I have a scar underneath my chin. You can see it when I wish upon a star or shoo away a filthy pigeon.
I split my chin at the age of 7 when playing a solitary game of Couch Jumping. As I hopped from one couch to the next, Mami shouted, “Muchacha! Te vas a caer!” I ignored Mami, as most children do when indulging in fun. And that’s when my chin hit the floor.
I don’t remember how much pain I was in. According to Mami, I wailed like a hyena. There was also a lot of blood, four stitches, and a lesson learned.
Don’t jump on couches, or was it listen to Mami? I forget.
Since then, I have remained grounded but still cross the line. When men have been wrong for me, I seek their redeeming qualities even if they forget to pick me up or an ex-girlfriend calls, admitting they’re still “together.” It was the same scenario with Raymundo. It didn’t matter how many times I rubbed my head to soothe my scalp from the last cocotaso. I continued to jump headfirst.
The last time we spoke about Raymundo I had met him at a bar days after he’d admitted to being an alcoholic. I approached him, tapping his shoulder as he held a drink. He turned around; all smiles as if there were nothing wrong. Raymundo held me in embrace and I felt uncomfortable. An older white woman with stringy dusty hair eyed me intently. He let me go and introduced me to her.
Her name was Debbie.
Raymundo excused himself to go to the men’s room. I sat in front of Debbie though my body urged me to run, leaving Raymundo behind for good. But I remained. My body couldn’t fight my stubbornness or my will to be with someone, even if they didn’t deserve me. So, I made small talk with Debbie instead.
“How do you know Raymundo?” She asked while sipping an amaretto sour. When she opened her mouth, she exposed a set of yellow teeth.
“We went on a date last year around summer,” I replied innocently.
“That’s about the time we broke up,” Debbie added nonchalantly.
Broke up! My body fought to scream. This is his ex-girlfriend. I stared at her, dumbfounded.
“Wait,” I finally answered. “You’re the ex that lives across the street from Locksmith?”
She nodded. And I knew I had to abandon the conversation and Raymundo. He, the alcoholic, had invited me to this very bar after he refused to come to Locksmith because his ex-girlfriend, who now sat in front of me, lived across the street.
That was the final blow.
Raymundo returned from the bathroom and I stormed out. As the cool spring air hit my face, my body shook. No more cocotasos, I thought. I didn’t need a set of matching stitches. I deserve someone better. Lesson learned.