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Don’t ask me how I came to sleep on the couch last night. I remember rising a couple of times, startled in between nightmares. I wanted to stop acting like a baby, and climb into the warm comforter of his arms. Many times I contemplated using the cold weather as an excuse, instead of admitting fault.

I was staring into a white space when the clock-radio alarm went off very early at seven this morning. He hit the snooze button twice before I heard him hesitantly stagger towards the shower. He muttered something about the bloody cold morning while I closed my eyes, rolled over, and covered my head with a pillow.

Carefully, he tip-toed downstairs. He must have stood there looking at me before he caressed my head softly like a father would an asleep baby. With a smile on his face, he invites me to the breakfast table. With immaculate assurance, his face mirrored that of a child who’s done his mother proud. My Indian book of short stories I like to read before I go to sleep was open, placed precisely next to a plate of toasted wheat bagels and a steaming cup of newly poured tazo tea. It was heaven; I did not need to tell him I use a shot of skim milk and two sugar cubes. The sharp ginger ale after-taste made me grimace. He became aware I’ve been wearing his red plaid boxers and said I’m most beautiful in the morning. While dwelling in a Pasadena hotel room all weekend, he missed my wake up hugs.

He drives me to work even if he shall be late for his clinic rounds. Compared to the everyday hospital scrubs we usually wear, I notice how smart he looks in his navy pinstripe suit and dark blue dress shirt. Of course, I noticed his romantic attempt of wearing my favourite bright green and baby blue diagonally-stripped tie. He reminds me why I love dressing a man sophisticated. As he try to make small talk, I tell him I am in no mood to go salsa dancing after dinner tonight.

Before I step out of the car, he tugs at my pig tails and reminds me I will not need an umbrella because he will be waiting after my shift. I look at his solemn smile and I am amazed at how alive he makes me feel.


The clock’s alarm blared as I rolled over and automatically hit the snooze button. As I lay there, wishing it were not a time-to-go-to-school Thursday, I reminded myself that his face has been my morning sunshine for the past two years. I clearly recall how I spent a few minutes each day staring at him lovingly. He gave me a reason to smile before bouncing off our bed. Today, I varied from my usual routine. Instead, I examined beyond his physical body and wondered what made me stop loving this man.

Do I believe that love is blind? In my opinion, that statement is only thirty-three percent true. Love is also mute and deaf. Between two people, a relationship can change for the better, the worse, or remain stagnant. Unfortunately, for our relationship, we have grown apart. I hardly recognized the man that stopped my heart from beating with his first kiss anymore.

It was like yesterday when we first met. My best friend Crystal found, yet again, another possible soul mate on one of those popular Internet-dating services. Despite the numerous tries and failures, she had not given up on her search for “the right one.” On the rare times she decided she did not need anyone, she would expend all her energy looking for the one for me. The Halloween of 2004, she encountered a man who did not meet her expectations and that she did not favor, but had a co-worker named Mark that might. He had just moved to the Northwest side of Houston from Pasadena and wanted to make new friends. Crystal did not hesitate to call him. However, upon hearing his answers to her usual get-to-know questions, she recognized he was better off meeting me.

Because I was reluctant to try untraditional methods of dating such as blind dates and Internet matching services, Crystal knew she would have to resort to conniving ways. Kicking and screaming, I agreed to a double date. At the time, I was under the impression she was a good friend with both the men we were about to join for dinner.

It was an awful, but typical thunderstorm Sunday, when I found out how easily I could be deceived. As fast as the rain caught me off guard, Crystal made a bizarre excuse that left me in the crowded Thai restaurant with Mark. All of a sudden, she had to rush home for a family emergency while I was in the bathroom drying off. Because he was also unaware of the situation, Mark thought that I was part of an awful ploy. Here I was, without a purse, stranded with a stranger, who could not drive me all the way home to Sugar Land because all possible routes were flooded. Amazingly enough, Mark invited me to his apartment nearby and promised to deliver me home as soon as the rain had passed. We talked for hours until the next day, all the way to my parents’ front door.

It was love at first sight for me. His features were perfect, just like in my dreams. Marcus stood five inches taller than my five foot and five inches. His gold Texas A & M college ring would hypnotize me each time he twirled his dark curls around his fingers. Whenever I pulled away from his kiss, I would joke about ripping off all his long lashes. He spoke eloquently about how close he was to his family. He impressed me more when I learned he read the Bible everyday and kneeled at the foot of his bed to pray each night.

Just like many couples, the courtship started without any problems. Everyone around me noticed how much love had changed my usually basic Black wardrobe with splashes of color. Mark told me he had never been happier and expressed his want for a serious relationship. Low and behold, after only five good months, the honeymoon was over.

His best friend, Fen, from San Antonio surprised Mark with an impromptu visit. Around this time, I had started to sleep over almost every night. It was wrong of me to presume his family knew of my existence and that we were dating exclusively. Now, I am aware that Fen was double shocked to see me because I did not fit the Barbie doll mold he envisioned his best friend deserved. I was 180 pounds then, and, frankly, I did not know how Mark saw me as the ugliest person the next time I came over. I noticed he became distant as he proceeded to give me the cold shoulder the entire night. Abruptly, he demanded I leave the apartment. With this slap on my face, his phone calls and sweet nothings ceased.

For a month, I mourned the loss of what I thought was a good guy. Out of the blue, he called me to say how much my company was missed. Because I was healing and ready to move on, I let him have a piece of my mind. After I was finished, he explained that his bad behavior was due to his father’s heart attack. Of course, like any normal person, I forgave too easily and ran back into his arms.

Unknowingly, I became a part of a series of lies that slowly killed whatever self-love I had left in me. Like acid rain, tears washed away the best memories. Even how much I had hoped, Mark did not become the knight in shining armor I previously thought. In fact, he became the complete opposite of what I prayed for, the man I originally met.

When I asked Mark, “how come you don’t hold my hand anymore?” or “why don’t you want to sit together and watch movies with me?” the replies gradually became horrid. He would tell me he was tired or just did not feel like it. Then, he became brutally honest and revealed the truth. To my dismay, Mark informed me that he does not see me as a girl friend material, partly because I have only lost thirty pounds and “still look chubby.”

The more Mark changed the more I realized I did this to myself. I was doomed to repeat my mistakes, and it was a hard lesson learned. In the beginning, some things seem sweet and we wish it would remain so. As we grow, we discover change is inevitable. With Mark’s erratic behavior, there was no measurement. It should not take me almost two years of broken promises and deceit to see the truth. Unfortunately, this relationship is over and has no more room to grow.

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