Posts Tagged ‘Broken hearts’

Diaries of love won, lost & won again: A countdown to Valentine’s Day. No. 1

In Haiti, Personal, Relationships on January 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm


Gregory, my first boyfriend

I never talk about Gregory.  Until now, he’s been a part of my private self. I have a lot of things tucked away in that innermost part of me. I imagine the good and bad memories kept to myself are disorderly stacked on one another – a heap of confusion buried deep inside that only I can decipher. But memories of Gregory, I’d like to think, are neatly folded in a special corner in my heart underneath a soft stream of warm sun rays. I’d have it no other way. 

I was 10 when I met Gregory. He was in my sixth-grade class at a public school in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. He was Haitian American just like me. He loved to smile just like me. He had lots of jokes just like me. Gregory was zany and zealous with an infectious laugh. His dark brown eyes sparkled when he smiled and dimples simultaneously sank into his creamed-colored skin.

Made. Me. Melt.

He was cuteeeee, cool; not arrogant, and he wanted to be my boyfriend. 

At the tender age of 10, I wasn’t allowed to date or even posses innocent feelings of love. My elders would reluctantly lift that ban when I turned 18. But until then, I was to ogle only my books or face the possibility of being sent to live under the tutelage of some no-nonsense relative in Haiti.

It was the first time that I outright defied my parents thou-shall-not-look-at-boys rule. I’m glad I did. Gregory and I spent a total of one school day as a couple. That spring day, during recess, we hung out close to the school’s fenced perimeter, taking in the view of its massive concrete courtyard. We could see our classmates chasing one another, playing double-dutch, and hear faint prattles in between gurgles of laughter.

We were shy about our relationship. Gregory played with my fingertips with one hand and bounced a blue handball with the other. I just smiled at him and sometimes clumsily threw my girly come hither look in the opposite direction at no one or nothing in particular. I was a shy kid brand spanking new to the concept of having a boyfriend.

Several days later, I was to become acquainted to the reality of death. Gregory’s death.

As many deaths are, it was sudden; and as all deaths are, tragic.

That warm day before Gregory died, I distinctly recall the nervous laughs we shared in the courtyard followed by love notes exchanged during class. He kissed me on the cheek when school dismissed. His kiss was soft, gentle. He walked toward the B12 bus stop looking confident. His dirty navy blue backpack bobbing to the movement of his bouncy steps.

My heart, virtually in unison to Gregory’s fading footsteps, went pitter-patter; my stomach felt slightly queasy from the realization that we were an item.  My first boyfriend. 

I promised to call him that evening but dozed off earlier than my usual 8:30 curfew. I learned the next day that at about the time I had gone to bed, Gregory’s younger brother had set fire to the apartment where he and three brothers lived. His mother had been doing a night shift at work and the babysitter supervising in her absent was paying the next door neighbor a quick visit when the tragedy unfolded.

The apartment quickly filled with smoke, suffocating one of Gregory’s three brothers. He, my first boyfriend, my childhood sweetheart, endured third degree burns to 70 percent of his body. 

I have a scar on my right hand from a first-degree burn received when I was four. My brothers had also been playing with fire. At 10, I was able to compute that a third degree burn to 70 percent of ones body equaled a slim chance of survival. 

Gregory lived for two days after the calamitous incident. His mother loss three of her four sons. The surviving sibling would receive a series of skin grafts.

The news rocked my school where they all attended. 

I was devastated. Crushed. My 10-year-old heart forever altered, irreparable. 

The evening after the school principal broke the news to my sixth-grade class, I sobbed in my room for what felt like hours. The world felt so bleak and I thought how unfair it was that God could allow me to feel happy one day and empty the next. 

I never forgot Gregory. I learned a lot from his death, the most important being that life is short and love is sweet. It’s best to always cherish every minute spent with that special person because at any given moment, it’ll be your last moment together. Make it memorable.- MJ


Diaries of love won, lost & won again: A countdown to Valentine’s Day.

In Relationships on January 21, 2009 at 3:54 pm


I didn’t mean to check the calendar for what I think is the worst holiday ever but I couldn’t help myself. It was on my mind.

I counted some 25 days or so until Valentine Day’s.



Thumbs down.

I hate Valentine’s Day.  It’s a crappy holiday that makes people – whether you’re in a relationship or not – feel crappy. Couples – because I’ve been part of such a unit before – feel pressure to up their lovey-dovey antics even if they’re not in the mood. You know like say when there are unaddressed issues weighing down your lovey-dovey creativeness and you’re brooding and  just not in the mood to pretend that things are OK because in actuality they aren’t. And then effing Valentine’s Day arrives and you’re like, holy cow, I’ve got to put this aside and show force some love because that’s what I’m expected to do on this day and if I don’t, I’ll be blamed for ruining Valentine’s Day and I’m not trying to bear that one. 

For singles, the pressure is no less. You’re single. People look at you sympathetically, not realizing that in so many ways, you carry the prize. Heck, you may not even realize it yourself so you moan and whine and wonder what’s that girl or guy have that I don’t? Why can’t I find someone to cuddle with on Valentine’s Day? Fug. I’m not knocking companionship but let’s be honest here, many of us have no clue how to be individuals nonetheless share ourselves with others. Often, the end result is a convoluted relationship suffused with too many senseless arguments, or frustrations, or neglect, or an willingness to listen, or forgive, or move on, or have heart-to-heart talks even if the subject matter is painful, or exponentially grow up, or do simple things to show you care like check in on someone if they’ve abruptly left the room and are uncharacteristically in solitude for more than 10 minutes in another part of the house. Yeah, like checking in to see if that suddenly absent person is indeed OK and not just surfing the Internet elsewhere due to a sporadic urge to get on the World Wide Web by way of dashing out the room…it speaks volumes. 

But enough with all of that. Here’s the skinny. I plan to post lovey-dovey and not so lovey-dovey entries about love to commemorate this kooky holiday that I think is a whole lot of dog poop. Most of it will be personal in one form or another. 

I’ll write this lovey-dovey stuff because I wholeheartedly believe that love is a gift from God that we dumb humans often misuse, you know like by say installing a holiday meant to convince people that they should hold their breath until culprit holiday arrives then partake in consumerism in order to show love to the economy their loved ones. – MJ

M&M + Merlot = soothed heart.

In Personal, Relationships on November 14, 2008 at 5:05 am

For the first time in almost a yearlong span, I cried. It felt good to release suppressed hurt, pain, fear; I unleashed my inner sufferings – got acquainted with my vulnerable side.

I soothed my wound with handful bites of peanut M&Ms and sips of Merlot poured into a hunter green mug emblazoned with “Westchester County Center.”

A haunting thought about unrequited love swirled in my head like a twister with an agenda to unhinge my emotional stability.

I like being in control. Putting on a stoic air is my armor. It protects the ribcage, and most importantly the heart. It keeps me from crumbling into a sorry sob, frustrated over love’s complexity, and having to clean up the mess that ensues (runny nose, sunken eyes, etc.).

Pretend I don’t care and bam! I sequester myself into a protective cocoon of sorts. It’s how I deal. It’s how I’ve dealt with pain and matters of that ilk. It’s my modus operandi. Funny thing is it worked really well when I was young. I gave birth to this seemingly no-fail technique when I was 12. This was around the time that my parents’ divorced.

I’ve since used this coping mechanism to assuage a string of heartaches in my adolescent and young adult life.

Weird thing: It doesn’t work that well anymore, hence my normally steadfast emotional self disintegrating into a five-minute-long tearful Carrie Bradshaw bit this evening. It’s like the older I get, the harder my subconscious self works to excavate these underlying feelings. My subconscious self – that damn devil – wants to expose my soul, my inner me, the real me – I think – for public viewing. 

I can’t stand to be bare. I get cold and embarrassed fairly easily. I’m speaking for the inner me as well. 

I plan to wrestle this sly demon to the ground that has weaken my coping mechanism, making my frustrations more apparent than I’d prefer. I plan to eat more M&Ms and gulp Merlot until the inner demon, my pain, is quelled. I refuse to let it win. I’ll outwit this fiend.  

Time to put on my game face. – MJ


Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,               

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.