An Old Love

Osmel Almaguer

La P-11.  Foto: Irina Echarry
La P-11. Foto: Irina Echarry

If I’d only left work at the usual time, I wouldn’t have run into my ex on the P-11.  But I suppose living in the same city means our paths had to cross at some time.  I hadn’t seen her in a year and half.

When getting on the bus, I had quickly moved to the back, where there generally aren’t so many people.  She was seated, and when I passed by I wasn’t sure it was her; she’d gained about twenty pounds.

When getting to the rear of the bus with friend Jorge, I told him about my suspicion.  He then recommended that I go back and check again to see if that was really her, since that would make me feel better.

“Excuse me,” I asked, as I touched her shoulder.

She looked up.

“Are you…?” I continued, still skeptical.

Yep, it was her; she seemed surprised.

“So, how are you doing?” she inquired.

“Me? – fine.  I’m just getting off work.  I’m still at the Book Institute. And you?”

“I finished my degree, and now I’m working at the Provincial Court,” she said, then lowering her head and remaining silent.

She seemed to know the conversation was going in an uncomfortable direction.

I met her seven years ago in a literary workshop.  She was 16 and I was 23.  She was thin and beautiful; she had been a model.  In a short time I fell madly in love with her, but she had a boyfriend – who she soon began cheating on with me.

She broke up with him, and I felt like I never had before in life.  But after five months, she broke up with me and spent the following eight months leading a life of promiscuity, while I suffered passively.

Later she resumed the relationship with me.  It was then that she moved in with me and we begin a serious relationship that lasted three years.  To maintain it, I had to give up my job as a literary specialist in order to earn more money as a security guard.

It was a difficult time. I worked nights, subjected to a lot of stress, but the money still didn’t stretch.  Soon began the fights, which became increasingly pitched.

Months before she finally dumped me, she got involved with the cousin of a friend, who she ultimately left me for.  However, she couldn’t just leave the “door closed,” she had to try and blame our domestic problems on my father.  But since she couldn’t, she then became bent on blaming me, while simultaneously attacking my self-esteem.

The last part of the relationship was hell, which I contributed to in good measure, because although the “habit was strong,” as the song goes, the love had died.

A little later she herself admitted -contradicting herself- a good part of her cheating.  Although I felt disappointed, I gradually came to understand.  I recalled what she told me about her childhood.

She grew up without the love of her father, who had temporarily abandoned her mother, who in turn blamed her – beating and abusing her.  Perhaps the only affection she received was the lust of the successive men that her mother had.

I believe she found her only refuge in lying, and that she was never taught the value of emotional relationships.

Now, there she is: sitting in front of me, fat and sad.  And me with the mixed emotions of pain and gratitude.

2 thoughts on “An Old Love

  • i like this, a fascinating peep into yr life…and i’m completely intrigued by the Book Institute. What is that? is it another name for a library?

  • This sounds like an episode–in fact several episodes–from some telenovela from hell! We invest so much psychic energy, not to mention precious time, on these relationships leading nowhere. We don’t even learn anything from our sufferings. Well, not exaclty. If we are bright enough, shrewd enoungh, we learn to become less open, more guarded, and ultimately, more discriminating in our relationships. We develop a sixth sense for detecting fatal flaws in potential lovers. We learn to love ourselves enough to never again tolerate the humiliations and mind games we prevously permitted. There are many damaged souls out there, products of a terrible world. Early in life we have the naivety to believe we can save them when, in fact, it is difficult enough to save ourselves.

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