A Spattering of Chapters from Loved: A Broken-Up Story

The best relationship of my life might have only existed in my head and ended when I was still a kid.

Dad said to pick anywhere, I remember. Anywhere, really! This is how a date should be, he said.

I said, Mom, Dad is going to take Diego and I on separate dates to teach us how dates should be. How boys should treat their dates. And he said we can pick anywhere, anywhere at all! Aren’t you proud of him? I thought I saw a flicker of appreciation, but she knew too much that I still didn’t. Where are you going to go? is all she asked.

At Chevy’s, Dad said, Wait! Wait!, rushed over and pulled out my chair. “You just stand there and WAIT if they don’t pull the chair out, M’ija. He’ll get it unless he’s a bonehead, and if he’s a bonehead, you don’t want him. Bonehead, he better not be a bonehead because I’ll beat him.” He pushed my chair in with me on it and explained to the waitress, “I’m teaching her what to expect on a date.”

“Can I get you anything to drink?” she asked.

(Continued on next page)


“Water’s good,” I said.
“No, no, M’ija. Get something you want.”
I smile at him, uncertain.
“You don’t worry about price on a date,” he said.
“A virgin strawberry daiquiri?”
He nods approvingly. “Just a water for me.”
The waitress leaves. “I don’t have to get fancy drinks, Dad.”
“You don’t think about that on a date. Let the guy think about it. If he doesn’t have enough money, he skimps on his meal, not yours.” Dad looks at me, isn’t satisfied with my expression. “I’m serious, M’ija! You order EXACTLY what you want and it better be expensive! Steak? You got it! Lobster? Shooot! Anything for my princess.”
I am excited by his fervor for this game. “You better be careful. I’m going to order shrimp fajitas AND dessert.”
“That’s right you are! Shooot. My baby is gonna get wined and dined!” He picks up his menu, reads the prices, jokes: “I’ll just have chips.”
This makes me laugh and I drag out his name, giddy and speechless.

(Continued on next page)



“So, this is the part where the guy asks all about you and PAYS ATTENTION. He better be listening and looking at you. You only! Oh wait he starts with a compliment. He should’ve been complimenting you already. You look beautiful.”
“Thanks?”
“You’re welcome. What about me?”
“You look nice too?”
“Como que ‘Nice’? These boots are made of alligator!”
“They are not!” I giggle.
“Not the point! Be impressed back, M’ija. Guys will put a lot of time into looking good for you—unless they’re boneheads—and they need to be complimented too.”
“Those are sweet alligator boots, Date.”
“Andale!” he chuckles. “And this shirt?”
“Daaaad!”
“Oh look at you, a smart one! Shooot. The guy doesn’t go fishing for compliments. Did I tell you you look very beautiful in that dress? So, what kind of things do you like to do?”
“I think I like going on dates.”
Dad sucks a big breath of air through his teeth. “Oooooh no.”


Why It's OK That I'm Still Calling You

A rational decision. Rational decisions are too often painful. Sticking to them is even worse. To stick to a painful rational decision, you have to dredge up bad memories. Force the ugly parts to the forefront every time you start to regret your choice.

I am hopeful. And naturally positive. If a person is hopeful and naturally positive then she will not be able to keep bad memories at the forefront. Therefore, it follows that if a person is hopeful and naturally positive then it goes against her nature to stick to rational decisions. A calculated certainty. If, then, OK.


Protection

The new kid said, “Lady!” or “What?” or some sort of single-word utterance of disrespect that escaped me but made several students puff-up their manly eighth-grade chests and spit:

        “Don’t talk to my teacher like that!”
                                                                          “Man, you better watch how you talk to her!”
                                                                                                        “What’d you say?”
                                   “Don’t be disrespectin' Ms. C!”

And because, except when I can’t contain my laughter, I control my emotions well in the classroom, I asserted, “All right, boys, that’s enough. Don’t help me, thank you.” Then, with a nod in their direction, walked over to the new kid wearing a scowl of reprimand across my face and sternly said, “Watch your tone” and “I expect you to speak to me respectfully.”

Then their chests receded and
they slid into their seats
children.


I want math to pervade everything, even love.

If I plotted the number of times I approached my emotional limit for happiness and sadness, allowing X to be the number of times it was Justin’s effect and Y to be the number of times it was the sum of Desiderio’s parts, maybe I would not have to let my heart guess at the right answer. The person I should be with is the person I am most interested in, which I would measure by frequency of thought. I would show them both my equations, and they would agree that the decision was really very clear and mathematically without question.

© Miquila Alejandre