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The end of the affair

About three weeks had passed since I’d last spoken to Ojitos.

At this point, I didn’t even want to talk to him. I wouldn’t have called if not for my colorful book full of calacas and other Día de los Muertos imagery. I wanted that book back. I hate when you split up with someone and he keeps your stuff. Ojitos had my book and I had a mix CD he’d left at my apartment a few weeks earlier. A book for a CD. Fair exchange, right?

My message was rather curt. I didn’t ask how he was doing, didn’t say “hope you’re doing well” in a fake voice. I just wanted my book.

I figured once I got my book and gave him his CD, that’d be it. No more Ojitos.

I know what you’re thinking.

No, you didn’t miss anything.

***

Ojitos and I dated for about three months.

The middle was just as fun as the beginning. That’s when I got to know and like him better. He wasn’t nearly as swoon-worthy as he was when I first met him, but he was good to me and I was good to him.

Of course, there were things he would do (rather, wouldn’t do) that bugged. In the interest of being drama free, I let those things slide. It’s easy to make excuses and remind yourself that the good far outweighs the bad… especially when you’re smitten.

***

We’d been dating for a couple of months when things just started to feel wrong.

I complained to a friend about Ojitos’ inaction. She recommended a self-help book. I looked for it at the local branch of the public library. I felt pathetic checking out the book, but it was worth the humiliation.

At home I quickly finished the short book. I laughed aloud at the amusing anecdotes, but I also got angry. I hadn’t figured out why or how Ojitos could be thoughtful and sweet one week and basically ignore me the next.

I’d been ignoring and pushing the evidence out of my mind. I had to focus on my exam. Boy troubles were a distraction I couldn’t afford. Once I’d completed the exam, I had plenty of time to think about all the signals and draw my own conclusion.

For the second time that evening, I felt my ego take a hit.

***

A few minutes after I called about my book, Ojitos returned my call.

“I was about to pick up the phone when you called,” he explained. “Will you be home later so I can take the book?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright, I’ll be over in a little bit.”

He arrived in the middle of Pushing Daisies. I didn’t bother turning off the TV.

He looked different. He no longer had a goatee and instead had a full beard. He handed me my book. I tried to return the mix CD, but he insisted I keep it.

We sat down on the uncomfortable couch near the window, the perfect place for an awkward conversation.

He began with the apology, you deserve better, blah blah blah. I tuned it out in favor of Ned, Emerson and Chuck. When it came time for me to say something, all I could muster was a terse, “I have nothing to say.”

Chuck and Ned’s romance and pies distracted me.

After a few minutes of silence, I decided small talk would be better than break up talk. After all, I hadn’t talked to him in a few weeks. I asked about work and his niece and his birthday and admitted that I didn’t think I’d passed my exam.

The bright colors of Pushing Daisies faded to some other sitcom about rich white people.

I turned to Ojitos and got back on topic. I honestly explained that I was upset and why. I wasn’t mean. Just honest.

“Do you hate me?” he asked.

“No…” I responded. “I’m a forgiving person.”

A few minutes in to the 11 o’clock news the small talk died down.

“I have to go,” Ojitos said.

“Okay, I’ll walk you out.”

I walked him down the driveway.

“You don’t have to walk me to my car,” he said.

“I want to. After all, it’s not like I’m ever going to see you again,” I stated matter-of-factly.

“Ouch,” he said as he made his way to his car a block away.

“Well, it’s a big city. I didn’t meet you before the party. I doubt I’ll run in to you again,” I reasoned.

“I guess…”

We arrived at his car a minute later.

We hugged and said goodbye.

And that was it.

Fin

Standard

26 thoughts on “The end of the affair

  1. Aimee says:

    Hello Cindy, I’ve been a lurker for awhile but read this and had to post. Sounds to me like this guy is afraid of commitment and it has nothing to do with you but him and his issues. Gosh sometimes I just hate boys but you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. I really hope you find a good guy you truely deserve it:)

  2. Bea says:

    I agree with Gustavo…WTF. Not even a picture? If this was yesterday, I would have believed it to be a grand April Fool’s joke, but come on…great story telling and then this….sorely disappointed Cindy! 😦

  3. Ugh. That sucks! This keeps happening to so many great mujeres I know. I was recently talking to a guy-friend about how often men have just stopped calling–or randomly broken up out of the blue, despite saying so many sweet things just days before. He said that when he first starts dating a woman, he wants her to like him, so he acts extra nice and basically leads her on from the start. Then once she’s hooked, he decides if he really wants to date her. (He fully admitted that this was a self-confidence problem, but didn’t say he’d change his approach.) The thing is, these are great guys–they’re not jerks, they’re really smart, they’re thoughtful and sweet, they know basic feminist theory… But they aren’t being real. It sounds like you were real from the start–even if you claim to have missed the signs. I wish I had a formula for finding the realness–because then, things would just be so much easier.

  4. What were the things he ‘would not do’ or his ‘inaction?’

    Were you both clear on what you wanted? Did you or he say “I want a steady relationship. A girl/boyfriend and all that label entails?”

    I know that is rare to say, but believe me when you put it like that you really cut all the fat and the people who can’t deal with that. Which are the ones who will stop calling eventually. It took me a long time to learn this, but it really is that simple.

  5. Sorry to hear about your break up. His loss. Looking at the brightside, you figured out pretty quickly that the relationship was going nowhere.

    Did you make a “break up” mix CD? You know, with “break up” songs or survivor songs. Maybe you could compile a list. The obvious song on the list would be “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. All the ladies used to flock to the dance floor with that one.

  6. Letty says:

    mejor sola que mal acompanada… but his timing sucked. was the book, by any chance, hjntiy? i read that when i had a similar experience. 4 months later i met my husband!

  7. LAruca says:

    Now I find it is better to accept your books, cds, lost earring, etc as casualties of dating. Trust this old ruca, it is just easier to say good bye and let go of the “things” — which can be replaced then sit through those awkward moments or even to call and volunteer to sit through that awkward moment — just buy a new book 😛

    It is hard to care about someone and let go, but I think we tend to believe that people “owe us” in relationships. Matters of the heart just do not work that way, there are no guarantees.

    Just admit it, you wanted to have it out with him, which is ok — but so not about the book.

  8. Sweet nothings within the first few months of a relationship don’t usually amount to much; the real meanings of what is to follow come later. Finding the right person for you takes more than just cheap gifts and easy words, take your time.

  9. cindylu, we need the rotten ones to recognize when the authentic one arrives. your fab and i’m sure que los galanes te van a sobrar.

  10. Lo siento chica, but I gotta agree with la rebelde here. It seems like he got some issues he needs to figure out. Something similar just happened to a friend of mine: she was dating this guy (not boyfriend/girlfriend but “exclusive”, whatever the hell that means, i think it means he’s afraid of commitment) and he broke up with her, telling her the “i’m not good enough for you” line. I think the basic translation of that is “I’m a fuck-up in relationships and not man enough to own up to it”.

  11. Aimee,
    Thanks for coming out of the shadows of lurking. I definitely can’t live without the guys. I think that’s part of the trouble.

    Gustavo,
    Does that mean you’re surprised? I so shoulda posted this on the 1st. Folks woulda been as confused as your readers were with your retirement of Ask a Mexican.

    Bea,
    Are you disappointed because of how the story ended? Sorry. I was getting tired of it and figured I might as well skip to the end. That’s the way it happened. My life is no fairy tale.

    Rebelde,
    I was talking about this with a younger mujer. We were trying to figure out why “down” Chicanos would still make bad boyfriends or partners or whatever.

    P-3000,
    Early on, he wouldn’t call me back ’til a few days later. The inaction later was just not calling back. As for clarifying what we wanted, I didn’t date him too long and felt it was a bit early for such a conversation. I also didn’t feel the need to say anything because I was getting what I wanted (early on).

    TacoSam,
    No breakup mix CD, but if you count the CD he left at my place then I did listen to some of those types of songs.

    Letty,
    Simple saying, but it works. What’s Hjntiy?

    LAruca,
    But it was my book! You don’t know how much I love my books. And that one was signed by the author too. I wasn’t about to just buy a new copy. But yeah, there was more to it. I didn’t want to “have it out.” I’m not like that, but I did expect some apology and a real ending not just something that fizzled out.

    El Chavo,
    There were no cheap gifts here 😀

    GD,
    Thanks.

    Irasali,
    Gracias, mujer.

    Steve,
    Nah, dude has better vision than me. Pero, gracias.

    Chicana Skies,
    Oh wow. I heard that “I’m not good enough” line before. Not in this case. It’s so annoying.

    Veronica,
    Harsh words! I wasn’t even that mean. As for “el que sigue,” I’m not looking (except if he wants to be my concert buddy). I need to get focused on my school work. A guy would just distract me.

  12. cindy,
    what does ojitos mean? i know its you secret spy term for dudes you’re dating, but does it mean something?
    also, you should use different ojito-like names for the different dudes because i’m getting real confused. because you’re dating a guy now, right? or is this the same one?
    or have i been in bangladesh so long, my intestines ravaged by parasites, that my brain is also slowing dying and i have no idea whats going on!

  13. After years of messed up relationships I learned it is never too early to state what you want and to stick to it. You know when you meet them where it is going, don’t fool yourself thinking that it will grow into more, even if it feels like that. Remember those first moments, that is how it is, and will be.

  14. Hijoles, you were in a relationship? I figured with all your schooling you probably didn’t have time. Pues it’s true, being in a relationship would just distract you on your studies or whatever else you have your mind set too. No te conosco personally, pero I get that vibe from you that your a very strong young woman…keep your head up!

  15. Amy,
    Ojitos means little eyes. If you remember me mentioning X last fall, then that was this guy. If I date again, I’ll use secret spy nicknames. It’ll be just like high school. And ouch to parasites… eek.

    Punk Rock Mom,
    You know, I could have hyped it for weeks that the ending was coming like they do on the actual telenovelas. Oh well. Abrupt, yes. Sad, then yes. No I just shrug and keep it moving.

    P3000,
    I messed up in my response. I said that early on he was flaky. That wasn’t true. Early on he was super cool. Middle was just cool and that’s when I’d get annoyed sometimes. For me it takes some time to figure out things, especially if I’m going through the process of getting to know him and he’s doing the same.

    Desert Chicano,
    I’ve dated off an on throughout grad school (not the same guy, of course). There’s always time for relationships and friends and family. You just gotta prioritize and be good with time management.

  16. Veronica says:

    LOL… I’m am a little harsh.. I always try to be the “winner” sort to speak.. Im the one that dumps not the that gets dumped… I am the enemy of rejection! lol… your comment got me thinking… how did I become this harsh?..I will have to think about this one… I hope you find the concert buddy you are looking for.

  17. diana says:

    hola cindylu!

    I liked the ending to your story… I mean, it sucks, but it’s how it happens, and it sounds like you were more disillusioned by ojitos, rather than hurt. It started out well, but it wasn’t really working for either of you, right? i hate that that’s the way it goes.

  18. Gustavo Arellano says:

    I was muy surprised, Cindy. Again: screw grad school, and become a writer away from the bloga!!!

  19. Vero,
    I found my concert buddy, he even submitted really great mixtapes. Just lives too damn far. We’ll attend the same concerts on opposite coasts.

    Diana,
    Right now the disillusionment comes clear, but I was plenty hurt too. This was all a few months ago, it fades, you know?

    Gustavo,
    Quit getting those ideas in to my head! My advisor is gonna kick you.

    Nezua,
    Gracias. It’s just another life learning experience…. and I got some stories out of it.

  20. LaT says:

    Seriously….if someone doesn’t like you…they just don’t like you. Its that simple. Really. Seriously. Nobody owes you anything.

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