Thursday, August 19, 2010

"NOT YET TITLED"

PREFACE: I wrote this in June of 2009. This is my first attempt at writing in male voice. Have a read and let me know what you think!
Thanks!
____________

It all started with an email. She sent it to me sometime in late December. I had no idea who she was. I only opened it and read it because I thought her last name was different, pretty. It was only after I read it that I realized that yeah, I kinda knew her –by default. You see, a buddy of mine who was a lawyer, had a small practice downtown and I had been trying for months to “hook up” with his receptionist! Nada. Zero. I got nothing! She blew me off,! Ever so politely, but blew me off nevertheless! As a way to “soften” said blow off she offered her friend Bianca as a peace offering. She told me her was a paralegal and was also a writer and thought maybe I should call her up to chat. And as an addendum, “She’s really cute! You’ll love her!” (I dabbled in writing, hence the “writing” connection) Ha! I don’t “call up” anyone. So I vaguely remember agreeing to let her give her friend my email address and left it at that.

Fast-forward a few months later and right before Christmas, there it was, an email from this woman who unbeknown to me at the time, would ultimately become a very important part of my life. The email was short and sweet and very “proper”. Hell, there was not one misspelled word or improper use of the English language at all! For a lover of grammar like myself, this was nirvana! I was impressed!! I read the email and instead of discarding it, put it away for another day. I would reply, just not at that moment. At that moment I had a date and much to do to prepare.

Such was my life back then. I was 31, single, living in a swanky high-rise apartment with a killer view of the city. I stood about 5’11, kept myself in shape, stocky but not fat, dark features, facial hair, was easy on the eyes, cocky, and worked hard but played harder. I drove a car that suited me well. It was fast, expensive and oh so much fun! It was my toy, my baby. Oh yeah, I was also an asshole but could at any given moment, turn into a teddy bear. Those times occurring sparingly of course! But I digress…

The new year began with a bang, a continuation of the previous year. I owned a mortgage company. I started it when I was fresh out of college. A young buck in a zoo filled with piranhas and double-crossing snakes. Ahh, yes, I fit in well! It took me a few years but I built the company up from scratch and went from working out of my one bedroom apartment to moving shop mid-town into a large office building with a full staff to boot! Not bad for a then 24 year old punk like myself. I did alright. Self proclaimed badass and all.

Sigh, so January turned into February. One morning, while clearing out old emails I came across HER email. Bianca. Yeah, the woman that had emailed me months before. That was her name, Bianca Torneo. Hmm, I read it again and this time instead of discarding it, I replied. I apologized for not writing back sooner, work and time escaped me, blah, blah, blah, and I extended my hand in friendship to her. “Send” and off it went into cyber land. She responded a few days later. And that’s how it began. It wasn’t long before we were chatting back and forth on a daily basis. And not just once a day, it was continuous throughout the course of the day. I found myself looking forward to reading her emails. Answering her questions, asking my own. The beginning was easy, her questions posed to me were “What do you do for a living?” Where did you go to school?”, mundane stuff like that. But then one day, she asked me, “So who are you? Who is Alex Cordova?” I thought a lot before responding. I wasn’t used to answering such an in depth question about myself. Especially to someone whom I’d never met. Our friendly banter was different for me. I was not sure why I had not made a move to meet her. Not even her phone number!! What the hell was wrong with me??? I mean, we did have phones after all! But I dunno, I kind of enjoyed the mystery. I wondered what her voice sounded like all the time. We exchanged photos at the very beginning of our email “relationship”. Being the total guy that I was, I wanted to know if she was hot, worth getting to know. I know, I know, typical male! Hey, at least I was living up to the reputation! I sent her various pictures of me in rather precarious positions. She told me I was “cute” –haha, that’s what she said. Her pictures? Hmm, though she was not someone I would typically be attracted to or dare I say it, “hot”, she was cute. What beautiful eyes she has. That’s what I thought when I saw her picture. Totally borrowing the big, bad wolf’s line I know. She was adorable. And so, our exchanges continued.

Somewhere after our third month of “email exchanges” she threw all caution to the wind and simply asked in an email, “If I give you my number, will you call me?” To which I coyly replied, “Why don’t you give it to me and find out?” Yeah I know, lame but it worked. She sent me her phone number and the ball was now in my court. The thing is I really enjoyed our psuedo relationship that we had developed these last few months. Truly, it was really cool. It was separate from my real life. I mean, I hadn’t told anyone that I was emailing a woman I had never met before. Are you kidding me? The guys would never let me live it down!! They’d laugh in my face! I kind of liked keeping that apart from that which was my life. She had become my escape. I told her about my bad days, my good days. My dates, my relationships, or lack thereof. She did the same. We were becoming friends. Maybe even confidantes. And I liked it.

I called her the night she gave me her number. We talked for hours that night! Learned more about her. She was eleven years older than me, (the Mrs. Robinson reference was made throughout the course of that conversation), she was a paralegal but also aspired to become a writer, she didn’t beat around the bush and I liked that. She was direct, and didn’t play those silly mind games. Honest to a fault! And she laughed. A lot! Sometimes at me, most of the time at me, and sometimes at herself!

We chatted about everything and anything. It was as if we just continued our emails. Well not totally, I mean, I could tell she was nervous in the beginning and she giggled a lot. She said I sounded just as she had imagined. I told her I thought she had a very, very hot voice! Which she really did! I told her and she told me I was full of shit! See? She “got” me. –But her voice was hot!

Life went on and I even dated here and there –we both did actually. Just not each other. It was funny because as soon as the date was over we’d call each other for a play-by-play recap and analyze the date to death or laugh about it. I did start semi dating someone for “awhile” (anything more than a month falls under this category) Lisa and I began dating off and on for a about three months. During this time, I still maintained my relationship with Bianca. I’d call her on the sly. Or text her. Or meet her on the cam at odd hours of the night or wee early mornings. Heh. I mean, we were friends right? What harm was being done? Lisa didn’t last and so I was soon on the prowl again.

Nine months after my “cyber/phone” relationship with Bianca began, we met. It was a Thursday night. Which to me meant it was the beginning of my weekend. I always treated Thursday nights as a precursor to Friday! So it was no surprise that I was feeling pretty good when I called her up. I knew she was out with friends and was probably almost if not more drunk than me. “Hello?” she yelled into her phone. I could hear music blaring and laugher and just, noise. “Hold on Alex! I can’t hear you!” I waited till I heard her voice again. This time the background was quiet. “Still there?” she asked.

“What are you doing?” I asked her.

“Waiting for you to come and meet me!” she replied.

I could almost see the smile on her face when she said it. We teased about meeting each other all the time. It was almost like we were daring one another to do it. Knowing neither of us would. Not really sure why not…

“I dunno, don’t want to disappoint you…” I said in the most “woe is me” voice I could muster up.

“Oh please!” was her sarcastic response.

And then, “Come on! Let’s meet!” she persisted. Her infectious giggles followed.

“Alright, alright, worse things have happened. About time I put you out of your misery anyway!” I said smugly.

“Oh whatever! You’re the one that is suffering!!!” was her comeback.

She told me to meet her at her place. She said she was already going home and I should just meet her there.

And just like that, we agreed to meet that night. Now remember, I had never met her in person. I didn’t know what she looked like, well, only in pictures, and the good ol web cam. Weird. But I knew where she lived. I told her I would see her in a few minutes. I was literally five minutes from her place. I finished up my drink and told my buddies I was done and left.

She lived in a quiet neighborhood. Lots of apartment complexes lined the streets. Very quaint. I parked my car and proceeded to walk into the complex. She lived on the second floor.

Now, let me just say that I was nervous as hell! This woman had been a daily part of my life for almost a year and I was finally going to meet her in person. Kind of took the buzz I was enjoying away!

I knocked on the door, took a deep breath, and waited.

The door opened and there she stood.

The first thing I noticed about her was her hair. She had a lot hair! It was brownish with tinges of red. Very curly and sort of disheveled. The second thing I noticed about her was her eyes. They were beautiful almond shaped, big, brown, with long eyelashes to shield them.

“Hi! “ She stood behind the door half open and just had the biggest smile on her face. She was still wearing her night attire. It consisted of nice fitting jeans, very revealing (but in a good way) blouse and really high heels.

“Are you going to hug me or what?” she asked smiling.

I hugged her. She held on to me for what seemed like forever. She smelled really good. I remember that to this day.

I walked into her place. It was very much her. Comfortable. Lots of books. strewn about. Gave a warm and fuzzy feeling as you walked in.

“So good to finally meet you!” she gushed.

I smiled at her. “You’re short!” I towered over her at 6’0. She was barely 4’11.

She hit my arm, “Yeah whatever dork!”

I made myself at home while she went and changed into pjs. Ha, no nothing lacy or naughty. She came back in these loose white pants and a black short tee shirt. Her heels were gone and she was barefoot. We sat down on the couch. She sat close to me. Thisclose. She was very animated with her hands and she touched me the whole time as she spoke.

“I’m nervous. Are you?” Hey eyes looked up at me and then shyly and quickly looked away.

“Not anymore. Hard part’s over.”

My answer seemed to relax her. She offered me something to drink, I settled for a beer. She poured herself a glass of wine and returned to me, er, the couch. Music was coming through the speakers on the wall. Soft, jazzy sounds of Sting played for our entertainment.

“So I’m still nervous” she said almost in a whisper.

‘So I’m still drunk” I responded.

Then she asked me if I would give her a hug.

I put my beer down and wrapped my arms around her. We stayed like that for a long time. Just holding each other on the couch.

Yeah I know, what was I waiting for and why had I not used my “sure fire”, “no miss” moves on her??? I don’t know. Fuck! I don’t know!!

We sat in silence for a few more minutes, her head resting on my shoulder and her hand entwined with mine.

“Alex, I really want to kiss you.”

Wait. What? See, it’s not like we hadn’t talked about it before. How it would be when we finally met. Hell, there was enough sexual tension in our telephone and email conversations alone! Not to mention our web cam interludes! Now here she was, real, in my face…

I gently caressed her face with my hand, which she kissed.. I nuzzled her neck gently, working my way to her mouth.

It was sweet.

We continued to kiss like that for what seemed like hours. Getting to know each other’s mouths, our hands caressing, soft moans…

Our making out continued into the wee hours of the morning. In between “catching our breath” breaks we’d talk softly, about everything, about nothing. Neither of us showing the remote interest in saying goodbye. We fell asleep in each other’s arms.

The following morning I awoke to the smell of coffee and a sweet voice,

“Wake up sleepy head!” It was Bianca.

I slowly opened my eyes and tried to remember where the hell I was. Ahh yes, Bianca’s apartment.

“We fell asleep!” It was more of a question than a statement.

She laughed and said, “Yeah, some hard core party animals we are!”

I sat up on the sofa and took the cup of coffee she handed to me.

She looked like she had been up for awhile. She was dressed in work attire and hurrying about.

“I’ll get out of here so you can do your thing!” I said as I savored the hot, brewed cup of coffee.

“No don’t hurry on my account. Stay as long as you want. I’ve got to get to the office but you can stay. Just lock the door on your way out.”

She was smiling, and sitting beside me on the couch. I still had morning voice and felt like crap. Being hung over and scared mindless will do that to you.

She laughed and kissed my cheek, “You’re adorable in the morning!”

“You must still be drunk!” I shot back at her.

“Ha! Smart ass!” she replied.

I rubbed my eyes tight, trying to make them focus and to give me time to think of what to say. For the first time in my life I had nothing to say. Or rather, I did, but I felt nervous and dammit, dare I say it? Happy. There, I said it. Alex Cordova had just spent the night with a woman and nothing happened, well apart from the kisses, and he was happy. Giddy almost. Huh, imagine that!

“What are you grinning about?”

I looked at her and said, “Thinking what a pair we are, falling asleep like that!”

She laughed. “Uh and for the record you snore!”

“Me? Never!”

I stood up and got ready to leave.

“You can stay I told you…”

“Thanks I know, but I better get home, check on the office…”

We walked hand in hand to the front door. She locked it. and we walked down the stairs.

“I’m so glad we finally met!” she gushed.

“Me too. So, have a good day! Call you later…”

We kissed quickly, rather abruptly and that was partly my fault. I just had the sudden urge to get the hell away from there.

Here’s the thing, I know she liked me. I know that she was attracted to me. She confessed her attraction to me one night in an email. We were fighting actually. I said something that offended her and she shot back at me and in the end, I apologized and she professed her “crush” to me. She made it too easy for me. I knew that I could call her at any minute of the day or night and she would literally drop whatever she was doing for me. I’m not being cocky either, ok, maybe a little bit. But it was true. The girl was crazy about me and I took advantage of that. Of course I see that now, but back then, back then I didn’t have a clue.

That was the first and last time I saw her. Almost a year ago. I never called her again. She emailed me a few times, asking what was wrong, asking why I was being such a jerk. I never responded. I still have the messages my secretary gave me. I kept them to remind myself what an ass I was. What can I say? I lived up to my name: Asshole Alex.

Now you might be thinking, “Hell he’s a nut job!” or maybe even, “She should keep running and fast!” Yeah, I agree. The thing is I don’t know why I ran. I liked her. I was attracted to her and found her to be so sweet, and loving with a sense of humor almost as crazy as mine. Why then, would I just run away from that??? Sigh, I don’t know.

I never told anyone. And I avoided my buddy’s law firm like the plague. His receptionist would no doubt shoot me upon sight! I was running out of excuses not to go there!

Life continued. My business boomed. I met a woman, we started dating and fell in love. I allowed myself to let her into my solitary world, my inner circle as it were. Things were great. Or I willed them to be. But in the back of my mind I thought of Bianca. I wondered how she was, if she was happy, if she ever forgave me…

My rationing of my behavior towards her was that I would only have hurt her in the long run, so I softened the blow so to speak. Yeah, yeah I know, lame and crappy and a real jerk. But that is how I handled the guilt. I still was not sure what the hell made me run! The fact that she “might” make me happy? The fact that I could fall for her? Whatever. It’s done. I was with Melissa now.

I continued with my life and the uphill and downhill battles that confronted me. I put Bianca to rest. Never imagining that I would ever see her again. But alas, a good friend of mine called Karma, made sure that the total opposite would occur.

I walked into my office one day to find a fed ex box laying on my desk.

“Priscilla what’s this?” I yelled at my secretary.

I picked it up, it was addressed to me not my company.

I opened it. It was a book. A brand spanking new book at that! One of those hard backs. “To He Who Shall Remain Nameless” –that was the title of the book. Who would send me a book???? I was about to throw it aside when I glanced at the author’s name –Bianca Tornero. My heart began to race.

I fell into my chair, still holding the book. There was no note. Nothing. Heh, not even an autograph from her! Just the book. Being the cocky, arrogant bastard that I am, I quickly opened it and went to the dedicatory portion of the book. Wow, amazingly, no mention of me! Haha Just the title, “To He Who Shall Remain Nameless”. I read the entire book that afternoon. I ignored phone calls, canceled meetings and holed myself up in my office until the very last word was read. And when I was finished, I felt like the biggest loser in the universe. While the book was fiction, the premise of the story and the main character –the villain, was me. Of course she didn’t call me out. She was too classy for that. So she used her words to cut to the very core of my existence, of my soul, to tell how much I hurt her.

“Don’t hang up it’s me, Alex.”

Sometime in the middle of the night I called her. I had never erased her phone number from my phone. I only hoped it was still the same. And when she answered, and I heard her voice, I almost jumped for joy!

I realized that there was no response to my plea.

“Bianca? Hello? Are you still there?”

“What do you want Alex?”
She sounded sleepy. I guess she would at 3:00 in the morning.

“I uh, I got the book. Congratulations! You did it! I’m sure it will be a best seller!”

“This is why you woke me up?”

“I need to see you. I need to explain…”

”There is nothing to explain. I don’t want to see you. Ever. Let this be the last time you contact me Alex. I sent you the book because I wanted you to have it. I wanted you to know…” her voice broke.

“I’m sorry! I’m so sorry! I never meant to hurt you…”

“Good bye Alex.”

“Wait, Bianca I …”

The line went dead.

Dammit! My numerous attempts to contact her were futile. She never answered again.

That night was the last time I ever heard from her.

So my life, well Melissa and I split up shortly after the Bianca fiasco. I realized that I didn’t love Melissa. Not the way she wanted me to and certainly not the way she deserved.

A little too late I realized I was in love with Bianca.

I’ve read articles and books about women trying to figure out men and how in the end, when all is said and done, they can’t. No one can. Who knows why I acted the way I did with Bianca. Why I ran from something that might have turned into something beautiful. Who knows!? Certainly not me.

A long time ago I met a woman that would teach me how to be happy with myself, to laugh, to love

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