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Magic.

Published July 13, 2014 by The Blanquita

He stepped out of his red BMW and without hesitation we were intertwined. His mouth pressed against mine, my body leaning into his and vice versa. My high heels stood in between his designer, leather loafers. The heat between us was palpable.

I was twenty and this was my first real, adult relationship. And in retrospect, that was a clear sign that I had a whole lot to learn. The relationship smelled like whiskey, looked like sex and in reality was pure trouble.

That evening he picked up the check for me and another couple I had invited along. To be honest, he wasn’t all that much to look at. He was a wiry and slightly scarred, walking coloring book for the disturbed. He had thick Indio hair,  a slightly over-sized nose and a thin, wide-set mouth that was either part of a frown or a smirk. Or both. He was the only person I knew who could pull off both. Not much upon first glance. But there was an innate air of sex that he omitted. I still can’t put my finger on it.

Maybe it was the way he spoiled me. Something that any 20-year-old girl could be tempted by. He would wait patiently in brightly lit stores among the other bored boyfriends. Except, he was eager and sweet. Offering to pay for anything I liked. Designer sunglasses, perfume, dresses and dinners at fancy restaurants were all part of the package. I had never been materialistic, but a girl would have to be cuckoo not to appreciate such a generous demeanor.

He was a two-time Iraq War Veteran at twenty four and being the loyal patriot I was, I was impressed. Despite his small and scarred frame, etched with disturbing tattoos, he had an overwhelming sense of masculinity. He had a rather confusing mix of American mixed with Colombian, masculine mixed with stylish, sweet mixed with sour, that all added up to endearing in my eyes.

Perhaps the country bumpkin in me was impressed by such things. Perhaps the inner little girl thought she had met her rough around the edges Prince Charming. Who knows, but whatever the reason I was hooked.

I have managed to go 25 years without any drugs except for J.

It didn’t take long for the honeymoon phase to be over. The excessive lifestyle that we lead together also included over-the-top drinking and fighting. There was rarely a rendezvous that didn’t include us yelling about something petty. One of those topics was a hunch that he was being flirtatious with one of his best friends’ girlfriends. A tall, skinny, woman with a big nose and no lips. Nothing like the curvy Latinas one would normally find in Miami. She was saved under her name and “My Love” in his phone.

Although the argument had ended and I had met her and attempted to form a friendship, I would later learn that they were hooking up shortly after our breakup. There goes that Miami mentality for you. A friend one minute, sleeping with your ex the next.

It’s amazing what you’ll overlook when you haven’t yet learned your value as a woman and haven’t stepped into your own. I was still a confused college student who had seen little of the world or the people in it. I wanted to believe in “The One” and all that entailed. But eventually the relationship ended and we went our separate ways. I later found out he cheated with at least one other woman, although I suspect there were more.

It didn’t matter. Where one love had ended another started up. I was hooked on Miami and the magic that filled the city. The lights, the music, the people, the chaos. Everything had me so enthralled, I would spend the next several years trying to get back.

I think back onto my relationship with J and what that started. Maybe I was always meant to meet him. If not for him would I have ever traveled to Miami? I can remember walking down the street on South Beach for the first time and feeling the electricity flow through me. The balmy air teeming with sexual energy. The big leafy palms and the distant beat of drums and horns from the salsa music. Always the salsa music.

It was clear I had formed a bond with the city that wouldn’t end with that relationship. And sure enough, it didn’t.

 

Mistakes

Published December 11, 2013 by The Blanquita

When I was working in Fort Lauderdale I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. While my relationship with my ex was feigning, I found solace in making new friends at work. The job wasn’t in anyway glamorous. I was only making a few dollars over minimum wage and I was a front desk girl employed by a security company. But it was a way to escape arguing and negativity at home.

I had moved to South Florida to be close to E. He had a house already, but since he wanted to put it up for short-sale, we were supposed to find an apartment first. When I found a job sooner than expected, I had a week to move there. I grabbed my personal belongings and the pug puppy he had bought for me, and hit the road.

There was a tornado warning that day. And my knuckles were white as my car crept over the Skyway Bridge going no more than 45 mph. As soon as the skies cleared, so did my mind. I knew that I was taking an important step toward my future. This was the man I wanted to marry. Any arguments we had before, in my head, were a result of the distance. But I soon realized distance may be what was keeping us together.

While he worked long hours as a paramedic, I stayed at home with his family who also lived in the house. I had few friends in Miami and didn’t have many other options other than venturing out alone. His parents tried to be welcoming, but with a language barrier that was difficult. I felt alone and isolated most of the time. I made more phone calls to my family members than I ever had before.

Living in Hialeah proved to be a complete culture shock for me. And as a blonde white girl, I stuck out like a sore thumb. After being followed up after an afternoon jog, I was ready to get out. My lease in St. Pete was almost up and after much prodding, I convinced E to go apartment hunting. We eventually settled on one in Plantation and managed to move all of my belongings out of my old apartment four hours away and into the new one. It was a taxing day for both of us and neither of us were in good spirits. I chalked it up to exhaustion but little did I know this was only a sign of things to come.

I was determined to get into shape so that became my new hobby. After work I spent two hours working out. As I look back I realize it was probably a great distraction. When I was at home, E and I were constantly arguing. Usually, it was because he refused to grow up and clean up after himself. I did the cooking and most of the cleaning, along with working full-time and paying half of the bills. But it was also because he had stopped trying. All the adventure and romance had gone out the window.

Arguments also included his extreme jealousy. He was convinced I was cheating (I wasn’t) and when I did start making friends he got angry about the occasional Friday night out. His insecurity was fueled by the fact that I was keeping myself in shape and he was letting himself go. I would sometimes drive around for hours just to get peace and get away. This only made his suspicions worse. I was miserable and so was he. There were times I tried to reason with him. I tried to talk but he wouldn’t listen.

I knew in my heart it was over but there was still a part of me that loved him. So I stuck around hoping things would work  out. Sure we had our good moments. But they were overshadowed by the bad. I remember vividly one night in particular.

We had gone out (a rare occasion) for ice cream. We came home and attempted to have sex. After he came, he looked at me and said “That was weird huh?”. I was crushed. This relationship was fading fast and I had no control over the outcome. I was a shell of my former independent, confident and carefree self. Instead, I was isolated from my family and isolated by a man who was in control of my living and financial situation. I had never expected to be here. But worse, I started to realize this was exactly where he wanted me.

…To Be Continued