Chapter 1 – Adulthood


I have been doing a great job not thinking about him for the past 20 years. At least, I think I have…

What I mean is, I hadn’t been thinking about him much at all, lately. And I strongly believe this is what being an adult is all about. You face your responsibilities and stick with your choices. In my case, and for everyone else who was a teenager in the 90’s, I guess it also involves wearing better fitting clothes and not saying the word “like” so much.

I guess by the time you are almost 40 you are an adult. No excuses. And your thoughts and acts are yours to blame. You can’t use the teenage card anymore and act as stupid as you please ’cause it simply doesn’t work that way. It’s like you lose your poetic license… or something.

It is always harder around this time of the year, though… when he pops into my head, totally uninvited.

The thing is, every thanksgiving, my mom’s husband insists on taking us to this restaurant that has this jukebox so old it only plays like the same 5 songs over and over again. So, inevitably, it is going to play ours… at least 5 times. Even if I’m not ready to hear it. And I will think about him.

Rayanne thinks part of my problem is the fantasy. She says that the fantasy is always perfect and, since it doesn’t revolve around bills to pay and your simple everyday life, I use it, unconsciously, to keep him there, untouchable in a glass pedestal or something just to make sure no real relationship could ever compare to the one we could have had. Not even the one we actually had at one point… Because nothing will ever be as perfect as something you can’t come close enough to… you know… break.

I understand what she means. I really do.

I don’t mean to disagree with her professional opinion or anything, I mean, she is an actual psychologist and I am clearly not, but every time that song plays I catch myself wondering if the butterflies on my stomach could still be felt again. It feels to real to be a fantasy.

And then, I look around and I wonder if the couples I see holding hands love each other with the intensity that we did when we were teenagers, or if they are just together because that was the safest choice, the easiest choice. I wonder if people get married because at one point it becomes somewhat … expected.

I mean, is everlasting love even a thing?

I also refuse to believe that that kind of love, the kind that makes your body transcend to a different dimension is just an immature teenage concept, not meant to be felt in adulthood. A trick from your brain that you could feel over anything, like food or money or something. Because just… how sad would that be?

Technically I know adulthood is real and teenage love is not. I mean, I have that information floating inside my brain. But, am I supposed to believe it now just because I’m supposed to have matured ? ‘Cause if I am, then all that means is that I’ve just done a terrible job growing up, since every time our song plays I forget all those concepts, I forget reason and I possibly even forget my own name.

I guess my point is: Why are we even considered stupid when we are teenagers just because we are fascinated by love and so intelligent when we are adults if most of us adults clearly have forgotten how to love? Yet, we keep telling our children that love is in fact the most important thing there is and that it should, indeed, take your breath away. But sadly, the proof that we have for that is just a long lost memory that died inside a teenage dream. Probably tragically.

And that’s how much that song gets to me. The lyrics that were meant to be for me open a half-healed scar that let’s all those memories out … and I catch myself crying quietly when those long-lasting Sunday nights come again, missing those days and this gang, specially when real life gets too boring and too real and I can’t find anyone else to blame for the choices I’ve made.

I guess, allowing him to take over my thoughts says something about my life I am trying not to see…

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Chapter 2 – House of cards


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Everything about Brian Krakow has always felt safe. Familiar. Even his hair smells like home and plaid.

There’s nothing more comforting than knowing that someone loves you enough to never let go. Unconditionally. As if you were flawless… or from a different world and they were not worthy of you or something. It makes you feel… almost magical.

And, even though you are not that person, at one point you sort of believe that you are. You believe that you are more than you thought you were and that you can be things you didn’t think you could ever be… because this other person believes in you. Because they see something else when they look at you. Something you can’t see in your mirror.

And that’s why you fall in love with them. Or maybe with the version of you that you become when this person is there. Whatever it is, it is love. A type of love… anyway.

My love for Brian Krakow and the reason why I said yes to him 10 years ago is deeply engaged to the idea that he’ll never go. And that he’ll always see me as something so perfect I can barely relate to.

And that’s why last night, when he told me that he needed time to think about us, it felt like a tornado devastating with no mercy a house made of cards… tearing every last reason I ever had to love him at the same time.

“Do you want to fight for us? – He asked me. And I hesitated. Because at that split second I didn’t know for sure If I had ever loved Brian Krakow for him… or if I actually only loved him for me.


Chapter 3- Mr. Vasquez


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I wouldn’t exactly say I envy high school kids. At all. But there are certain times when I do. Like, when I think about the fact that some of them actually have a chance to be in Ricky’s class… ’cause I don’t know of anyone who would be more meant to do that. Teaching, that is.

It’s like, at a very specific point of your life, like a turning point, if you have the right teacher, he could stop you from doing something really stupid with your life or become someone abominable…if you are lucky.

The truth is I will never understand Ricky’s struggles. I couldn’t. Because I’ve only watched them from the outside. For as much as I feel his pain, I know that it’s not real to me, it’s like, compared to his, my pain would be considered somewhat… optional.

If tomorrow I decided to let go of Brian Krakow forever, or even cheat on him, in the absolute worst of the possibilities, I would have to deal with an ugly look for a couple of mutual friends… until they just stopped caring. But, to Ricky, even holding hands in public with the person that he truly loves and that he hasn’t cheated on or anything is considered a good reason for random people on the streets to look at him with disgust. Like they have the right to judge him. It’s like, in our society, people are being awarded everyday for their great accomplishment of taking the easiest path. I mean… what is that even about?

But I guess in a way I don’t need to envy the kids in Mr. Vasquez’s class… ’cause I am lucky enough to have him. In my actual life. Not just English. The best friend anyone could ever wish for. And I know he’ll have the most beautiful of all weddings on Sunday… even if I might actually be attending to it alone… for the first time in a long time.


Chapter 4 – Consequences


It took me a long time to accept that sex and love didn’t necessarily have to co-exist. It’s like…  you can still have an apple, when you actually wanted strawberry ice cream… because you may be just hungry or something. Maybe so much you can’t control yourself… like eating it wasn’t even completely your choice. It was just more convenient. It doesn’t mean you’ll be fully satisfied or that you won’t still crave the ice cream.

But, when you are 15, sex is this gigantic life-defining thing that has to have an actual meaning. Probably an unrealistic one. When you are 15, it’s strawberry ice cream or nothing. But I don’t think it was ever like that to Rayanne. She had a lot of apples. Including, the boy I was in love with in high school.

We’ve still been best friends ever since… because I was somehow convinced that , to Rayanne, having sex with Jordan Catalano was her messed up way of being me. As if “me” was this unachievable thing… or a good thing. Or something someone would actually want to be…

It’s just ironic that she’d want to be me. Because the truth is, every time that blue-eyed young man walks through my door, like a literal consequence of  the night I thought I would manage to forget one day, I can’t help but wish that I was her and I wonder what it would have been like If I was the one who had gotten pregnant that night. Not Rayanne.

There are times when I wish that I was her more than anything.

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Chapter 5 – Delia Fisher.


I never had anything in common with Delia Fisher. Other than the fact that she was my husband’s first real girlfriend I thought she would play no part in my life. But, eventually, I was forced to observe her.

Delia and I went to business school together. Still, we never really talked. And, even when we did, it felt very unnatural… like, there was always that obvious elephant in the room.

Everyone around me seems to like her. She’s constantly popping up on Sharon’s extremely popular instagram. She’s apparently good to everyone but, to me she’s a constant reminder that there might be someone out there who could have been better fit for Brian and I just stopped it from happening. It’s like I’m supposed to be punished for having asked him to break up with her to be with me. And now there’s this… karma… because what she feels for him is actual true love.

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I know they have been in touch. Delia and Brian that is. I saw their facebook pages. I think I was supposed to be jealous but part of me wishes he’d cheat on me with her just so I could feel free again. Just so I could reach out for Jordan Catalano again. Just to feel like I have no control over my body or my actions again. Just to feel alive.

She is the anti-me. And it’s hard to hate her for that. Because at this point I think she might be right.


Chapter 6 – Happiness


It is always so comforting to wake up when you are having a nightmare and realize that the situation you were in was not real. Like, when you notice your teeth are actually still… there.

Ricky had a beautiful wedding yesterday. Absolutely everybody was there. Because it’s Ricky. And he means too much for each one of us.

He was the one holding Sharon’s hand when she became a mother at 16. He saved Rayanne’s life in more than one occasion. He offered Brian a shoulder to cry on when he needed one. He opened my eyes about how I actually felt about Brian before even I could understand my own feelings.

Still, he called me up before the ceremony and said he didn’t think he could handle it.

Ricky spent most of his life saving us. Putting others first. He said that his past, the fact that he had had an abusive family that wouldn’t accept him, the living in the streets and everything that happened before he was adopted by Mr. Katimsky had transformed pain in a safe place for him. Like… he was afraid of happiness just because he wasn’t familiar with it… even though he had wished for it so much.

I suppose, sometimes, people wish for things not realizing that, in reality, they couldn’t handle them if they weren’t just dreams… no matter how good their dreams are. 

I told him he was the bravest person I knew… and that he could do anything. Including being happy.

And then, I realized, I was just like Ricky.

I guess… I’ve been wishing for Brian to leave. Or at least, fantasied about it. But I didn’t exactly had a plan… like, a life plan, that didn’t involve him. I did not expect or even believed anything could happen.

So, this morning, when I woke up and he wasn’t there… I felt scared. And lost. Which is weird because, in my fantasies I always felt free. This is not how I feel today, at all.

I thought this would make me happy. But… it turns out… I don’t know how to handle it.

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Chapter 7 – Expectations

I wanted to be wrong, somehow. I wanted the universe to prove to me that my teenage memories where in fact just a version of reality. A very distorted one.

I hoped for his eyes to not  sparkle anymore. I secretly hoped he’d be so different I wouldn’t be attracted to him at all when I saw him … or that I just wouldn’t care.

And there he was. Like a mirage. Everything felt like slow motion. I couldn’t look away. What was he doing here? He had been living in LA for years now.

As he walked towards me,  I took a series of short breaths and suddenly… I felt like me again. Me, before… life. Before everything just changed and got complicated.

“Angela!” – he said. So… friendly. So caring. As if we were old friends… which I guess is precisely what we are. People who used to know one another a long time ago. But don’t anymore.

He smelled like chamomile and lavender.

He asked me how I was doing and I lied with a simple answer.

He asked me about Brian. I lied again.

I said we were not together anymore… as if it was a sure thing… as if, I was available.

It was wrong and childish and not something anyone would ever advise me to do… and I know that but I just could’t…. not.

Jordan Catalano makes me immediately forget about my issues with Brian. It’s like he has the power of making me wonder what life would have been if I had forgiven him for getting Rayanne pregnant in high school. He makes me wish Brian had never entered the picture for a moment. And that is probably not fair… and not true either… but I still feel it.

It turns out he is here because of Noah, his and Rayanne’s son. Noah is about to become a dad in a few weeks, which means Jordan Catalano will be around until the baby comes.

I promised myself I would not start another conversation with him because the mess in my head is not exactly something I could blame him for. Not entirely, anyway.  I couldn’t expect Jordan Catalano to fix everything. Or fix me. Whatever it is that is wrong with me. Even though I feel like he actually could do that quite easily.

But he did ask for my number. And my phone has been buzzing all day.

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Chapter 8 – Texts

Sharon is not accepting the fact that Rayanne and Jordan Catalano are going to be grandparents very well… and for reasons completely different than mine.

Sharon is beautiful. She is the type of person who is so confident on her looks she will take pictures of herself eating, post them on social media and obviously get thousands of likes. I feel a lot like she’s from a parallel universe and sometimes our planes just kind of collide for a few minutes. Until she is gone again. Or I am gone. Or both.

So, I guess it’s harder for her. To get older, that is. ‘Cause she can’t like, face the fact that her young looking face is not going to be there forever and I am not sure she can process life beyond that. It’s like she thinks she’d have to reinvent herself. Reinvent her life. Which is completely untrue and probably very scary.

But the fact that Sharon was here today did not distract me enough that I wouldn’t be thinking about the text on my phone from Jordan Catalano.

I appreciate Sharon, but it’s not like I could be honest with her right now… because, I am not even sure what honest would actually be at this point. But, at the same time, I wanted to be. Maybe I unconsciously wanted to share it with her… or brag… or just talk about it.

“Wanna catch up over drinks Friday?” – he texted.

What a short text. Was he just being polite? Did he mean it? Should I just not go because it could complicate things? Or should I just go in the odd chance to break the spell and finally be free of this… this… curse that he just exhales? How long does a person these days take to reply to a text? Like, what is the normal amount of time? What if I reply then he doesn’t reply and then I reply again, because I am not sure he got my text, but he actually did get the message and I am just an idiot?

“Yeah, definitely”. I still replied. Completely afraid of the consequences of that.

I guess, from an odds perspective, I had to reply to him because if he still has some affect on me today, he most likely will still have some sort of affect on me 25 years from now and getting together at 65 seems really like an implausible timeline, considering we could have done it at 40. Clearly.

When Rayanne got here, I felt very ashamed that I agreed to go, though. But it was already done.

He didn’t take long to reply back to me.

“See you at the Pub at 7.” – He texted.

… and it was an unfortunate thing. ’cause Rayanne picked up my phone and asked me, not in a nice tone “Why the hell are you meeting Catalano Friday night?”.

The right answer would be: “Because I am an idiot. Because I just pretend to be an adult on a daily basis when I am actually just a teenager who is clearly not over her high school crush. Because I think I still love him… sometimes.”

But how could I possibly admit that? Instead I chose:

“Because Brian is leaving me.”

Which… is also true. Just a little less embarrassing. And more worthy of compassion. Hopefully.