The love of your life

The love of your life

By Veronica Orozco @verozco

Translated by Juliana Achury (Craftisan Translations LLC) juliana.achury@gmail.com

I saw him crossing the street. I saw him coming out of his door and coming to where I was. He was taller than I expected and his haircut wasn’t even trendy yet in Medellín. He was wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of black denims. He smelled nice. “He primped himself up for me,” I thought.

I didn’t have the time to make myself pretty. When I saw him, and smelled his cologne, he was all put together and it made me self-conscious about my half-painted fingernails and my unthreaded eyebrows. Today wasn’t the day we were supposed to meet in person. That day was two months ago but it didn’t happen. Today was just a normal day. Office, work, traffic, home. As always, I left my house at 7am, not imagining that at 2pm I would get a message saying: “I’m coming to Medellín and would like to say hello.”

When I got the message my first instinct was: “NO WAY! HOW COULD HE THINK THAT?! I’m horrible, I need a manicure after work, I came to the office with my comfortable-old-lady heels and, well, you just can’t give such short notice. Besides, he knew he was coming at least two days ago, and he could have told me then.” But, after a while, I thought, “Darling, shush. It’s not like he’s the love of your life.” So we agreed to meet at 6pm. I would pick him up after work and we’d grab a drink somewhere in the area.

I had never heard his voice nor shook his hand. Our friendship was based on text messages, Twitter mentions, DMs, inbox emails and every possible social media. “What if he has sweaty hands?” I thought. “What if he has a squeaky voice? Ha, ha. No way. What if he’s gay? You can expect anything from online friendships.”

He crossed the street and hopped into the car. Time didn’t stand still, nor there was a love song playing in the background like when Cupid shoots an arrow in the movies. Thankfully, this was not the right time for it anyway. Nuns in my school clearly stated that you meet the man of your life and marry him forever. And, even if I didn’t say it out loud and hid it behind my modern woman speech, the idea of having already used my only chance at eternal love haunted me on daily basis.

His conversation seemed shy compared to my non-stop mouthful of nervous words. It is amazing how much nonsense you can say per minute when you’re anxious. But after a while we settled into a comfortable state and our energies stabilized. We talked for hours, interrupted only by our own loud laughter.

It was so easy talking to him. Looking him in the eye gave me peace of mind. Making him laugh made me happy. Too bad time didn’t stand still, or a love song didn’t play, or I didn’t marry him on what the nuns said was my first and only chance at love. Too bad, otherwise there was a beautiful possibility that he was the love of my life. We talked about love and broken hearts, happy and miserable jobs, divorce traumas, dream travel destinations. Accompanied by cigarettes and wine, we talked about every possible subject without censorship. It’s so nice to finally meet you.

We went back to the car and I drove him back. While driving, we agreed on meeting again. “When you go to Miami, let me know. I’ll do the same if I come back.” He opened the door to step out and looked me in the eyes. We didn’t say a thing, just smiled. And then time did stand still. And Can’t Fight This Feeling by R.E.O Speedwagon started to play on the car radio.

yo

Get back on the saddle, kid!

Get back on the saddle, kid!

Imagen: http://andthatswhyyouresingle.com/
Imagen: http://andthatswhyyouresingle.com/

By Veronica Orozco @verozco

Translated by Juliana Achury (Craftisan Translations LLC) juliana.achury@gmail.com

Even if you don’t believe it, and if the resemblance is not striking at first, divorced and sick people have a lot of things in common. We equally raise condescending and pitiful looks when entering a room full of acquaintances. We both have to tell the whole story over and over again, more times than we’d like to, and we are also victims of homemade remedies suggested by people who love us and want to make us feel better. They’ll do anything to get us back on our feet. But it is right there where divorced and sick part ways: while homemade cures for sickness range from exotic plant-based concoctions to colorful threads tied to limbs, remedies for divorce take more than a quick sip of the concoction – do not breath while swallowing please – and much more than the will to get better: YOUR WILL TO GET BACK ON THE SADDLE.

In a city, with a family, and with friends like mine, it’s very complex to explain that I’m not as sad as they believe. That, on the contrary, it’s been good learning experience to go grocery shopping just for myself, and that I couldn’t care less about my Whatsapp inactivity. But since “there’s no better remedy than company” and “you shouldn’t age alone,” is almost magical how it seems everyone has a “catch” to introduce me to, their ace under the sleeve: “Remember Memo Correa, my friend from college? Well, he’s been single since 1997, when you met him, and, I don’t know, wouldn’t it be nice if you guys went out and reconnect” – says a long time friend after just one sip of gin at a bar. “Honey, remember Martica Martinez’s son, the one that was suspected to be mentally challenged when you guys were little? Well, it turns out he wasn’t slow after all, he lived in Canada, just came back and he reads your tweets. Wouldn’t it be great if the two of you go out?” – is what I hear after a lunch with my family on a Sunday. Because another thing about divorced people is that, besides carrying the single label again, we also belong to the reduced and not very exclusive sub-group of the second-hand market. So we have no business dating Class A men – never-married, young, successful, philanthropic, dog-loving, Jared Leto lookalikes – instead, and as a punishment for our failed marriage, we have to settle for Class B men – other divorcees, male spinsters, medicated wackos, oedipians, closeted gays, and assholes. And then there’s also the Class C single men, but don’t make me go there.

Each guy is worse than the last one and, like in it the most absurd chick flick ever, where Drew Barrymore plays you, a chain reaction of disasters start to happen. Like the time I agreed to meet my friend’s cousin because we were all going out as a groups and I was told he was good looking, had long hair and a beard. He, indeed, had long hair and a beard – but in a Juan Tamariz kinda’ way –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Tamariz– and he was a parapsychologist, so he, throughout the entirety of the evening, whispered in my ear that he could feel my dead grandma’s presence at the bar. Or that time when I went on a blind date with the new guy at my friend’s office, who conveniently told me he forgot his wallet at home when the bill came. He also wanted to come up to my place after dinner. The next day, when I went to pick up my friend at his office to get some lunch, everyone knew about our date. Nonetheless, the guy came and asked for a hug which he finished saying a “shhh… you drained me.” Not to forget about F.W., who came to me at a bar, asked me for my number and talk to me on the chat, sent me text messages, called and voice noted me non-stop. A month later was when he posted on Instagram a picture of his newly born son. His wife was also in it. Just a few small details he forgot to tell me. That’s why the 15th of February will always be remembered as “That’s-not-my-child birthday plus how-to-block people on Whatsapp.”

No one should be forced to get back on the saddle, to date when not ready. Because, as with a bad horseback riding accident, either you get injured or leave traumatized, but for sure not willing to get back on the horse right away. It’s much more likely to get a Twitter Direct Message from the person that will bring back to life your will to face that horse.

Yeeeeee haaaaaa!

REWRITING THE END OF MY STORY

REWRITING THE END OF MY STORY

By Veronica Orozco @verozco

Translated by Juliana Achury (Craftisan Translations LLC) juliana.achury@gmail.com

Your destiny, your calling, your vocation, “the plan God had for you.” Choosing what to do with your life is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make – also having kids or not, and eating carbs after 4 pm – and nevertheless we often make that decision without giving it a thought. Just like it happens when having kids or eating that hamburger at 3AM.

I though about my true calling for exactly one minute. Literally. While I was waiting to buy the University’s enrollment form to study Economy – for this I have to blame the best teacher I had in 13 years of school because her subject was named precisely like that, Economy – I thought: what about Law? And I bought that form. It took me a minute to decide the thing I was supposed to do for the rest of my life. What if the admissions lady saw me choosing my food at a restaurant?

Not even 18 years old and I had decided to be a lawyer for the rest of my life. Too much Ally McBeal messed with my head. And so my dream became getting to court wearing pointy high heels, tailored suits and pencil skirts, and carrying a suitcase full of case-winning documents that would always bring victory to my clients.

And then real life happened. Five years of every day 6 am class -no exception-, never-ending readings of heavier-than-myself books, oral exams, coffee overdose, cigarettes bought one at the time and all-nighters devoted to analyze hypothetical cases filled with variables. Not to mention that Colombian courthouses look NOTHING like TV courthouses, neither do the judges, colleagues or the implementation of law, nothing.

I convinced myself that it was the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life even if deep down I wasn’t so sure. It could be that my mother’s voice saying how happy my deceased notary grandfather should be in heaven looking how one of his grandchildren carried on his legacy was louder than my own. Or that I cared more about overhearing my dad’s tipsy- voice one night while he was telling my older brother how much prouder he felt of me over my siblings for studying what he always wanted to study.

I finished my classes, took the preparatory exams and wrote my thesis. And I graduated, got a professional license and got a job as a lawyer. And I started going to the courthouse, but wearing flats because I had to ride a bus, and boo to the tailored suits and pencil skirts. Also my client was a bank that was foreclosing houses from people defeated by the UPAC system And nothing felt right. Nothing.

But it was what I studied. I could have chosen something else, but I chose this one. This is the end of the story that I started writing the minute I bought the Law School form when I was 17. And I lived for over ten years taking the responsibility for my choices over the happiness of my heart. I believed I didn’t know anything else to make a living and I looked down as pure “hobbies” the delightful tasks that filled my soul; like writing.

It was only after I decided to get a divorce –the hardest thing I’ve ever made up to this point- that I understood that life is not written in stone. There is no master plan in heaven dictating what we’re supposed to do. We are our master plan and we act on it every single day. I woke up one day, and understood that the unhappiness of being a lawyer and the uneasiness that plagued me every morning before leaving for the office was probably one of the determining factors in the end of my marriage. And also, in the passing on so many other opportunities. Then I chose my happiness over my duty. And I thanked Law School for everything it gave me through many years, and we said goodbye so I could start writing a new story. A story in which at thirty-something, I feel like choosing all over again the college’s admission form, but I’m no longer a child and now I know that I can change the end of my story as many times as I want.