Tag Archives: getting over him

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.

Independence and Cuban Churros

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O.D. Churroman was my source for churros on this side of the continental United States.

Mami is capable of making churros, but I have failed to get her to make them for me.

Last weekend it was so cold you could see your breath. It wasn’t until Mami was already over (to watch our show) that we thought about churros.

It has been cold and raining all day. I asked Mami is she would be coming over to watch our show and would she like to make churros together? It was just too cold and rainy for her. The show would just have to wait… as would the churros.

That was when I decided it was time to stop waiting for someone else. It was time for me to make my own churros.

So I did.

I took 1 cup of flour.
I added 1 cup of water. (Because I’m a lactard and didn’t have any milk in the house… not even Lactaid, otherwise I’d use 1/2 a cup of water and 1/2 a cup of milk)
I added a bit of salt. (Because I forgot about softening the butter and didn’t feel like waiting)
I remembered that O.D. Churroman added anise to his churros, so I added some anise.
Abuela had already told me where to find her “churrera” so I pulled it out, heated the oil and fried away!

I made my own churros cubanos.
I did it without O.D. Churroman.
I did it without Mami.
I am an independent woman.

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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¿Y Ahora Qué?

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I was dying to go dancing.
I knew where I wanted to go, but it was just far enough that just going and hoping to find people to dance with was not necessarily something I wanted to risk.
On the other hand, I knew there would be a live band and I knew some “friends” (SEE: Exs) would be playing so it’s not exactly like I would be ALONE alone.

I asked a friend, but he couldn’t come.
I asked a buddy I knew was there all the time, but he wasn’t going.

So I went alone.

When I walked in, my attention was immediately captured by a dancer I’d never seen before. And I decided I would dance with him before the night was over.

I found my “friends” and sat down with them. Of course, they were sitting with the Cuban from a few weeks ago who had proposed to me and his girlfriend. She was so quiet and barely looked me in the eye. I wondered if she hated me under pure suspicion of what had transpired a few weeks ago. Shrugging it off, I sat and chatted happily and then my “friends” got up to play, so I got up to dance.

During the next break, I made my way back to the table and … what was this? The dancer I had lost track of was sitting there! PERFECT!

After being introduced, I found out that not only was The Dancer a Cuban, he was the BEST FRIEND of the Cuban with the girlfriend. Awesome.

My “friends” got up to play again, the Cuban got up to dance with his girlfriend and I was left alone with The Dancer.
That was when The Challenge came up:
The Dancer: You drove 45 minutes for this?!?
Me: Sure, why not?
The Dancer: I would never drive 45 minutes for anything. Especially not this.
Me (to myself): Uh huh, we’ll see about that.
Me (to him): Ok, well, let’s dance.
The Dancer: You’re boyfriend won’t get jealous?
Me: First of all, he’s not my boyfriend. Second, even if he was, no… he likes to share.

Half a dance later…
The Dancer: Ok, maybe I would drive 45 minutes for THIS…
Me (to myself): I win.
Me (to him): Good to know, but don’t get any ideas of driving anytime soon…
The Dancer: How soon is soon? What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: I’m busy. And soon is, at least, March.

The night ended with a text informing me that I had no idea what I was missing, but hopefully I’d be willing to find out soon. If I had a nickel …

My plans for Friday night fell through, right along with my Saturday night plans.
I had been dying to go dancing at a Cuban place in Hollywood and had convinced a buddy of mine to be willing to make the drive with me on Saturday night, but he ended up having to work.

I sent The Dancer a message on Friday night saying that I might be available, but would let him know in an hour.
I admit, my intentions had been less than honorable. I really just wanted to win again. I had no intention of going anywhere Friday night.

He won.
He said he was going to a Cuban place in Hollywood and would love for me to meet him there.
Damn it. I hadn’t planned for that one. It was the one thing I couldn’t say no to.

It was another magic evening.
The girlfriend and her Cuban boyfriend were there and she was suddenly my best friend.
I was being introduced to all kinds of people and everyone found me to be the amazing person I am.

The Dancer and I danced and talked and it was great.
And the more we talked, the more amazing it was.
He even said that wonderfully cliché line of: Where have you been hiding all this time?

So I was winning, until he answered his own question and things took a turn for the worse: That’s right, you’ve been behind a cloud of darkness.
Me: Excuse me?
The Dancer: Don’t try to tell me there was nothing going on between you and that negro last night. [Negro as in the Spanish word for “black.”]
Me: Well, not last night, but once upon a time, sure. That was years ago, though.
The Dancer: How could you do that? You are so much better than that. Don’t tell me you’re actually attracted to negros?
Me: Seriously?
The Dancer: I’m sorry, but I don’t eat where a negro has eaten. I’m giving you this one chance because there’s just something about you, but consider yourself SUPER lucky!

I was instructed to text when I got home safely and that he would call me the next day, which surprised me since he didn’t seem to be able to get past my past.

And I guess he didn’t have the guts to tell me that to my face, because he never did call…

I can’t help but go back and forth between feeling irritated at such stupidity and totally ashamed of my choices from 5 years ago.

¿Y ahora qué?
So, now what?

O.D. Churroman and French Toast a lo Cubano

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I love churros.

A. LOT.

I used to have a date with myself on Friday nights where I would go to Disneyland for a churro and a coke and then just sit and people watch. Sometimes I’d catch a parade, too. Sometimes I’d ride a ride or two. Sometimes I’d just walk around. But I always had a churro. I went for the churros.

And then I learned that Cuban churros are not the same as the churros that are sold at the Magic Kingdom. They are not as crunchy or as long. They don’t have the same taste. And Cuban churros don’t have cinnamon on them, just sugar.

Plus, you’re supposed to eat them with thick hot chocolate.  You know the saying “We go together like peas and carrots“? Well, in Cuban the saying is “We go together like churros and chocolate.”

Having learned about these churros, I was dying to try them, but here in Southern California they are impossible to come by. The only place to get them is from the kitchen of a Cuban who knows how to make them.

I found myself in Miami for a few days before going to Cuba. And some close friends of mine took me to have my first churros con chocolate in Hialeah. (Basically, it doesn’t get much more Cuban than that.)

Months later, I would be craving them again. So I asked Mami to make them… in August, which (apparently) is just not done.
Me: Mami, can you make churros?
Mami: Churros are a winter thing!
Me: Ok.

Me: I really want churros, but Mami says they’re a winter thing.
A Certan Stubborn Bear that shall hereafter be referred to as O.D. Churroman: She’s right, they’re usually a winter thing, but I’ll make you churros if you want. Nobody’s churros are as good as mine.

Of course, it didn’t happen. O.D. Churroman and I lost touch. Life moved on. And it was winter again. And I asked Mami for churros. And churros didn’t happen. And then Mr. O.D. Churroman showed up again, in January, and I still wanted churros.

He made me churros.
Not just any churros, either.
These were special.
He remembered that I was a lactard (SEE: Lactose Intolerant) and made the churros with Lactaid.
They were the best churros I’ve ever had.

In March, he made them again. And taught me how. And showed me his secret ingredient. And then we burned them.
In September things got complicated and came to an abrupt halt.

I asked Mami to make churros again because I can’t remember the measurements O.D. Churroman told me.
She said she would. And she also told me about an idea she had for Cuban-style French Toast using Crema de Vie (SEE: Cuban Egg Nog) instead of just eggs and milk. It sounded great, but (like the churros) it didn’t happen.

I haven’t made French toast since I was maybe 6 years old and my father was explaining to me how to do it, but I am being BRAVE this year.

I pulled out the Crema de Vie, bread, a frying pan, and I got to work.

“Work” is putting it loosely, it was one of the easiest things I’ve tried to make.

Mami had wanted to make it with Cuban bread leftover from Christmas.
I didn’t have any, so I used sourdough.

I can’t tell you how delicious it was.
Crema de Vie is a winter thing, (especifically Christmas), but if I crave French Toast a lo Cubano in August, I’m going to make it.

The Cuban French Toast definitely helped with my craving, but I can’t help it…

I still want churros.

 

“Not Bored” got Boring

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I finally asked him if he was bored.

He wasn’t. He said that if anyone should be bored, it was me.

I asked what had happened before when he had gone radio silent. He couldn’t give me an answer.

Too bad, too. Because now, a month later, I’m having deja vu.

Saturday night: Honey, I am not going to make it tonight.

A few hours later: Hey hun, I feel like hell and have an early day tomorrow so you should probably just go home after the thing.

That was a week ago.

I’ve grown bored wondering the why behind it. So, I’m going to a concert tonight and I’m officially available again, though I have no intention of advertising that. I’m going to dance.

(And I’m going to miss him.)

Getting Over It

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So he hasn’t called.
He never not calls.
Any girl who has ever not been called knows exactly what happens next. A total freak-out. It’s where the “psycho-girl” stereotype comes from. Obviously, it’s not our fault. If he would just call, we wouldn’t be feeling crazy.

Here is how any normal girl who is feeling crazy can work to get over the fact he’s not calling and get on with her life:
1. DO NOT CALL.
2. DO NOT CALL.
3. Call a girlfriend instead. Be all the crazy you want at her, she understands.
4. Pick two movies. One needs to be an Action/Adventure/Drama type. The other can be the requisite uber-chick flick.
5. Make sure there is plenty of popcorn and M&M’s on hand for all this movie watching.
6. You have two choices: Either call some girlfriends and go out, or continue to stay home and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Castle.
7. DO. NOT. CALL.
8. Sleep on it. In the morning, you really should be over your craziness (or it should have gone down to a simmer).
9. Go out to lunch with friends who tell you how amazing you look and are.
10. Go for a long walk and take deep breaths.

If one is kikitiando properly, he’ll call the moment you’re over it*.

*When he does call, there is no need to push a “Why didn’t you call?” because he’s calling now and, odds are, if you sit back and wait, he’ll just share about what a horrible couple of days it’s been and how he hasn’t had any free time. It is up to you to decide whether or not you believe it. But remember, we all have those moments.