Learning How to Love: Chapter 3



May 3, 2014

Who the fuck knows what love is anyway? I can study it my whole life and still not be a fucking expert yet here I am trying to make sense of it and love someone else. 

If this is going to be my life’s work, if this is going to be what I study and build programs around – this unknown mysterious feeling- then let it fucking kill me as Marie Curie did with her work on radiation! 

Let it consume my life so I can write about heartbreak and moving the fuck on. But honestly Universe, can you send some nice lovers my way? I’m really sick of this whole “love” thing. I just want to fuck around and have a good time. Can you do that Universe? Can you…please?

June 9, 2013

After spending a whole night with a cute guy I couldn’t kiss, I decided it was a great idea to hang out again. This time, thankfully, we made plans to hang out in daylight. It’s never sunny in Arcata, but that day, it was bright, beautiful and charmingly quiet.

“So, how long have you and your boyfriend been together?”

“Since last Summer kinda. He didn’t ask me to be his girlfriend until Fall, but he had already moved 700 miles away. We’ve broken up a few times. It’s weird.”

“How’s it weird? Seems like you and your boyfriend have a trusting relationship.”

“It’s weird because I don’t believe in Love the way he does. He pictures us as a family like I’m supposed to be this wife who creates these perfect little good children and we live in this big house and it’s gotta white-picket-fence n’ shit. I just don’t know how I’m supposed to be all that.”

Mr. Mariposa and I walked from the school campus to a nearby neighborhood park. I had walked through this same park the first night me and Mr. Money hung out. We were leaving his place, drunk and high and he insisted on walking me home. He tried to kiss me here, at this park, but I gave him the cheek. He was a nice guy and all, but I didn’t wanna kiss him. It wasn’t a sexy moment. Now, I’m here with a sexy guy, really wanting to kiss him. The irony never fails.

We decide to sit in this park and drink the rest of the Stellas from the night before. It’s broad daylight and we’re at a kid’s park. Nothing wrong here, right?

He continues to ask about my relationship. I think he’s curious about why I feel the way I feel when I’m around him.

“You know, Mr. Mariposa I just think you’re easy to talk to and I feel like you get me.”

“What’s there not to get? You’re an intellectual. I feel like you get me, too.”

“So, what’s your deal? Are you seeing anyone?”

“It’s complicated. There’s a girl. But she has cold feet. We tried getting together before the year ended but it wasn’t the right time. We said we’d try again when she moves back.”

“I get that. The story sounds familiar.”

“Yeah, so earlier you said you and your boyfriend keep breaking up. Don’t you get tired of the on and off? I had a relationship like that in high school. It’s kinda exhausting.”

“You don’t say! It’s fucking ridiculous. Why can’t we make up our minds? I don’t know. I don’t think we’re meant to be. He says we’re soul mates, but I believe a person has multiple loves throughout their lifetime. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all type of Love. I don’t know about Love…”

July 13, 2013

The cool thing about staying in Arcata over the summer is that the campus is virtually uninhabited. Plus working for the Housing + Dining department has its perks. I get to live on campus for the summer for FREE! But I do have to work nights and be on-call for 24-48 hours every other week. Just a small price to pay to live rent-free and steps away from the Redwood Forest.

It’s 8 PM and Mr. Mariposa is late, per usual. But he shows up with a blanket, some snacks, and that legendary beam I’m so fond of. I wasn’t expecting to see him again so soon. Especially after I cheated on my boyfriend with him. Plus, my boyfriend and I hadn’t actually broken up. I just sent him a text, which is hella shady. But I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to stargaze in a deserted football stadium. I pushed my guilty feelings way back into my amygdala hoping that it comes up with a neat way of processing all this shame someday later. But not today. Today, I’m going on a date.

You’d think summers would be nice anywhere in California, right? Wrong. Not in Arcata. Arcata is mostly foggy and wet. Mostly always wet. The Redwood Bowl serves as a sweet escape for the night, but it does not come cheap. The night is cold and the grass has small surprise puddles. Mr. Mariposa and I don’t care. While the Earth is wet and full of last morning’s dewy elements, the sky is a paradise for stars.

We find a patch that’s decent enough to sit on, and we lay the blanket down. Even though I devoured his face the night before, I still sit away from him, hoping to keep my distance and focus on the conversation, not my feelings. One thing Freud got right was that arguments stemming from logic are weak when pitted against human passions and desires. As it gets colder, we’re forced to sit closer to one another and I’m face to face with a charming brown boy.

 Fortunately, the electric conversation between us generates some heat. In between talking about views on humanity and navigating the world as brown people, we make time to laugh. He asks me if I’m ticklish and I coyly say no. He decides to test it out and slowly brushes his fingers down the length of my back. I hold in my laugh and smile through the pain. He inches toward my side, the epicenter of all things ticklish and I explode with laughter. He goes in for the kill and starts tickling my sides, setting off my defensive pushes and shoves. Somehow, my leg wraps around his. His warmth sends shivers up and down my spine.

I lay on the ground to get a good look at the stars. I’m not even sure when the meteor shower is supposed to appear. I’ve never seen a meteor shower, so I don’t know what I’m looking for. Suddenly, Mr. Mariposa pounces on me and squared his arms between mine. Leans forward with his whole body, presses it against mine and lets his lips do the rest of the talking. He consumes me; engulfing my body with his hands, touching every inch of this heavenly body and letting me know that he’s down for more than just a kiss. Not even the stars feel this beautiful.

I felt like I was in the opening scene from Charles Baxter’s The Feast of Love. Two young kids making love on the football field. Wild and free. We weren’t making love, but I wish we were. I’d been dreaming about this kind of romantic shit my whole life. I held his face as he kissed me and moved my hands down his back ending up with a hand full of cute-boy-ass. Indeed, this was a feast of love.

New chapters are available to read Wednesdays @ 8 PM.

Learning How to Love: Chapter 1



April 1, 2020

When I was 17 years old, I asked my Dad about infidelity in romantic relationships. He was good at that. He told me, “You’re a Hernandez, baby, it’s in your blood.” His Dad was also really good at cheating on his Mom.

That moment absolved me of every kiss I’d ever snuck and every one-night stand I shouldn’t have had. Were we not worthy of a full and flourishing love? Was the Hernandez legacy doomed for addiction and unhealthy romantic relationships? I had to find this out for myself. Was love truly blind and only meant for procreation, or was love more complex than I knew?

By that age, I had already lost my virginity, been cheated on, been the cheater, had an abortion, kissed straight and gay boys and girls. I had already seen my fair share of unhealthy relationships, stalkers, creeps, fuckboys, and “nice guys.” I asked my Dad that question for a glimmer of hope. I’d been desperately searching for “true love,” and came out empty-handed after every endeavor.

Two years later I asked my Dad’s youngest brother about true love. He’s a man who loves men. Many, many men. After a couple beers and a joint we smoked, he said, “I believe the Universe gives you multiple true loves throughout your lifetime. You can love…over and over again. There will be good relationships and bad relationships, and you can love them all and they could have all been ‘true’ at one point.” Maybe my Dad also felt he had many true loves and that’s why he cheated…on every woman he’s ever loved.

August 17, 2012

“What do you think we’ll do after you move back to LA?”

“Well, hopefully, we will still be together.”

“We aren’t together now. But this is fun….and exciting.” I wrap my arms around his chest from behind and rest my chin on his shoulder. “I’ll be so sad when you leave.”

He kisses my arms and lets out a heavy sigh. “Me, too. I’ll visit as much as I can. We could talk on the phone and Skype.”

“Yeah, I don’t want to cramp your style when you move back to LA. You’ll have a new life, new responsibilities, a new job. I don’t want to distract you.”

“You will never be a distraction. If anything, you make my life so much better. I love you.”

“And I love you.”

We kiss and hold each other. I’ve only got 24 more hours of this and I want to soak up as much of it as possible. I haven’t told Mr. Money this yet, but I’m not planning on keeping in touch much after he moves away.

July 13, 2013

I saw a quote on Tumblr that read, “Some people are meant to fall in love, but not meant to be together.” I keep thinking about how troubled our relationship has been since the beginning. All these obstacles we’ve faced and overcome has been enlightening and inspirational. We got each other out of our bad habits and have grown with one another.

I think that’s why I feel bad about cheating on Mr. Money with Mr. Mariposa. We’ve made such huge impacts on each others’ lives and I feel terrible about breaking this bond. But he knows I don’t keep commitments like that. He knew that before he asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him again the first time we broke up. And then told him that again the second time we broke up. I was not ready for a full-on-relationship, but he always insisted on being together. I don’t regret kissing Mr. Mariposa. I regret giving Mr. Money another chance against my better judgment.

It was only a kiss. But it was a beautiful, drunken passionate kiss that I initiated. I felt like I had disconnected from reality and gave into my deepest desires. I told him things my sober self would never say. I might have pinched his nips, too. Okay, it was not just a kiss. It was a sexy-ass romantic lip locker with ass grabbin’ and groping of all sorts. It was fucking great. 

I have to make things right with Mr. Money, though. I feel like I need to be in an open-relationship if this long-distance thing is going to work. I care so much about Mr. Money. I value and want him in my life, but I need my freedom and I come first in my life. Whether he accepts it or not, is not my problem.

I’m not breaking up with Mr. Money to be with Mr. Mariposa. The truth is that Mr. Money is the settling down type, and I just want to fuck around. I’m not ready to settle down and I feel like there are so many connections I want to explore.

Chapter Two goes live on Friday, 4/3 @ 8 PM.