The Spanglish Girl Diaries
Season Two Diary No. 17
Earrings! He bought me earrings! Not a ring! Thank God…
As Cristiano held the earrings up to me, he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Still recuperating from the scare, my emotions got the best of me, and instead of responding to his question, I placed one hand on my heart and shouted, “Don’t scare me like that! I thought it was a ring!”
Cristiano’s eyes filled with confusion and hurt. Trying to make sense of my reaction, he looked down at his knees, then slowly moved his eyes to the earrings. The realization of what his posture signified hit him and he all but jumped to his feet, rising swiftly, and apologized, both laughing and swearing, “Shit. I’m sorry!”
I stood too. The next few seconds were filled with awkward silence. Realizing he was still waiting for my response, and feeling awful I had jumped to conclusions, and ruined what should have been a happy moment, I reached for the box of earrings in his hand and asked to see them again.
Cristiano took the earrings out of the box and placed them in my right palm. Upon a closer look, I realized just how much thought he had put into selecting them. They were beautiful gold cluster studs, each made up of a cluster of whimsical flowers and small diamonds at the center of each flower.
That the flowers represented my love of nature was touching. As I put the earrings on, I shared that I not only loved them but that they were entirely me.
A humble smile and pride touched his face and he moved forward, closing the small distance between us. Upon reaching me, he grabbed my hands and held them as he asked me again to be his girlfriend.
And this time, without hesitation, I replied, “Yes.”
As I stood there, looking at him, my new boyfriend, the excitement I felt was overshadowed by a daunting premonition—that the start of a relationship also meant eventually there’d be an end: Either we’d make it, or we’d break up…
Why my mind went here, I don’t know, and I hated myself for it. But as much as I tried to be in the moment and feel happy, a small nagging voice in my head reminded me love was not without risk.
To ease my worries, I reminded myself that nothing in life is guaranteed. Even people who love you can leave you. Some because they have to, like my mother, whose time on earth was coming to an end. And others because they want to, like Luis and Adiel.
For these reasons, I decided that worrying about what may or may not come of Cristiano and I was pointless. The future was not up to me, but something bigger, fate. And so, I decided to live in the moment and make the most of it: For now, I’d cherish and embrace the fact that I’d found love again. And whatever may come I’d never regret saying yes because I was following my heart.
He could see I was thinking about something and asked what was on my mind. I replied “Us.”
Sensing my thoughts, that I was all in, his gaze deepened and softened. Instead of responding, he leaned in and kissed me and I welcomed it. It had been a long, long time since I’d been kiss like this and it reminded me how much I missed it. The kiss was smooth and sensual and it felt warm and comforting and natural. His embrace was strong and I could not only feel his muscles, but also, the warmth of his body. His body and mine fit perfectly together.
Remembering we were still in the restaurant, I pulled away and bashfully looked around. Cristiano caught on to my concern and whispered, “Come home with me tonight. Call in tomorrow.”
Caught off guard by the invitation, but intrigued, I moved my eyes to his. He was full of want and passion and truth be told, he was not alone: from the moment his lips touched mine, my body ached for his.
Images of him kissing me, touching me and loving me filled my mind and I became too weak to so no. And so, without any hesitation, I decided today was the day I’d kiss my born again virgen status goodbye.
The waiter arrived with our food, interrupting our conversation. He took note we were not seated and asked if everything was ok. I took this as my opportunity to accept Cristiano’s invitation.
I turned to look at the waiter and responded, “We will need our food packed to go. Something came up and we need to get home.”
Cristiano got the message loud and clear. A huge smile formed on his face and he became so eager to get going, he pulled out his gold clip of cash and carelessly handed the waiter money, and stated, “Keep the change.”
The waiter was so surprised and grateful for the amount of money Cristiano had handed him that within minutes, our food was boxed and Cristiano and I raced out and drove straight to his apartment…
As soon as the door closed behind us, he reached for me and moved me to the wall. While his lips pressed against mine and his hands ran down my back, he whispered things to me I knew I’d never be able to erase from my mind.
The anticipation of the things he said he was going to do to me, with the sensation of his tongue on my ears, tantalizing and teasing me, was so intense, I actually thought I was going to go mad and begged him to take to me to his bed.
Cristiano didn’t argue. He grabbed me by the hand and lead me to his room, all the while walking behind me, continuing to touch and stroke me in places I’d not been touched in, in what seemed like years…
The sex was so amazing, intense and beautiful all at once, that I collapsed after, from exhaustion and delight. Cristiano, not able to get enough of me, wrapped me in his arms and held me close. The feel of his chest rising beneath my head, the warmth of his body holding mine and the strength of his embrace reminded me how comforting love could be and how nice it felt to have a man in my life.
I woke in the middle of the night to find Cristiano had left me alone in his bed. I removed the comforter and rose to see where he was. From the room’s door, I could see him sitting on the couch reading a car magazine.
This was the first time I really got a good look at his apartment. I couldn’t help but notice it was just as I imagined it would be: a complete bachelor pad. The furniture was minimal and sleek. His view of the city was both romantic and luxurious.
I turned my eyes back to him. Unaware I was watching him, I took my time admiring my new novio. I couldn’t help but feel happiness and pride. He was handsome, kind, successful and humble. His only flaw, at least a flaw to me, was that he was a little too perfect physically, which made me wonder why he took any interest in a chubby girl like me, but that thought aside, and with the idea that I could fatten him up later, I couldn’t help but admit that I did good…
I walked out to join him on the couch. He smiled upon seeing me and asked if the light had woke me. I assured him that was not the case and took a seat next to him. Cristiano covered me with a blanket. He then put one arm over me and pulled me close. Next to him, I could see what he was reading. Something about car auctions in the deep Midwest. He took note I was looking at the magazine and explained he was thinking about starting a new car project.
Curious, I asked him where he kept the lowrider. His apartment garage had his truck and I had not seen the lowrider parked. He explained that he stores it in a garage in one of the suburbs.
Being on the subject of his cars, he then asked if I was interested in joining him next weekend for a fundraiser. The car club he belonged to would be showing their lowriders to raise money for at risk youth.
I was impressed: That he cared about at risk youth only made me like him more. I asked what the money would go to and he shared with excitement that they were raising money to buy a car for a low income school’s shop program. The students would then build a lowrider, learning mechanical engineering skills.
So in love with his excitement to help at risk youth, I couldn’t help myself and reached for him to hug him. As I held him, my cheek against his, I told him he was too good to be true. Not at all shy, and a little silly, he smiled and playfully responded, “Yeah. I’m amazing like that.”
I laughed, but didn’t argue. He was amazing like that, so I let him have his moment. And then with a kiss, I agreed to join him next weekend.
I arrived to Cristiano’s garage, early. We parked my car and took his lowrider out. As we headed to the car show, we pulled into a cafe to get coffee.
The coffee shop we stopped at was in Cristiano’s childhood neighborhood, where he had once lived a less than honorable life. I could tell the area made him nervous because he asked me to hurry and get our drinks so we could get going.
As I waited in line for our coffee, I had a clear view of the car and Cristiano parked in front. I saw a group of Latino teenagers come up to the car and Cristiano get out. By the smiles and hand gestures they exchanged, I could tell it was a friendly encounter and that the kids were only looking to admire the car.
At that moment, I was called up to the register by the barista. I ordered my and Cristiano’s coffee. I then stepped aside for them to make them. The barista eyed me, then looked up and caught a view of the car. She asked, “Is that yours?”
I shared it was my boyfriend’s. This was the first time I said boyfriend out loud and it felt surreal. When the barista handed me the coffee, she smiled and replied, while keeping her eyes on the car, “Handsome guy, nice car: Lucky girl.”
I smiled proudly and thanked her for the compliment and the drinks, then made my way back to Cristiano. When we arrived to the car show, there were many other lowriders lined up. We parked next to them and then got out and walked over to a group of men who were hanging out by the cars.
Cristiano introduced me to the members of his car club, all burly, big masculine looking cholos. Despite their appearances, they were all really sweet and excited to learn I was Cristiano’s girlfriend. Some of the men congratulated us, others told me he was a good man and some playfully teased that I was too pretty for him.
With the introductions over, Cristiano reached for my hand and we headed to enjoy the festival. The car show was part of a bigger event, a community festival with rides and food vendors. As we walked hand in hand, we reminded me of two high school kids in love.
We shared food, rode rides, got matching tattoos that said ‘I love you,’ and played carnival games. Our favorite game, we agreed, was the one where you have to pop three balloons with darts to win a prize. Both of us, being the competitive people that we are, refused to walk away from the game until we won, and so, $50.00 later, with a teddy for me, and a gold fish for Cristiano, we finally walked away happily.
I joked that for $50.00 we could have just bought our own prizes. Cristiano agreed, but reminded me that it just wouldn’t be the same, joking that our sweat and tears to win these prizes made them all the more meaningful. He then shared, quite embarrassed, that he didn’t think he could keep the gold fish I had won him. To not hurt my feelings, he quickly explained, “I’m not good with pets. All my dogs run away and I would feel awful if I killed sharkie.”
That he had already named the fish, was news to me and I laughed. I then reminded him that pets were the start of children. I stated, “How am I supposed to trust you with our kids if you can’t even keep a fish alive.”
At this point we had already begun walking back to the lowriders for the competition that was about to start. I could tell the mention of children caught him off guard because he stopped walking and a serious look came over him. I immediately realized maybe it was too soon and regretted mentioning it.
Cristiano asked how many kids I’d like to have. Although hesitant, I replied honestly, that with the right person and at the right time in my life, I’d be happy with two. The smile that crossed his face assured me, I had not scared him off. He then looked down at me and asked shyly if I thought he could be the right person.
Not wanting to move too quickly, I didn’t say no or yes, only that time would tell. He seemed ok with this and next asked at what age would be the right time. When I responded 35, he quickly raised his fingers and counted how many years I had left.
The image of him counting quickly, was so cute, I couldn’t keep from laughing.
I asked, smiling from ear to ear, “Are you trying to figure out how much time you have left to enjoy your bachelor life?”
He smiled, shook his head yes and replied, “Hell yeah. I have to get us a house, get out of the club business and trade in the lowrider for a minivan.”
His words, and the anxiety present in his voice, caught me off guard. Although amused, and still laughing at the idea that he needed a minivan, I realized he really did see a future with me.
Noticing I was staring at him, and the seriousness in my own eyes now, he asked if he had said too much. The concern on his face showed he was worried, so I quickly replied, “No, you didn’t say anything wrong. I was just caught off guard by how serious you seem.”
His eyes took on a thoughtful look and he replied, “I am. I feel it in my heart that you are the one for me, so if you know you want kids by 35, I need to get my shit in order. That only leaves us four years love.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I had learned to guard my heart and my dreams so well that I no longer let myself get too excited about things right away. For this reason, I explained that as of now, we should just enjoy being girlfriend and boyfriend and that we would worry about kids, and all that adult stuff, later.
He was quick to respond and asked, “How long?” Confused, I asked, “How long for what?”
He then replied, “How long would you want to date before being engaged.”
I reminded him of my reaction when I thought he was proposing to me. He laughed, but pressed me more and stated, “No, seriously, how long? I need to know.”
Realizing he wanted an honest answer, I replied, “At a minimum, I’d want to date for at least three years. Maybe get engaged after two and then be engaged for one.”
Softening the mood, he smiled and replied, “Deal, but until I put a ring on you, I’m not taking care of that fish. With my luck, lo mato and then you’ll never trust me with our kids.”
That he was still so anti-sharkie made me laugh so loud, passerby’s turned to look at us. I responded, while linking my arm between his and beginning to walk again towards the lowriders, “That’s fine. Sharkie can live with me.” Cristiano smiled and replied, “Thank you my love.” And with that, we let the subject of our future children go…
This would be the first of many amazing weekends we’d spend together this summer: From camping, to weekend getaways and picnics at the park and lazy Sundays at each other’s houses watching movies, cooking for each other, lounging and making love, we were inseparable and fell deeply in love.
But as fate would have it, it would end as I predicted.
One early September day, as the air began to turn cold and the leaves began to change, Cristiano’s past would come back to steal him away from me…
Three Months Later
The final weeks of summer had come to an end. The days had begun to shorten and the air was now cold. Today was the first Sunday of September and for the first time in a while, I needed a sweater.
I was sitting in Cristiano’s club patio, waiting for him to finish up some last minute things before we headed to lunch. Spending Sunday’s together had become our thing these past few months. We took turns driving out to see each other and this week it was my turn to come to Chicago.
As I waited for Cristiano on the patio, wrapped in a heavy sweater and sipping a coffee Cristiano had surprised me with, I checked my Facebook. My sister Cecilia had just sent me a message asking me to call her, something about us starting a new project. Intrigued, I typed a message back to her, asking her for details and explaining that I could not talk right now, but would call her tonight. Messenger showed my sister was typing, so I waited eagerly for her response, desperate to know what this project was.
As I waited, I looked up to find a woman approaching the club. The club’s patio was at its entrance, so I could see the front door. Knowing it was just Cristiano and I here, I shouted to her that the club was closed.
The woman seemed taken aback and began to approach me. As she neared me, the first thing I noticed was how pretty she was. She was one of those women who just had it: the perfect body, face and hair. She was about my height, but much more slender and curvy than me. Her hair was long, sleek and thick. Her skin was a golden dark brown and she reminded me of one of those lowrider magazine car models I’d seen in Cristaino’s car magazines. She seemed so familiar, I actually began to wonder if maybe she was indeed a car model and maybe I had seen her in one of Cristaino’s magazines.
When she reached the patio, I explained to her that I did not work here, but that the owner was in his office and there was no other staff around. Confused by my presence, she asked who I was. That she was so direct and seemed confused by me, made me think maybe she knew Cristiano and this made me nervous.
Uncertain what to make of her and who she could be, I didn’t respond to her question, and instead asked for her name and what her visit was in regards to. But before she could respond, Cristiano appeared at my side. His reaction, upon seeing her, surprised even me. He demanded in a short and cutting voice, “What are you doing here?”
Sensing his discomfort, I realized she had to be someone of importance to him. She confirmed this when she replied to him, annoyed, “I tried to stop by a few months ago and your bouncer turned me away. You also won’t answer my calls. I had no choice but to show up like this.”
My mind put two and two together and I realized this was the woman who had come to see Cristiano the weekend I was in Indiana, she was his ex girlfriend. Cristiano confirmed this, explaining to her that he had moved on and no longer wanted anything to do with her. His exact words, “We are through. We have been for months. Whatever it is, I don’t care. You need to leave.”
He then turned to me, and stated, “This is my girlfriend and I’m happy with her. Please respect that and don’t look for me again.”
Her eyes turned to me, and to my surprise she didn’t seem angry or determined to hurt me. Her gaze instead showed pain, concern and confusion. It became clear to me she was not here to cause drama and sincerely needed to speak with him, so I began to rise to excuse myself.
Cristiano, however ordered me to stay put and reached for my hand to keep me from leaving. He then turned to his ex and stated arrogantly, “Anything you to have to say to me you can say it in front of her. We don’t keep secrets.”
His ex, realizing she had no other choice, then took a deep breath and opened her coat, revealing a belly as she stated, “I’m so sorry, but I’m pregnant.”
And just like that, my and Cristiano’s perfect world, the one we had worked so hard to build these last few months, came crashing down. As my heart sank, I didn’t even know what to feel. My emotions became a mix of shock, sadness and anger.
I knew immediately it was his. It had to be, why else would she look for him…
Part one of the two part season finale to be posted June 17