Sunday, December 11, 2011

THE THIRD WHEEL

I like being the third wheel with my married friends. Maybe I need my “couple” fix because my parents are gone. Maybe it’s because the shock of being divorced sneaks up and sucker punches me around holidays. These are the days that I miss my family room with the floors that were never finished. If I really allow myself to think, I will miss my mom’s enchiladas.

Being a third wheel makes me feel like I am a part of something, privy to the intimate nuances that only couples familiar with one another can have. They laugh at inside jokes, and then explain to me and I laugh along, grateful to be welcomed at the cool kids’ table.

After what seems like days, I drive home, to a place where a little white pup is happy to see me, to healthy snacks for one and my closet full of sexy shoes. I tell myself that I’m satiated with the part of me that I’ve missed and failed at, by conversations about home improvement projects, a trip to Smart and Final, sitcom reruns. It’s my polar opposite. I spend time with my couple friends instead of becoming a couple myself. I talk to my best girlfriend, emptying out my head while we sit in our pajamas and I am vulnerable and safe. We listen to salsa music and remember all the dancing we used to do together every weekend with cute ex boyfriends. Her hubby mixes red vodka drinks in shiny martini glasses. She serves tasty homemade soup. I load the dishwasher.

Home. The ocean sparkles under the sun. Later the waves will be audible from across the street after dusk and I'll wear perfume. I’ll be taken to a dinner in a nice restaurant, the door opened for me, my chair pulled out. We will be mindful of good manners.

I see my coffee cup from before I left, almond milk curdled. Puppy is jumping for my attention. I need groceries but not until tomorrow. I look around and think to myself, “Now, where was I?”

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dating Update Part One - For Rafa

When I blogged about my first date after my divorce, my friend Rafa, a single man, was fascinated. I talked about things he'd never considered. One of them was how I had an aversion to mens cologne. Most men seemed to douse themselves in it. I thought it was rude and a way to leave themselves on me. I had to ask first dates not to wear any or very little.

A year and a half later, I ran into Rafa and he asked me how dating was going. I said that I'd have to blog an update for him. There's a lot to say, but for now, here we go.

The first thing that I want to say is that after 10 years of being married, I was completely unprepared to be single again. I used to love dating but after the disappointment of losing my ex husband who I had loved so completely, I had no desire to be out there. My heart was not just broken, it was mangled and completely unrecognizable.

I have concluded that a broken heart should be set in a cast-like state until it is completely healed. We have no business playing on it until then, even though running alongside someone else looks appealing and easy. You risk permanent damage. A broken heart is a "premie" and cannot breathe on its own. Another person is a temporary respirator and when yanked away, it can be fatal.

I ventured out a few times briefly only to reset my heart back in its cast and just sit still. Handsome smiles and "whatcha doin'?" texts started up and stopped, making my phone seem empty.

Tell yourself that it's not loneliness, that it's time to let the noise of arguments die down. It's time to hear your own thoughts emerge. It's time to get rid of toxic friends. It's time to let the compliments set in permanently. It's time to fill doing things you've always wanted to do but couldn't because it didn't work for the relationship. Go to sleep and wake up alone. Be the third wheel with happy couples. Pray. On your knees works best.

Being single again, I found myself standing in the midst of a dating culture of older men going out with younger women and the vice-versa "cougar" thing. Younger men approach me, some knowing my age and others who do not. Yes I look much younger than I am but I have a 25 year old beautiful daughter that would cause a dilemma for most single men of any age if my daughter and I are in the same room at the same time.

In my experience, I've found that the younger man is not jaded. He hasn't been through the trauma of losing his own family to divorce and having his income garnished for a good part of his career. He is ready to have a great time, spend his money, prove himself better than a man my age in every way. He throws himself into a situation without much reservation and is grateful for any attention reciprocated. Even just "Hello" is a big deal. If he doesn't think to pick up the whole tab it's mostly because he hasn't been taught to. He smiles a lot. His wears his heart is on his sleeve.

Younger man to me: Do you date younger men?

Me (after deciding to date again, my own age only): I'm not into the "cougar" thing.

Younger man: I approached you, so in our case you're not a cougar.

A man my age is cautious. He moves forward with well thought out calculations. Even though he's divorced, his ex wife still holds a big place in his life. This is usually because she's the mother's of his children and he respects her place. He may still love her. A big chunk of his income goes to this woman. He's insightful. He provides a peek into other the side of your unanswered questions about your own divorce. He is vulnerability just waiting to happen. It'll take time. Sudden movement may cause him to hide. He knows what works. Things around him are handled. He always picks up the tab.

Insights:

Exes, even from many years ago don't get the "ex" part.
If I met an ex today, I would not date him. I've changed, he hasn't. It's ok.
A person who is "separated" is technically married.
Recent DUIs, living at home long term and cocaine are deal breakers.
If a man says "I'm not that guy," count on the fact that he is.
Sex is sex. Love is love. Don't confuse them.

As I spoke to Rafa the other day, I realized something. It's not cologne that have an aversion to. It's the person wearing it.

After two years, my cast is off. I'm enjoying the sites that one can only take in if we walk. I'm out there again. Some days I skip.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

She's a cool romantic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubs-CwJdMMI

I heard a song that felt like home to me, but I'd actually never heard it before. The voice and lyrics were a place I'd been, a slow dance, something close to someone and I didn't know how to get back there.

How do you get back to that time when everything was still possible? A family with everyone present, a recipe for tamales that was my own, babies and stitches, my parents babysitting, anniversaries with tacky centerpieces. My mother and her sisters laughing, faces made up like Mexican movie stars.

On one of my recent birthdays I was feeling like my best days were behind me when my 88 year old aunt said she wished she was the same age as me. She died later that year with the smooth clear skin of a woman half her age. She made me realize that I still have another life ahead of me and I have no idea what it includes. I've done the marriage and necessary things that came along with it, like lamaze class, refinancing, timeshare. Then I spent tens of thousands of dollars to unravel it and package parenting neatly into alternate weekends. I've had a lot of time in my own company since then and it's been good to get to know me.

Maybe the song is a home in a neighborhood that I've not moved in to yet. Maybe the slow guitar solo is the desire that will be felt again someday. Maybe those lyrics, written by the musician who's passed over a decade ago, was a vision into my future. Could it be the future of my children and their children? Their tacky baby shower games that I can be in charge of? A partner who knows that it matters at the end of the day to tell me how beautiful my daughters are and is grateful that my girls and I let him be a part of us? Little family, huge love. A partner who doesn't mind running for ice because I forgot.

It goes on sleeping.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Telephone Line

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2ds8tCtomQ

"Hey, how you feelin'? Are you still the same? Don't you realize the things we did, we did?"

I grew up in East L.A. in the 70's, when a telephone had a long cord that was secured to the wall. We memorized phone numbers because we dialed them so frequently and if we called someone and they were talking on the phone, we would get a busy signal.

In the 70's the smog was so thick, the city of L.A. would declare smog alerts, keeping us kids inside our homes on certain days during hot summer months.

My mother and her sisters were tragic beauties with the faces of Mexican movie stars and the hearts of orphans. Mom made the best of love and life with Mexican music in our kitchen, in her Chevy cars and at parties in our covered patio.

My brother, cousins and I listened to rock music and coped with the legacy of our mother's broken hearts with things that always seemed to come in baggies. We would pile into my brother's custom van that had a tiny bean shaped window in the back and a velvet gold couch that converted into a bed. My brother would drive us around and there was always a great rock song to sing to and a joke to laugh at.

My dad tended to roses in our garden while my aunt Helen's husband Paul tended to orchids at their home up the hill from us. Helen and I are the youngest of our siblings.

Helen divorced her first husband after having three kids. She started to date again and Paul, who was ten plus years younger than her was her babysitter. My cousins loved him. Paul went to Vietnam and wrote to Helen while he was gone. When he came back they got married and lived happily until he passed away last week.

Helen is the last of my mother's siblings still alive. At the grave site, sitting in a wheelchair with no make-up and short grey hair, all of her grief could not hide her beauty. Big brown eyes, high cheek bones, full lips, nose curved at the tip. Each time she would speak, I'd hear my mother's voice, her intonation, the pause of her breath between words. I sat and held her soft hand with trademark long painted nails.

Helen was ahead of her time, marrying a man so young, having more children as she turned 40. She got a lot of criticism for it over the years but when I saw my five cousins happy with their first and only spouses, I realized that Helen and Paul had it right.

As I started my drive from the east side back to my home at the beach, I sat at a red light in traffic. It was rush hour on a weekday and what I noticed mostly was one hard working Mexican man after another, driving home in their clean trucks after earning an honest day's work. Maybe it was my imagination.

Since then, I've been under a spell of nostalgia. I will never play on the grass of the home I grew up in, chest heavy after breathing a day of bad air. I will never hear my mother laugh with her sisters, or see them dance in custom made dresses that hugged their curves. I would not see our father's in crisp guayabera shirts or smell old spice on my dad's smooth face. I would never be embarrassed by my mother singing a mariachi tune to herself at the market. I would never get that stare from my mother or aunts that would make my cousins and I tremble with fear.

I went to the funeral because my mother would have wanted me to. With all of their differences, those sisters showed up for each other. They learned to do that after their mom, my grandmother who I never met, died when they were little girls. I went to the funeral, selfish, to hear that distinct voice of a dying breed. I went to get the blessing, the sign of the cross on my forehead with soft fingertips when I kissed Helen goodbye.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

jealous c

i wanted to be his guitar
the way he lifted her up in worship
rubbed her curved bottom
against his abs
as he stroked

couldn't he run his fingers
back and forth
across my front?
tease my hollowness?
make me sing?

i wanted him to be excited
to deliberately maneuver me
transfer his creative energy
to my instrumental torso

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Safe

I’ve always loved watching you sleep. Maybe it is the heart shape and proportion of your face, the arch of your eyebrows, your dad’s nose. The inhale and exhale of your breath forms a dry mist glow, a peace vapor. I see you a baby in your crib in a one-bedroom duplex with brown paneled walls, my friends peeking at you, while you sleep, them desperate to have one like you for themselves.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

By Javi Covarrubias

met her in my Loworld
circle of circles
one of the she devil girls
super close to her owners soulmate
old pal.... playmates
since their ages
were a grade....
old friend of friends
new friends made.....
from carshows to cafes
she carries an assortment
names
frankie from the show
franchesca from East LA..
she's also my agent... Lady F.H.
or call her by my fav a k a...
Esa frankie fresh all day
all business
puro play
from the WB
to PCH
see her moving in three hundred fifty seven ways
she's...
she's on her game
powered by delilahs and those beautiful moon...rays
Franks the real deal
ask me ?
and i'll say
she's lived there done that
reality or screen play
there's nothing fake
about her sway
she talks and rocks
in expensive socks
but she never forgot
where she learned to walk
so Cal's lil Valley's steep streets
East Los deadly blocks...
she knows the time
shhhhhh!
just listen and watch.....

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thunderstruck

unruly curly hair misbehaving
heavy metal screaming
house music dancing
french fry eating
personal trainer hiring
no messing, bump a shoulder
mean vodka texting
kiss midwest lips surprise

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Other Side of Pretty Sunday

I am red
in the sea of pinks
natural spun silk skin
unbottled perfume
the wife who stayed too long turned
lover living only in the moment and
no ruffling of day to day feathers
I am two-time single mom
thickness in the world of waifs
a sapphire amongst diamonds
bedroom voice that doesn't translate
in a text