Forget

Forget that we existed.
Forget that we were friends.
Erase from me your memory.
Let this be how our story ends.

Forget the late night phone calls
And early morning texts.
Forget hieroglyph emojis
What words could not express.

Forget those two nights of drinking.
Forget those nights’ regrets
Forget how we forgave
Rather than give into unspoken threats.

Forget the late night movies,
Award shows, and reality T.V.
Forget the snarky comments . . .
Forget how we could be mean.

Forget those intimate moments
When we glimpsed one another’s tales.
Forget those silly moments
When we both escaped our shells.

Forget that we were “there”
Most nights for almost two years.
Forget how we brought laughter
Forget assuaging fears.

Forget sharing YouTube videos
Of music, animals, and pranks.
Forget sunglasses and watch shopping
And temporarily breaking the bank.

Forget our inspiration
Forget our personal growth
Forget our anticipation
Forget reaching for our phones.

Forget the closeness of our presence
Despite living 300 miles apart.
Forget not feeling lonely
When we watched over each other’s hearts.

Forget the scores of promises
Forget planned visits that never became
Forget how when you met her
You forgot that we were friends.

Forget everything we experienced.
Forget the closeness of our shared past.
Forget the passion that drives us both,
It was never meant to last.

Free me from your memory
Let our story never have began.
Forgive me for erasing you
This is how our story ends.

 

 

17 Years Ago Today

Seventeen years ago today
I was sitting in my car
I’d just finished pumping gas
When I received an urgent call

“Stop everything you’re doing!
Come be with me at once!
Your Goddaughter’s coming early!
She’s already pulling stunts!”

I had with me my boyfriend
He’d never met your mom,
So here was my dilemma,
Do I see you born or drive him home?

Unfortunately for him,
To the hospital I fled
Rounding circle’s in the Avenues
Until I found your mom’s hospital bed!

Oh, was she embarrassed!
To meet my beau this way
But given the alternative,
She wouldn’t have had it any other way.

It didn’t really matter
Because I found her in a state
Surrounded by your grandparents
Scolding me for being late.

She wasn’t quite herself
The drugs had already kicked in
Your father—he looked stricken
—A new life to begin.

As he donned on his hospital gown
We wished your mom good luck
And giggled about how’d you’d run
This perfect day amok.

When they wheeled your mom away
I’ll admit that I was scared
A life without your mother
Would be too much to bear

But I need not to have worried
The doctors kept her safe
I wish you could have seen the single tear
Stream down your father’s face

When he held you up so proudly
For all of us to see
His tiny baby girl
How gently he held thee.

Now you’ve grown into a woman
A baby girl no more,
My heart both cries with sorrow
And wishes you to soar.

From the day that you were born
You’ve lived at your own pace
Insisting on being early—
Always staying ahead of the race.

So today, dear baby girl
I beg you to slow down
And take the time to enjoy
Your last year as a child

Take time to watch the sunrise
With sister at your side
Take time to take walks
With your brother—be his guide.

And every chance you get
Spend time with mom and dad
For once you start your life
You’ll wish for more time with them to have had.

And remember baby girl
As you look upon this day
That life is what you make of it—
It’s how you choose to pave your way.

Please keep that soul of kindness
Please keep that humble heart
Please keep that self-discipline—
It’ll give you your head start.

Please keep that optimism
That always sees you through
And keep strumming your guitar
On days that feel somewhat blue.

Please seek out some adventures
Live life not in fear
Take chances when you get them
And try a little beer. 😉

Don’t be afraid to call me
When you make a few mistakes
I’ve made a few myself
And promise to give you breaks.

For you I’ll always be there
Regardless of “the crime”
That my dear is something
On which you can rely

But mostly please remember
As you enter this new stage
That I will always love you
No matter what your age.

I’ll never forget the flurry
Of that beautiful September day
When I met you as a baby girl
Seventeen years ago today.

Happy Birthday Nikki!
9.17.2015

First Snowfall of 2015 in Washington D.C.

January 6, 2015/Three Kings Day 2015

Three King’s Day 2015 coincided with the District of Columbia’s first snowfall of the year. To celebrate the feeling of living in a “Winter Wonderland,” I took photos of the National Mall during my lunch break.

Here are the unfiltered, un-Photoshopped, un-cropped photographs.

I began my walk with a stop at Potomac Park

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Then I took a walk from the Lincoln to the World War II Memorial, where I got an nice view of the Washington Monument.

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I figured I may as well visit the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. The effect in the snow made me think “Beautiful Tragedy.” They both felt more solemn than normal.

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I ended my lunch break with a view of the Jefferson Memorial and Reagan National Airport.

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P.S. I don’t think anyone was planning on biking today . . .

Frozen Capitol Bikeshare

My Sister Visits Me In Washington, D.C., Day 3

Day 3. December 30, 2014

The third day my sister was here we woke up eager to check out the only museum on her “Must See” list. The Newseum. The original plan was to visit the Newseum then explore more of the National Mall, but we ended up spending six hours taking in American History and the History of the Press through the eyes of journalists.

It became apparent that my sister, her bf, and I had different museum visiting strategies, so we split up right away and agreed to reconvene at lunch. We ended up meeting up at the end of the day.

Honestly, I thought we might not make it in to the Newseum to begin with because my sister spent one hour reading  the headlines. It was interesting to see how each state perceived what was Newsworthy. On this particular date it felt like most of Middle America’s front page news centered on football, whereas the coastal states featured news on the missing AirAsia plane or politics.

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A good portion of the Newseum was dedicated to the history of the press and its conflict with the government. The two need each other as much as they get in each other’s way, but probably the most enlightening part was how much the press and the people have worked together to affect political change.

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The headlines surrounding the civil rights movement were like a slap on the face. The actions taken by opponents to desegregation were barbaric. More interesting were the parallels between what happened then and what’s happening now with the Furguson Case.

I probably spent an hour in this section. My high school  American History class did not do this justice. Some of the articles made me sick to my stomach.

I probably spent an hour in this section. My high school American History class did not do this justice. Some of the articles made me sick to my stomach.

Some of the visual aids were shocking. The one of a truck full of bullet holes showed the extent that journalists will go to to bring us a story. The truck made my stomach churn. The journalist in it survived that attack, but it left me wondering what type of person it takes to risk his/her life in order to bring the people a story.

The museum makes a big deal about how journalist write our first drafts of history. I think that’s true. While the headlines might be sensational, the stories written this way gave me a different perspective on some major world events that my high school history classes glossed over.

What do you think? Are journalist crazy to take these risks or are they unsung heroes to the people’s cause?

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For me, two of the most emotional exhibits centered around 9/11 and the Pulitzer Prize winners. I could only handle these exhibit for a few minutes at a time because it brought to life the hard decisions that photographers must make on a daily basis.

It was interesting to see how different states and countries handled the headline treatment of the World Trade Center. Some of the headlines were sensitive and other’s were sensational, but they all made apparent the shocking news of the day.

The story that got me the most was one of a photographer who was documenting starving children in Africa, and how his decision to not intervene eventually lead to him taking his own life. To contrast that one, there was one of a photographer who helped a Vietnamese girl who was fleeing from Napalm (after he took her picture).

I only took a photo of one of my favorites picture, which is the one of a giant wave hitting a lighthouse.

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I finished my tour on a happier note with a tour of the Baby Boomer Generation.

We didn’t end up meeting up until the museum closed. Since it was cold out, we decided to explore the city a little bit and ended up at Ford’s Theater. We snapped some shots, then decided that it would be the next day’s activity.

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My Sister Visits Me In Washington, D.C., Day 2

Day 2. December 29, 2014

While my sister and her BF woke up full of energy on Monday morning, I was running a fever and didn’t have a voice. So, I stayed home and slept while they ran off to explore the Natural History Museum and later to get a better view of the White House.

I met up with them at the Lincoln Memorial that night. They were freezing and ready to go home, but they appeased my request to take a few photos.

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My Sister Visits Me in Washington, D.C., Day 1

Day 1. December 28, 2014 The Outcome of the Big Move: Part of the reason I’ve been feeling so sad. During the last couple of months of 2014, I was in a state of melancholy. I missed my friends, I missed New York, and while the decision to restart my career at step-one was the right one, I was already feeling the financial strains of taking on an entry level position. Starting over at 35 isn’t an easy thing to do . . . I imagine it’s a difficult step to take at any age. I always thought that by now I’d be co-habitating with a romantic interest, or maybe even be married, and that I’d have a least one adopted or foster child, a cat, and a dog. We’d both be professionals–me possibly a writer, him possibly a journalist, engineer, or politician, and that we’d be traveling the world non-stop. That was the dream. Instead I find myself living in Washington, D.C, with a roommate I met on Craiglsist, and two cats. I have no boyfriend and my only potential love interest lives too far away to be viable, and can I mention, again, how much I miss my friends?  A life without a social life can be hard. Realistically, it’s not bad at all. I love where I live, I love my job, and I love the life I lead. Being new to this town, I’m still working on making friends. Luckily my roommate, his girlfriend, and a  few of my colleagues have turned out to be a built-in support group. I have a friend from NY/RI who occasionally comes to visit, and the pickup soccer groups here are great. It’s just that some days I look around and feel like I’m living like someone in her early 20s, and it makes me sad because I then feel unaccomplished. I have to remind myself, regularly, that life is about the journey, and we all carve our own path in our own time. On the good days, I realize that my journey might be slower than other’s, but it’s taken me across the United States to live in some of our most historical places. It’s allowed me to meet some amazing people, and see sites and have experiences that some can only dream of. Moreover, with each move I’ve come away with a deeper understanding of what it means to be and have true friends. I’ve been blessed with a support group that has shown me the lengths people who love you will go through to make sure you’re all right. Sometimes it’s a phone call, sometimes it’s a surprise gift or card in the mail, sometimes it’s helping you move, sometimes it’s a last minute trip to visit you, and sometimes it’s a little bit of tough love, no more than a simple hug, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen too. My Sister and Me My sister and I hadn’t spoken regularly in months. She works in the film industry, which means long hours for days and sometimes weeks or months at a time. Finding the time to talk isn’t easy, but somehow she sensed that I needed her company, so when her last show ended she surprised me with a visit. It wasn’t a total surprise. I mean, she tried to give me a few days notice for a weekend visit, but since I had the last week of December off  of work, we (her BF and I) were able to convince her to postpone the trip for a couple of weeks, which was great, because I was able to spend an entire stress-free week with my one and only sister and here newest sidekick-Kiki. Opening Gifts My sister and her boyfriend arrived early on Sunday, December 27. I’d just gotten back from a weekend trip to NY and was running a low fever. I woke up in the early morning to pick them up from the airport and greeted her with a hug and an “I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I have a surprise waiting for you at home. The bad news is, I’m sick.” They were tired but excited. They were also disappointed that they hand’t been able to catch a glimpse of any of the monuments from the plane. “That’s because you flew into Dulles,” I told them, “But don’t worry. You’ll get to see them on the drive to the apartment. And they did. At the first glimpse of the Washington Monument, I thought they were both going to jump out of their seats. There will never ever ever ever be a feeling as great as seeing those two awestruck faces as we drove by it. Just as good was my sister yelping, “oh! oh! oh! is that the cemetery?” as we drove past Arlington Cemetery. And possibly better was her boyfriend’s frantic taps on her shoulder and animated facial expressions as we drove past the Pentagon.” Those were the first of many moments this week when I would come to realize just how special Washington, D.C. is. To me, it’s my home, but to others, being here is a dream come true. The first thing we did when we got to the apartment was to take a tour of the place, which they decided to call “The Hotel Hilton.” The second thing we did was exchange gifts. I don’t normally buy gifts for all of my siblings. We do a family Christmas exchange instead, but since she was visiting and I knew she wouldn’t adapt well to the “cold” weather, I decided to buy her something she could use during her stay. She surprised me with a gift too. But her’s was a result of a misunderstanding. About 10 or 15 years ago, my sister and I were watching a documentary about Jennifer Lopez. There was a scene where JLo was having someone flown in to do her nails, and during that scene my sister turned to me and said, “I want to be just like her one day.” That memory is etched in my mind forever. So much so that when JLo’s book came out, I sent my sister a link to it with a note that read, “If I ever get you for the Christmas exchange, I’m buying you this.” She read it as, “If you get me, get me this.” So I got the gift that I would’ve bought for her. Ha. ha. ha. Oh, andI kept it. Yup, she was embarrassed, but I loved it and the story that came with it. JLo is pretty damn cool too. I had planned to read the book before giving it to my sister anyway, so it all worked out. Our mother had also sent us both a gift which she said “are the same but different. You guys can decided who get’s what when you open them.” They ended up being bracelets that have protective powers. We tried them on and, after some deliberation, decided to each keep the one that we’d opened.

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Eating Tamales We our half Puerto Rican and half Guatemalan, which makes for an interesting blend of traditions. Growing up, Christmas was always more my dad’s holiday’s than my mom’s. We grew up opening gifts at midnight and eating the traditional Guatemalan tamales on Christmas Eve. My sister, who now lives in Puerto Rico, had been craving them all month. According to her boyfriend, she’d been talking about them non-stop for days. This is a food that doesn’t exist there, so she was in absolute heaven when I opened the fridge and said, “Here, these are for you.” Of course, we made her Puerto Rican boyfriend try one too. He decided they were delicious! (A special thanks to the NY family for cooking these up).

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Exploring the Capitol/The National Mall After taking a nap, we drove to the National Mall to see the sites. We spent five hours walking from the Capitol to the White House. I don’t think either of them realized just how much there was to take in. Here are some of my favorite shots of the Capitol.

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The Washington Monument Of course, a trip to D.C. is not complete without a walk to the Washington Monument, where they shared one of the world’s most romantic kisses.

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The National Tree A stop at the National Tree was a must. We stopped by the Puerto Rican and Utah trees, but unfortunately the white signs and tree lights didn’t cooperate with the digital cameras. But here’s a glimpse of what we experienced. There are no pictures of the White House because it was too dark, but I’ll never forget my little sister’s look of disappointment when she realized how small it was. “I’m unimpressed,” she said. “I was too,” I responded,” Until I remembered the time period during which it was built, and what it’s function is. It’s really not that small, when you think about it that way.” She remained “unimpressed.”

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The night was cold, and we were hungry. So after that last kiss, we went to grab some pizza at the Pie, then headed home to sleep.

A Holiday Glimpse of New York City: Christmas 2014

I lived in New York for a little over six years, but it wasn’t until my third year that I fully appreciated the magical feeling the city brings to the season. Decorative trees stand tall at some of the city’s greatest landmarks. Ice rinks pop up at local parks, and store windows become fairy tale worlds. Here’s a glimpse at the 2014 season.

Washington Square Park, December 26, 2014

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The Freedom Tower, December 26, 2014

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Bryant Park, December 26, 2014

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Rockefeller Center, December 26, 2014

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5th Avenue, December 26, 2014

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Radio City Music Hall and 6th Ave, December, 26, 2014

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A Heart Still Healing

Will you think of me when I’m gone?
When you’ve met someone–
When you’ve moved on?

Will you keep me near your heart?
Will we keep speaking–
While worlds apart?

Will you answer when I call?
When I need you to catch me–
Before I fall?

Will you still want to be my guide?
And if so, will you make the time?

Questions I once asked
In our past
Worst fears come true
Change came to0 fast.

I don’t know what you’re thinking
All I know is that my heart’s still bleeding
Wishing for a time and place
Before I acted with such haste.

Before the wall grew thick and tall
Before you heard her siren call.

I wish I’d known
What you were thinking
That night I confessed
To you my feelings.

Or that night you set my
Whole heart riling
Betrayal, that’s what
I was feeling.

How could you treat me with such disrespect?
How could you think
You were doing your best?

Our friendship you risked
You set us aside.
For a chance at forever
With her at your side?

Didn’t you know
If it were meant to be.
Nothing would’ve been threatened
Not by a call with me . . .

You’ve moved on
Didn’t event thing twice!
When you knew of my
Internal plight.

You’ve moved on,
Not thinking twice!
Of a friendship that
Once brought you delight.

On to her
Without a second thought
Of a friendship forged
When two lives were distraught.

What was I ever you?
But someone to accompany you
While you were blue.

Our friendship was nothing
But a farce
It was nothing to you
But its end tore me apart.

Here I sit
Heart still shattered
My soul left
Cold and tattered.

Hoping to someday trust again
Hoping the next one
Deserves the love I can give.

Hoping he understands
When I’m slow to let him in
Hoping he’ll be patient
I’ll wait to begin.

And hoping that one day you’ll call to mend
What we once had as friends.

Hoping that what we had was strong
Hoping one day you’ll prove me wrong.
.

 

La Llorona- A Prelude

Prelude

Once, in a small village atop a steep gorge, nestled in the deep woods of Guatemala, lived a woman so beautiful that she was thought to be the direct descendant of a goddess.

Her hair, thick and dark as night, reached her heels and seemed to shine with the moonlight. Her eyes radiated all the joy of the world, and her smile was as luminous and warm as the sun on a lazy day. Her character was a reflection of her beautify. Good natured and kind, she seemed to find humor in all of life’s wonders. She was beloved by the village and coveted by many who wished to marry.

Her heart, however, belonged to a young farmer who had a tendency to rescue and heal all of the gods’ creatures. Her heart and his, both good and full of love for all, were indeed a match. Eventually, the two married and had a daughter whose spirit was as delightful as her parents. She had her mother’s beauty and her father’s talent with animals. They were a happy family and the pride of the village. Until the day the storm hit.

In hindsight, the villagers would say they should’ve known that they were in the wake of danger. Thick, ominous clouds had loomed on the horizon for weeks, each day growing thicker and darker. The low rumbling of thunder shook the earth, and the winds bent the trees as if in warning. But the villagers, who had always been protected by the forest from the windstorms and the river by the high cliffs, stayed in their homes, not knowing to fear nature’s wrath. By the time the rain began to fall, it was too late.

The asperity of the storm uprooted the trees, which seemed to scream when torn from the earth. The deluge of the river crept into the fields endangering the livestock.

The women’s husband, always the caretaker, swept into action–determined to rescue all the village animals. But his actions would prevail at the greatest cost. Just as he’d brought the smallest foal to safety, the river surged enveloping the man so quickly that even the strongest men couldn’t pull him from current’s vehement grip. By the time the water quieted, it was too late.

Days later, the woman found his lifeless body dropped over a log. Pale. Cold. Empty. It’s said her shrill scream was heard for miles and was so deafening and full of sorrow that even the trees wept with grief. She returned home, broken hearted.

Her hair turned white and wispy like heaven’s clouds. The joy that once shone from her eyes dissipated into a dark and soulless gloom and the warmth that once radiated from her smile became a rare flicker reserved for her daughter, who quickly became her life’s devotion.

From that day forward, the woman lived solely for her daughter–determined to protect her from her husband’s fate. But as life would have it, her efforts would be in vain.

The two became an inseparable pair and soon settled into a comfortable routine. Each day, rain or shine, the woman would walk her daughter to and from school. They would stop by a food stand for coffee and a tortilla in the morning and a tamale after school. It was during these walks that the woman almost appeared as her old self. Occasionally her hair would glisten, and her eyes would briefly radiate joy as her daughter gleefully recounted her daily adventures and spun around in circles, and chased after forest creatures, hands spread wide like children at play often do.

One day, during their walk home, a heavy rain began to fall. The darkness of night had already settled in and her daughter, fascinated by the moon’s reflection in the growing puddles, let go of her mother’s hand and ran jumping into a puddle after puddle, splashing water with felicity. Her mother, filled with unease, struggled to keep up. As the night grew darker, the rain became stronger and morphed into a sheet of water so thick that the woman could barely see her daughter. Anxious, she called to her daughter to stop. In that very moment, as the daughter looked back at the woman, she slipped and slid down the embankment and over the cliff. Horrified, the woman reached out desperately trying to clasp her daughter’s outreached hand, but it was too wet, and the squalling wind chose that moment to rise and pull the daughter down with it.

The roaring storm drowned the woman’s scream and her sanity. When the storm was over, the village set out in search of the daughter. From the beginning, there was little hope of finding her. The cliff from which she’d fallen was too high for anyone to have survived. The river beneath it roared with so much fury that even the deer stayed clear of it. There was no way she could’ve survived the fall. The villagers knew it. Most thought that the river had carried her to the ocean or that she was buried somewhere in the forest.

After months of searching, the villagers settled back into life and tried desperately to console the woman. But without a body, the woman would not accept her daughter’s death. When the villagers called off the search, the woman became engulfed in so much rage  and despair that it erased her beauty. Some say her face became that of a horses head. Others that it became that of a skinless skull, but the truth will never be known. Since that day no one has survived a glimpse of the woman’s face. It had become so frightful, that the woman draped her long thick locks over her face to cover it’s horror. Those who have dared to part her hair from her face have fallen dead in their tracks–their faces frozen in fear.

From that grief-stricken day, the woman, now know as La Llorrona or the Crying Lady, has roamed the earth weeping and in search of her daughter. To this day, in the deep woods of Guatemala, you can hear her cries. Like the howling of wolves breaking the stillness of the night, her cries are heard through the rustling of the leaves and carried by the slightest breeze into the darkest crevice of every parent’s heart.

A shuddering fear runs through their bodies when they hear her cry, for only those that hear her howling pain know the true depth of her sorrow and despair. Only they know the true risk to their children’s lives,  the length to which she’ll go to to find  or replace her daughter, and the fatal consequences the can arise from a child’s disobedience.

I Wish You Now Adieux

The time has come
To drift apart
To close the door
A brand new start.

Erase is what
I’d like to do
With every memory
Concerning you.

An option
I cannot afford
Motivation then
To cut the cord.

Someday you’ll look
Upon this day
And learn that
You responded too late.

All I asked
Was for your time
A one-time priority–
Not a crime.

Time, however,
Never found
My heart for you
Is not that bound.

Friendships true
Are not a balance
It doesn’t take much
To be somewhat gallant.

Action and inaction
Spoke louder than words.
It’s clear my friendship
You did not deserve.

A friendship gone
Too far askew.
I bid you now
A silent adieux

And softly whisper
I shall always love you.