Category Archives: Guys

Café and Closure

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The first time I met O.D. Churroman was at a Salsa Festival where Willy Chirino was playing.

From the outset, café a lo cubano had been a huge part of our relationship.
After our second date, he demanded I invite him inside and prove my cafecito making skills… or there would be no third date.
In fact, for the longest time I was not allowed to touch his cafetera; he was in charge of the café making at his place.

We had entire conversations about Cuban coffee and, to hear him tell it, he taught me “how to make it better.”
We would send daily pictures of our espuma.
Eventually I graduated to being allowed to make my own cafecito while waiting for him to wake up.

And then he disappeared from my life (just after Labor Day 2011). It took me a long time to recover from being dropped so abruptly, but time heals all wounds and I eventually stopped keeping an eye out for him every time I was in LA. I stopped wondering what I would say if I ever saw him again.

And then there he was.

It was January 10, the night before my brother’s wedding at a Cuban documentary screening. He had to get up and greet me when his cousin, an acquaintance of mine, saw me and came over to say hello. After an awkward hug and exchange about how my dark hair “looked good”, the lights dimmed and the movie was about to start so we all went back to our seats. I didn’t see him after. It felt like a cruel joke from the universe.

And then it was Mother’s Day.
And his birthday.
And I HAD to say something.
So I sent a happy birthday email and appreciated that he wrote back.
I counted it as closure.

And then there he was.
Again.

It was the first time I’ve ever been to the free Cuban Festival in Echo Park because I’m usually in Miami for the weekend closest to 20 de Mayo.

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Since I have dated my fair share of LA Cubans, I usually expect to run into a few exs at these types of events that I’m still friendly with, but I never expected to see HIM.

There was no escaping the moment; we were heading directly for each other.
A polite greeting, a Cuban hug and kiss on the cheek, and the moment was over.

And then he walked by again, “The line for café is ridiculous!”
“I know! ALL the lines are stupid long! Bueno, have fun!”
And he walked away.

And then he walked by AGAIN, “I’m going to try again.”
“Dale! Bring me one, too!”
He stopped. Turned. Called me over to him and asked, “Excuse me? What was it you called me the other day? Joven?”
“Sure! Yes! Joven! Definitely not viejo!”
And he continued on and I wasn’t sure if I was getting café or not… so I waited to see.

And then walked by again.
And he handed me a cafecito.
And he walked away.
And, with that, our story came full circle.

Salud, chico.

Enter Stranger

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Halloween night 2010 was Kaima’s going away party.
To say I was a hot mess would not begin to cover how I was feeling.

I remember plenty from that night, including meeting a rather good-looking individual and being struck dumb by the way he said my name. “Kiki. Wow. That’s an interesting name. It’s nice to meet you, Kiki.” Beyond that, I remember him spending the rest of the evening talking to a brunette. Not that it mattered much, Kaima was leaving and my heart was broken.

As I struggled with the pain of losing him and moving on with my life (Enter A Certain Stubborn Bear), I forgot that moment when a stranger said my name.

Exit A Certain Stubborn Bear.

Enter fresh loss. And pain. Enter being BRAVE. Enter being alone. Enter YOLO.

And one day, while serving at church, Enter Stranger.

He said my name again. We might have talked for all of 5 minutes max, but I was again struck.
This time I went hunting for the Stranger on Facebook. To no avail. He was hidden from me and, apparently, lost forever.

Off and on I would remember to look for him at church, but that was more off than on and he again faded into a dim memory.

And then I decided to be Intentional this year.
And I decided to start dating.
And Facebook decided to send me an email, “Do you know these people?”

And there he was: The Stranger.

I thought about it, and finally decided to send him a message. I asked if he wanted to be friends. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to be friends with ME? However, he had never found me on Facebook and, let’s face it, I’m pretty easy to find so I had to check first.

Of course he wanted to be friends (he’s not an idiot).

 

Getting Hooked Up

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A Cuban musician friend had asked me how my timbales playing was going. I told him about meeting Ramoncito Ramos and that he’d offered to teach me if I didn’t live so far south. My friend proceeded to call over his band mate, a timbales player. He said the guy was a fantastic musician and asked if he would be willing to show me some things. The guy asked who I had been learning from and admitted that I didn’t have the best teacher. He agreed to teach me what he could and gave me his number and told me what days were good for him.

My Friend: Kikita, you know I love you and I just want you to succeed and be happy. You are amazing and I am so glad to know you. Just don’t forget me when you’re famous.

I was speechless. I was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the moment.

I had confessed to this friend that I had the beginnings of a crush on one of the newer additions to our group. We are pretty close so I’ve confessed more than just new crushes to this friend. We have real talks about hopes and fears and everything in between. I had mentioned to him on more than one occasion that I was starting to worry about getting older and being nowhere near getting married and having a family. He has two sons that are the light of his life, but he admits that he wishes he wasn’t that far along yet and that I should enjoy my freedom and singlehood.

Later, I was basking in the sound of our little group of friends talking (because, is there anything better than the sound of Cuban men conversating? No, I don’t think so.) when my crush asked how many kids my friend had…

My Friend: I have two boys. They are trouble makers, but amazing and I adore them. What about you? Do you have kids?
My Crush: No, not yet. Hopefully, one day…
My Friend: No? You know, Kikita here doesn’t have any kids either, but she’d make a great mom. You two would have beautiful kids together.

I’m not sure which was worse, that he said it, or that the rest of our circle agreed with him so vocally.

I had no idea my dreams meant so much to my friend.

The Speed Date

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Once upon a time, many years ago… I was getting ready to go out dancing.

My girlfriend had turned on the tv and it was then that I saw my very first CSI: Miami episode ever.

It was Season 3: Episode 8 “Speed Kills”, a story about speed dating gone awry. It was the first time I had ever heard of speed dating and was fascinated by the idea. Granted, I decided I was too young to be speed dating, that it was something that people with “real careers” did.

It came up again when the movie “Hitch” came out and there was a scene of speed dating, but I was still not quite “old enough” to be resorting to such measures with my singlehood. Regardless, it looked rad.

Enter Groupon.com.

For $20 (instead of the regular $44), I was given the opportunity to finally attend a real speed dating event!

Plus, I finally have a “real” job (SEE: impressive) and am old enough to not feel like a bimbo.

Of course, while I am a professional when it comes to doing things alone, I thought the whole experience would be heightened by having another girlfriend there with me. Unfortunately, I have a shortage of single girlfriends. (Well, single girlfriends that I think would be fun to go speed dating with, that is.)

However, I was able to convince a girl from work to join me. We carefully planned our outfits. We decided dresses were more appropriate than pants. So I wore a long dress of hot pink paisley on a white background (it looks way hotter than it sounds) with perfectly matched heels and jewelry. We had also decided a bit of “pre-game” was essential (aka a shot of Wild Turkey, no I don’t know why we chose that, but we did).

As we entered the bar where we would be speed dating, we were given a score card and a number. The number would let us know what table we would be sitting at for the duration of the event. The score card was to help keep track of the gentlemen callers who would be stopping by our table.

We arrived just early enough to get a drink before the hosts led us all to our tables.
My girlfriend’s table was as far away from me as possible.
My table was actually an open booth on a step with it’s own chandelier… basically, I looked like I should’ve been wearing a tiara as the queen of the event. I was thoroughly amused by it all and ready for my first date.
Asian.
Beyond that, all I really remember is that he seemed nervous and was thoroughly interested in my love for cigar smoking.

Date #2: Obviously Latino. Mmm, my drink was delicious. He was an underwriter which I mentally interpreted as “lots of money, but can’t spell.” He lived super close to me. He was obviously interested.

Date #3: Asian.

Date #4: Asian. I didn’t get to finish telling him about how great cigars are.

Date #5: Break time! There were more women then men, so I got a breather… and another drink.

Date #6: Late arrival. Black guy.

Date #7: How many frakking “Billys” are there at this thing?

Date #8: Break time again! Phew! Time to text people and tell them how freaking fun this is.

Date #9: So… what kind of Asian are you?

Date #10: More breaking! Oh good! Texting!

Date #11: Holy cow! You’re HOW old? Don’t look at me like you like me. You’re old enough to be my father.

Date #12: Lemme guess… Flipino? (shoot! I hate O.D. Churroman and his use of racial slurs! And I hope homeslice over here did not hear it.)

And then it was over.

The Latino immediately came over and offered to buy me a drink. “Sure!” (Of course, I should have followed him to the bar to make sure he did not slip anything into my drink, but this was a private event in the O.C., the odds were in my favor.) While he was getting me another drink (the better to seduce me with), one of the gals came over to sit with me and chat about the event. Then my girlfriend came over. I was walled in by women so when the Latino Drink-Getter came back, he had to sit at the end of the booth and attempt to charm me from afar.

My girlfriend was ready to go, so he followed us out and asked if I’d like to meet at a bar near where we live. “Sure!” (Of course, I should have told him some other time, but I was caught up in the fun of the moment. Besides, he seemed harmless enough.)

I met him at the bar. He drove a very nice car. I switched to water. We chatted for about an hour about everything… He used to be a Marine. For some reason, he started quoting Jack Nicholson’s “You Can’t Handle the Truth” monologue from A Few Good Men. I laughed in an appreciative, “Hey! I know that movie!” way, but he didn’t stop.
HE. DIDN’T. STOP.
He did the WHOLE MONOLOGUE. – Strike 1, sir.

He walked me to my car and asked, “What? No good night kiss?”

I proceeded to lecture him on how any potential for a good night kiss had just been ruined by asking. He interrupted my lecture and kissed me. (Not bad, but I’ve definitely had better.)

I thanked him, said it was lovely to meet him, and good night.

He asked, “That’s it then?”

Me: Umm… yeah. It’s late. I have to work tomorrow. Oh, and I. JUST. MET. YOU.
Him: Can I come over?
Me: No. Are you kidding? NO.
Him: Ok, do you want to come to my house? I live right down the street…
Me: No. I’m going home. Good night.

I left. And quickly.

Multiple text messages and a phone call later, I was finally able to sleep.

The next morning, the texts started again.

Was I available for lunch? Dinner? A quick coffee? Dinner tomorrow?

I was busy.

Midnight: Was I awake?

The following day I explained that I don’t like when people message me late at night. His response: Could I escape work for a quick coffee?  What about dinner after work?

I get an email from the Speed Dating people.. I have TWO matches! TWO people thought I was cool enough to see again.

The really old guy.
And one of the Asians.

Not the Marine who was trying so hard to see me again.

Strike 2.

Saturday night, Midnight: Would I like to go to breakfast the next morning? If I said no, then he would never call again.

I politely reminded him it was Easter and then silently kicked myself for responding. For some reason, I felt like I should give this poor guy a chance… he HAD served our country, after all.

He didn’t see a problem with it being Easter.

And, really, there are plenty of people I would happily get up and go to breakfast with, none of them are so pushy, though. I don’t like being pushed. Strike 3. Latino is out. (And thus endeth the one last chance I was giving Mexicans.)

Yay! Speed dating!

Truth be told, I would SOOOOO do that again (without the after-party-for-two-at-another-bar scene, though). 🙂

Not My Baby

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An (African) Ex: How are you, my sister?
Me: GREAT! How is your beautiful baby daughter?
Him: My daughter is as cute as can be!
Me: I can’t wait to meet her!
Him: Come over! She looks more like you than me.

Ummm… Yeah, I guess so…

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Lagrimas Negras

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Coming back from Miami is never easy for me.
When I’m there, I feel like I’m at home.
When I’m in CA, I feel like a fish out of water.

Knowing this about myself, I made sure to hit the ground running. I had plans just about every night after I landed.
First night back: Date with hot Cuban (who shall henceforth be referred to as Hank Bacardi)
Second night back: rehearsal for my upcoming timbales recital (!) followed by a meal at a nearby Cuban restaurant

(Are you seeing the trend?)

Third day back: finalizing weekend plans
Fourth day back: enjoying left-over Cuban food, café, and sunshine in the morning; enjoying a fabulous Cuban (Cuban leaves grown in Nicaragua) cigar with a good friend; more Cuban food; and then dancing with Hank Bacardi. (Unfortunately, Hank Bacardi was otherwise detained and didn’t make it. My cousins who were to join us also couldn’t make it which lead to me being totally bummed out, but refusing to give in to the disappointment because I’d had such wonderful day.)

Fifth day back: Horseback riding and finishing a good book.

The problem with finishing a good book is that then it is over. It’s like saying goodbye to good friends.
I loved the book, but finishing it made me sad. It made me miss O.D. Churroman because he was the one who first got me into it. It made me miss Kaima because I knew he would have enjoyed it.

Slowly, but surely, missing Miami was catching up with me.

I had invited very few people to my timbales recital and, over the course of the week, most of them apologized and said they couldn’t make it.

The night before my performance I had the worst rehearsal of my life. I couldn’t keep a steady tempo. My teacher looked at me in shock and wondered what had happened to his amazing student. The whole band was super supportive and attributed my issues to pre-show jitters and offered words of wisdom on how I didn’t need to worry and how great it would be.

I knew it wasn’t that. I have no problem performing.
But not being able to shake it off and play the way I wanted too was only compounding the problem.

It finally became too much for me and I needed a release.

What I probably needed was a good cry, but I can’t cry on command and watching some movie to make me cry felt a bit too contrived.

With such a long day to follow, the last thing I wanted was to be hung-over so drinking was out of the question.

Not really sure what else to do, I reached out to a certain Yellow Shirted Conundrum: I either need a good cry or a good … *ahem*  So, what are you doing? Want to help me cry?

Being the gentlemen that he is, he responded in such a way as to bring a smile to my face.

It took enough of the edge off that I pushed through and had a fabulous recital.
I messed up, but not too horribly and was able to recover.
I was definitely on a high afterwards and went out.
And after I went out, I went dancing.
It was one of those magical nights where I didn’t stop dancing and every dance was a good one.
It seemed I had staved off the tears.
The magic had taken away the need to cry.

The next morning I was reading and enjoying breakfast when I got a message from Kaima: I miss you too.

The dam broke before I realized what had happened.

I told him about how great my playing had been and that I rocked.
Kaima: Of course you rock.
And then he was off to bed and “Have a super day, goldilocks.”

The tears would not stop after that and my mascara caused them to be black tears.
Lagrimas negras.

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“Aunque tú me has dejado en el abandono
aunque ya han muerto todas mis ilusiones,
en vez de maldecirte con justo encono
en mis sueños te colmo de bendiciones.
Sufro la inmensa pena de tu extravío
siento el dolor profundo de tu partida
y lloro sin que sepas que el llanto mío
tiene lágrimas negras”

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Kikita’s Kryptonite

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Men in white suits.

*swoon*

Then again… “suit” isn’t really required…
Men wearing any form of white tend to have the same effect on me…

Sitting around wearing white, well, only half wearing white, or even half-dressed … in white… yeah…

But really a white suit is nothing without a
double-staircase… and a trumpet…

*purrrrrrrrr*