I’ve imagined various scenarios in which a man would declare his like or love for me. Scenario #1 takes place in an elevator. Doors slam and button pushed. Up, up, up me and my hot boo go then “crash!” The steel cries. The metal box bobs and weaves. Our lives hang by a thread, literally. A sweat bead travels from my temple to cheekbone to neck, and my even hotter now boo wipes my perspiration away with a lick of his tongue. His intense, small eyes meet mine; his plump, kissable lips part and he screams: “We’re going to die! Oh God, mami! My hot boo jumps into my arms. He breathes into my neck and I sing him a lullaby. In the middle of, “Cuca, cucita! Asi se llama, la muchachita,” my hot boo lifts his head, finds my gaze and utters: “I like you so much!” Then the elevator jolts back to life. Cool artificial air is released from metal vents, and once again, up, up, up me and my hot boo go.
Scenario # 2 is just as dramatic, only this time I am the one who needs rescuing. I lie in a hospital bed. The beep of the heart monitor rings in unison with the cries of my hot boo. He sits beside me, gripping my small, frail hand and holding it against his plump, kissable lips. He parts his lips and yelps, “Please don’t die! Oh God, mami!!” and a tear falls from his right eye, past his cheek and moistens my hand. Like a scene from a Mexican telenovela, my eyes flutter open. My hot boo’s eyes widen and he whispers, “I love you.” I cough a loud, deep smokers cough -once, twice, three times- lick my dry lips and utter: “It’s OK. Its just bronchitis.”
These scenarios are merely fairy tales that help me believe I too can have a happy ending like the Marimar’s and Crystal’s of Univision. But then came Mr. G. He strolled into my love elevator. He threw every scenario imaginable out the window, and somehow managed not to land me in a hospital.
Mr. G and I stood side by side in front of the bar. He held a glass of red wine and took a sip as I slurped the last remnants of my Bacardi and Coke. He was waiting for her; Mr. G had told me so. And I was curious to meet the Ms. G I had only seen in pictures. The blue, 3-picture collage frame that stood on his desk captured her beautiful face, her statuesque, voluptuous figure and their loving, musical relationship. I eyed the picture each time I walked into his office and imagined them laughing, salsa pose after salsa pose.
“If my girl asks, I wasn’t flirting.” Mr. G said playfully, interrupting my thoughts. I looked up at him and smiled before promising to keep his secret. He grinned, revealing the small gap between his front teeth. We held our gaze. And then there was a ring. Mr. G quickly picked up the phone, murmured something, and flew toward the front door.
Ms. G walked in, tall and big breasted. Mr. G walked in front, shorter than her but still authoritative and strong, and introduced her to the crowd of co-workers that surrounded us. She shook hands and smiled but didn’t say much.
I was next. It was my turn to meet the girlfriend of the man I’d been privately crushing on for the past six months, even during the failed rekindling of Elijah and I.
“Sujeiry, this is my girlfriend, Ana,” Mr. G introduced. I greeted her with a smile. She did the same. I then excused myself and quickly made my way to the bar.
Minutes later, Ms. G and I stood side by side. She’s pretty, I thought as she ordered a drink. Then she turned and faced me.
“What’s your name again?” She asked curiously.
I repeated my name as if I had just woken up from a comma, disoriented and a little scared.
“Do you know if Ms. Lina is here?” She asked while scanning the crowd once again. ” I have to meet this tal Ms. Lina,” she finished, placing a hard, edgy emphasis on “tal”.
“She was but I think she left,” I replied. I watched her eyes flicker, perhaps seeking Ms. Lina, and realized this attractive woman was insecure. And jealous. Right then, Ms. G’s eyes found mine again.
“Sujeiry. He’s never mentioned you before,” she stated curiously.
“Well, I haven’t been at the school very long. I keep to myself.” I stated convincingly. I soon asked what she did for a living and the various small talk inquiries one asks when engaging in a one-sided conversation. I didn’t need her asking any more questions.
The night continued and I made some observations. First, Mr. G was por su lado, mingling with co-workers. Second, Ms. G was kind of boring. And I would know because she was attached at my hip the entire night. I found it odd but continued to engage her in conversation because, though she had no spark, she was sweet and I felt she needed the company. We danced salsa together. Guzzled Kamikaze shots. Exchanged numbers. It was like I was the rich, monstrous villain befriending the weak, unsuspecting protagonist to only steal her man and her newborn child.
Eventually, I did unlatch myself from Ms. G. I strategically moved away from her and stood in the middle of all of my coworkers. I knew she wouldn’t join the rowdy, drunk crowd. Ms. G seemed uncomfortable and uneasy with the unfamiliar.
Soon, I found myself standing side by side with Mr. G. This time we stood on the wooden deck. This time his girlfriend was five feet away instead of a phone call away. With hands in his pockets, he surveyed the crowd like a lion oversees his reign.
“I can’t believe you’re leaving,” he said softly, still looking ahead.
“I know,” I sighed. “I’m not happy about it.”
Mr G. turned to me. “I’m going to miss flirting with you,” he said with a smile. I held his gaze and felt my heart rate increase.
“I’m going to miss flirting with you too. I’ve had a crush on you for months,” I blurted without regret.
“I feel the same.” My brows rose. “I’m attracted to you and not just physically,” he continued.
“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation and your girlfriend is like five feet away,” I exclaimed while shaking my head in disapproval.
“I know. But I like you. I needed to tell you since I’m never going to see you again,” he expressed sincerely.
And there it was. His declaration of “like”. I smiled and declared my like for him as well. I said much more than I should have under the circumstances but I didn’t care. As Mr. G said, we were never going to see each other again. So I allowed my heart to flutter just as my eyes would in that hospital room. I held on to that moment as I would hold onto my scared hot boo in that hanging death box. I embraced his “like” and that moment for all it was worth and continue to dream of fairy tales.