxed was when me met the Castro sisters”, he said with a tiny smile
“How can I forget? I remember the whole thing like it was only yesterday” I got quiet staring out the window and thinking about Bianca.
We shared an instant connection; she became my friend instantly while she was climbing a tree at the backyard.
I was a little embarrassed because I was too chicken to follow her up the tree, so I was just standing there on the ground while she was jumping from branch to branch, holding my breath afraid she would fall, I was just a little city coward, the highest thing I would ever climb was a slider on a water park, but never a tree, and especially not that high mesquite.
“Confession “said Bianca, when she climbs down the tree, this is the first time I get in this one, we always choose the ones at the front of the house, those are easy, but this one… I was always scared of this one”.
“Why did you climb it then?” I asked her
“I liked the face you made, and I liked the challenge” she explained and laughing while we walked back to the house at dinner time.
The Sun was going down and her sweet childish smile framed her cute face. We were just kids, so I couldn’t give a name to the “thing” I was feeling. It was an inexplicable urgency of holding her hand while we walked, a painful need of feeling her skin against mine… Bianca was a happy naughty girl, with a smile so bright that will fill the room of her.
She was loud too, and her curly hair was everywhere, and the way she walked, damn, I can put a name on it now that I am a 36 years old man and the only thing I can think of is her, how come I let life took us apart?