These stories are inspired by Felicia’s colorful 2017. If the reader prefers, the short stories/blogs or parts of it may be regarded as fiction. But as Ernest Hemingway said, there is always the chance that fiction may throw some light on what has been regarded as fact.
I’m hoping you have read some of past blogs already. Otherwise, you may be lost in this one. For a little background, I suggest to read blog entry, "The One When I Spent My First Weekend in Hartford."
That evening, I drove two hours to see John. I was listening and singing to Stevie Wonder songs the whole time. I couldn’t wait to celebrate with him. I brought a bottle of Rosa Regal sparkling wine and a sea salt caramel cake that I always get from a nearby French bakery. This time, the cake came with cashew nuts, his favorite! He will be even more pleased.
John welcomed me with a big smile on his face. I gave him a big hug, a good 10 seconds with my eyes closed, my little arms wrapped around his body attempting to squeeze him to suffocation, as I smell what is left of his Barrack Obama😊 cologne on his work clothes. He looked so handsome in his 3-piece suit!
I was so excited for him, but also excited for myself. We used to tease each other that the reason he was getting his PhD was so that we could write "Dr. John Smith" and "Dr. Felicia Life" on our wedding invitation. What made me even more excited is that Loyola University (LU)* is in Boston! I actually applied to teach a course there in 2016. Their hybrid program includes 2 weeks of summer residency. John will be staying with me every summer for 2 weeks… two full weeks!
July 2015 came. John arrived to my home with Nadine and David. I set up an office in the corner of my dining room and surprised him with a new glass computer desk with a sliding keyboard tray and a stylish leather arm chair I bought from Staples. I asked my son Bryan to assemble the furniture. Although a bit jealous since his desk was just from Craigslist, he assembled them anyway.
I drove John to LU on his first day. I hated waking up early in the summer, but seeing him in his white shirt and faded jeans, getting in my car with his back pack and a cup of coffee I made for him was worth it. I wanted to give him a "bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils." I got to kiss him goodbye when I drop him off to school. I also delighted it telling him ”Make good choices, Hunny!” He just shook his head and smiled back at me.
Later the same day, I drove another 2 hours to Falmouth, MA to drop off Nadine and David. They were to take a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard from there to join the rest of John’s family for their annual family vacation. John tried convincing me to join them, but I wanted to stay and take care of him.
Fast forward to July 2016…
John and I and our children were supposed to go to Italy for John’s annual family vacation. But his second year of summer residency fell on the same exact 2 weeks. This meant that we would be watching his family on Facebook enjoying Rome and Venice as John got busy with school work.
John is with me again for his second year of residency! This year, he was quite different. He seemed distant and got easily irritated with me. I bought a hammock and set it up on my side deck for him to relax in if he ever needed a break, but he barely used it. I tried to avoid stepping into my dining room so as not to disturb him since he seemed so focused on schoolwork. I remember him in that corner office I set up, sighing and shaking his head every time I walked by. There were some afternoons I was a few minutes late in picking him up from school or I could not find a parking spot directly in front of the building. I could tell he was annoyed by my tardiness. Maybe he thought that since I had summers off, I should not have any reason to be late. I guess tending to a 17-year old and working from home teaching online summer courses did not count as an excuse. I did not make a big deal out of this. I know he was stressed because of school. He was also still disappointed with not being with his siblings and their families, who were all having a grand time in Italy. To make it worse (for him, at least) Nadine and David were in Rhode Island with his ex-wife, their mom, Emma.
On his last day of residency, Nadine and David were coming to Boston to pick him up from my house, so they could all drive home to Central Massachusetts. I was not too happy that he was leaving right after his last day of school, especially because he still had another week off from work. I knew though that I could convince Nadine and David to stay. They really didn’t need much convincing, just a scary movie, popcorn, Bryan, Samantha, blankets and pillows in my living room! Unfortunately for John, they were not able to come. John was so mad at Emma. I told him I could not understand why he could not just take it as another day with me. We could go on a date and not worry about homework and waking up early the next morning. He thought it was selfish of me to ask him to stay. He said he needed to de-stress, spend time with his children and bring them to visit his 75-year old mom. He ended up spending another night. I could tell he wasn’t happy about it either. The next morning, Nadine and David came. They were both excited to see me. We chatted over breakfast, while John was starting to load up the car with his belongings. Nadine decided to stay with us another day so she and my daughter, Samantha can hang out. David decided to go with his dad, since John was leaving with or without him anyway. John told me he was taking David to see his grandma. How can you argue with that? One week later, John sent me a selfie of him with his mom. Apparently, he was not able to see her the previous week. I also found out that after he left my house, he actually just dropped off David at Emma’s house. So much for “You are being selfish. Can’t you understand that I also need to spend time with my children and visit my mom?” These all did not make sense to me until I found out about Lili on that painful day in 2017. Again… trust or willful blindness or just plain foolish. As for John, to lie is one thing, but to take advantage of me and then make me look like an insecure demanding fiancée is another. Maybe if I made him packed lunch every day, he would have been nicer to me.
Fast Forward to April 2017…
Although I have not seen John since February of 2017, I had a feeling that our “sort-of-on-a-break” will end by the time he comes back for his Loyola University 3rd year summer residency in July.
The first week of April, I started working on my backyard. My house is almost directly at the bottom of a hill so the 3-foot high retaining wall is only 4 feet away from my house.
I told John I was creating a garden as a birthday gift for myself. The truth was, it will be my surprise to him that summer! It was to be a surprise for our entire family. I could see David testing the patio with his skateboard and then jumping on the hammock, my Samantha taking lots of selfie with all the flowers and trees behind her, and Bryan and Nadine who got dibs on the 2 comfy patio chairs just trying to outdo each other with their smartypants hipster talk. But really, it is for John. I wanted him to have a beautiful and quiet place to study and do homework in. All the stress of talking with contractors, planning and arguing with them, plus my several trips to Home Depot… all would be worth it when I see my future doctor at work from my kitchen window! Well, that did not happen, because one week after my birthday... "The One When I Found Out"
Fast forward to October 2017…
I have a beautiful patio, which I am now using as MY home office. The East Coast was having extended summer weather so I was really enjoying my outdoor space. I got to use my home office teaching a couple of online courses and looking for a full-time job. Oh... and I am developing lectures for the course I am going to teach... at Loyola University... in the fall!
To be continued...
Now, to my readers… As heartbreaking as these may all sound, remember that my blog’s title is Bye Felicia, Hello Life. The “Hello Life” parts will be blogged about, (some are already in “The One With The Piano”) But as writer Octavia Butler said, “ You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap… thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually, you get better at it.”
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