The Spanglish Girl Diaries
Season Two Diary No. 16
Single Girls Have More Fun
Finally clear of the dance floor—and my admirers—I was free to relax. I found a seat at the very edge the bar and slid off my heels. The bartender neared me and asked what I would like. I ordered a soda and as I waited for it to arrive, my thoughts turned to Cristiano.
After all the attention I received tonight from men, I began to realize that maybe I was wrong and he was right…
While Cristiano was making every effort to win me over, including changing his own social habits, I was doing the complete opposite. I realized this was unfair given his age, and how much I knew he liked me. If I wasn’t ready to give up my single life, I had no right calling him out on his past with other women, let alone dragging him along. And here lied the problem because deep down in my heart, I knew I had already started to fall in love with him. Truthfully, I didn’t want to let him go…
My drink arrived and I handed the bartender my card. He brought me my receipt and jokingly asked why a pretty girl like me had to buy her own drinks. The manner in which he said it implied he was either into me or wanted a nice tip. Regardless, the attention made me uncomfortable, so I smiled, but didn’t respond.
To my relief, the bartender got the point and walked away, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
I pulled out my phone to see if Cristiano had sent me any messages. I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath until, sure enough, I saw he had text me, and I sighed a sigh relief.
I quickly opened the text, eager to see what he had written. To my own surprise, he wasn’t upset and had wrote:
“I’m sorry about the way I reacted to you going out. It was wrong of me. And as for the girl waiting for me at the bar, she was an ex, and I turned her away. I hope we can still meet for dinner Sunday. I have something I would like to ask you…”
The final line made my heart race. My intuition told me he was going to ask me to commit.
I checked the time stamp on the message. He had sent it four hours ago. I had purposely turned off the phone to avoid him. Now, with my temper calmed, I felt awful and realized I too owed him an apology for my own harshness earlier.
Filled with guilt, I quickly responded to his text. I apologized for not responding sooner and for my own behavior. I also assured him our dinner plans for Sunday were still on.
My thoughts then turned to the reality of my situation. What would I do if he asked me to be his girlfriend? Would I say yes and give up my freedom for a chance at love?
The question before me filled me with great turmoil. I slid my heels back on and walked outside to get some fresh air, hoping it would help me clear my head. As I took a seat on a bench by the entrance, I looked out into the parking lot. The club was as busy outside as it was inside.
Groups of individuals gathered around cars, music from their cars blaring and the base echoing. Others hung out by a taco truck, enjoying a late night meal.
I looked to my left in time to see a group of men approaching the entrance of the club where I was seated. As they neared me, one of them looked me up and down. His stare made me so uncomfortable, I made an effort to pretend I was distracted and buried my face in my cell to avoid eye contact.
As fate would have it, at that very moment, Cristiano text me back. I forgot about the men entirely, as I read Cristiano’s text.
Cristiano asked how my night was going. He playfully wanted to know if I was still single. He included a blushing smiley face with the question.
A smile touched my face and I replied that not only was I still single, but I missed him.
Within minutes, he replied, “Good. I have a surprise for you Sunday.”
I was about to ask what the surprise was, hoping he’d confirm my suspicions, that he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend. But Instead he wrote that it was a busy night at his club and he had to go. His last text to me was that I enjoy my night and that he couldn’t wait to see me, tomorrow.
I looked up in time to see the group of men who had neared me earlier, were now sitting to my left. I sensed they were trying to get my attention and I didn’t like it.
I began to resent being a woman. I hated that I couldn’t dress up or sit alone because men assumed that made me fair game. It was bullshit and not fitting of our times.
First the men in the club, then the bartender, and now, these men!
Annoyed, and determined to make my point, that the staring was not welcomed and I wasn’t in the mood or interested, I quickly rose, pulled my dress down and walked into the club, glaring at them as I passed. They clearly got the point and upon seeing the look of annoyance on my face , they looked away shamefully. I felt proud.
Once inside, I found Carina and took a seat next to her. She asked me where I had gone. I explained I needed a break from the music and headed outside to get some fresh air. She then smiled and asked me if I was ready to dance some more.
Realizing this could very well be my last night as a single girl, I rose and followed her to the dance floor to enjoy myself.
We bounced back and forth, stepping to the music and twirling playfully, not at all in sync with the beat of the music or the other dancers.
We’d spend the rest of the night dancing and laughing. We turned down every guy who asked us to dance and kept to ourselves. We were having so much fun, we ended up closing out the club, until we were the only two left on the dance floor.
The bartender shouted, “Ninas, ya se acobo el fun. Time to go home!” And with that, we took off our heels, put on our flip flops and headed to breakfast to end the night right.
I was so hungry, I ordered a tall stack of pancakes and ate them with no care in the world for calories. As I ran my fork down the stack and took a bite, Carina asked me if I had heard from Cristiano.
I paused for a moment, uncertain what to tell her. I wasn’t sure how she would feel about me letting him off the hook so easily.
But, wanting her honest opinion, I pulled out my phone and showed her the text messages so she could see what he had written.
Her first response was, “Really?”
Looking stressed, she then took a bite of her own food before asking me, “Are you sure?”
She didn’t need to explain, I knew exactly what her questions implied: She too, sensed he was going to ask me to make it official. She confirmed this by flat out stating, “He’s going to ask you to be his girlfriend and you’re going to say yes, aren’t you?”
Why I felt shame, I don’t know, but I did—like I was a sell out or something…
When I didn’t respond, Carina next stated, “I don’t know friend, the way he reacted earlier shows he has some serious control and jealousy issues, which means he’s very insecure. And do you really think he turned his ex-away?”
My instinct was to defend Cristiano, but I stopped myself. Carina was one of my closest friends, I had actually known her longer than any of my other friends and for this reason, I valued her advice. And, knowing I’d only have until tomorrow to make a decision, I became open to discussing Cristiano with Carina honestly and openly.
I explained to Carina my feelings. I replied: “I know he seems jealous and controlling, but in all fairness, he is older and more traditional. I can’t expect him to be ok with me going out partying when I myself have called him out on his womanizing ways. And truthfully, I really don’t think he’s controlling, I just think he’s direct, which is what I like about him.”
Carina shook her head, not wanting to give Cristiano a free pass she responded, “But what’s wrong with you going out? So what! He should trust you and you should trust him and if you don’t why make it official?”
I felt my heart sink, she was right and I knew it—but there was another side to this whole trust issue, one I had been keeping to myself. To help her understand me, I shared with her my reasoning and stated, “ The truth friend, Luis ruined me. I’ll never trust anyone completely, that much I know. Maybe for this reason it doesn’t bother me that I don’t entirely trust Cristiano because I don’t think I’ll ever fully trust any man again. I guess my approach to love and dating now is that if I’m going to get hurt, it has to be worth it.”
Carina’s face filled with sadness. She watched me for a few moments before responding. When she finally did speak, the judgment in her voice was gone. She replied, “I guess what it comes down then is, do you love him? Is Cristiano worth the risk?”
The first thought was that I did. I explained this and shared with Carina why Cristiano was worth the risk:
“I love things about him. I love that he is self-made, that he goes out of his way to make me happy, that when I’m with him, I can be myself. I’ve told him off, walked out on him, hung up on him, and still, he comes back to me. All my exes couldn’t handle me, they called me crazy, made me feel like I was the problem, but not Cristiano, he listens, he works with me, he admits when he’s wrong and he calls me out when I’m wrong too. I guess I like that he doesn’t give up on us. This to me is what true love is. I don’t expect him to be perfect, because I’m not.”
Carina looked at me like I was crazy. After a few moments of silence, she replied, “ So you’re both enablers and that is a good thing?”
I was hurt by her words, she all but implied that I was crazy, and so was he, and that two crazies is no good.
When I didn’t respond, she realized it was done and my mind was set. Feeling bad she had hurt my feelings, she explained, “My only final advise to you is that you set boundaries early because if you don’t and you go along with his machismo ways, it is only going to bite you in the ass later. You and I both know you’re not a traditional woman, which is why it worries me that he is a traditional man. But fine, I give you my blessing friend and I wish you the best.”
And with that, we let the subject go and turned our attention to our sweet Natalia.
I shared with Carina that I wanted to treat Natalia to weekend in the Wisconsin Dells for her birthday. Carina loved the idea and we both pulled out our phones to check dates. As I looked at my calendar I couldn’t help but notice how full my life had become.
It was hard to find a date because every month I either had a trip or weekend plans with friends or family. This didn’t even include the LSAT course I’d be starting in August as my final step before applying to law school.
I had stared at my phone for too long. Carina asked what was wrong and assumed the month of August would not work. As she was about to offer that we change the date to July, I looked up and stated with pride, “I’m finally living the life of my dreams..”
Confused, she asked what I meant.
I then replied, “Looking at my calendar just now, I realized I finally have a life. I have plans every month, people to see, places to go.”
I thought back to the time when Luis had left me and I’d go home on Fridays and cry because I was so lonely and depressed. But now, almost a year and a half later, things were so different. My calendar was filled with trips, one for my birthday to Mexico, others to visit my mother and some weekend getaways with my different set of friends.
Carina smiled, reached for my hand, and replied, “See, Single Girls really do have more Fun. You sure you want a boyfriend?”
The 3 hour drive from Indiana to Chicago gave me plenty of time to think.
As I pulled into the restaurant, Cristiano had asked me to meet him at, my heart began to race.
When I pulled into the parking lot, I spotted him. He was in a truck I did not recognize and I began to wonder how many cars he had. He spotted me too and waved. By the time I parked, grabbed my purse and got out of my car, he had already reached my door.
Upon seeing him, my anxiety left and I felt nothing but excitement and warmth. Cristiano kissed me on the cheek and held me in an embrace. With my face buried between his neck, I couldn’t help but notice that he not only smelled good, but felt good…
Realizing the feeling of our bodies pressed together was making me want him, I pulled away slightly, to hint that I was ready to head inside. As he freed me from his embrace, he asked how the baptism went.
As we headed into the restaurant, I shared photos with him on my phone and told him all about the weekend. Once inside, we were greeted by a hostess and seated.
This was Cristiano’s favorite steak restaurant so he knew exactly what he wanted. Starving from the drive, I ordered the same just to get our order in sooner.
Once the waitress walked away, the conversation turned serious and Cristiano brought up our argument. I felt a weight come over me, and although I felt uncomfortable, I realized this was a conversation we needed to have.
He began by admitting he had a jealousy issue, but also pointed out that part of his reaction to me going out came from the fact that he thought I was taking our friendship as a starting point to something more, so he was surprised to learn that I didn’t think much of being out at a dance without him.
I took a sip of the wine he had ordered me. I wasn’t a wine drinker at all, but at this moment I didn’t care and drank the wine in hopes it would calm my nerves.
I took a sip so big, it was more like a gulp. I saw him try to hide a smile, indicating he took note of my panic and discomfort. Maybe sensing I wasn’t sure how to respond, he asked me out right if I had any interest in him or if I was just having fun.
I looked like a deer caught in headlights. I felt like a child getting called out for bad behavior. I then remembered what Carina had advised, to set boundaries early on, and I realized at this moment, she was right. So, I sat up, pushed my wine glass aside and looked him in the eyes and replied, “ I’m a grown woman. I should be free to go out with my friends.”
I saw him take a deep breath and his shoulders tense. Noting he was assuming the worst, that I was about to end it, I added, to put him at ease, “And If I wanted to just have fun, I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t be giving you so much of my time. I like you Cristiano. I like you a lot.”
The seriousness of my tone and my body posture made it clear I was speaking honestly and he too now sat up and stared at me intently.
He then stated, “I’m glad to hear we are on the same page. I also think I’ve given you enough time to get to know me, and I hope you see now that I really do care for you.”
He then stood, walked over to me and knelt next to me, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small jewelry box.
It all happened so quick, I felt my body literally jolt as complete panic filled me. My face may have even turned white as I realized maybe I had misunderstood the whole surprise thing. I expected flowers, maybe a necklace, but not a ring!
I came to dinner thinking he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend, not his wife!
As he went to open the box and stated, “I have something I want to ask you,” my fabulous single life flashed before my very eyes.
As the box opened, my final thoughts to myself were, “Please don’t let it be a ring. God please don’t let it be a ring…”
To be continued…
Next diary to be posted June 3rd