Internal Reality

I decided to meet Kai at Lacma Plaza. It’s where we first met. My heart was beating so fast I could feel it come out through my chest. The recurring thoughts of how consistent I was in the relationship. Like all the times I went over to his home and had dinner with his family, when I picked him up to go to a party, or when I just wanted to see him after making up a dumb excuse to get out of the house. But what about the times that he did things for me? I couldn’t tell if someone asked. I got to Lacma Plaza halfway through the sunset and waited in the cool heat. Time had stopped while I sat there and waited. All the memories came flashing back like the day we met. When Kai would look at me and his eyes could tell me he loved me better than he could say it. Or when we lay on the beach and he would tangle his soft hands in my soft hair. Kai came walking right towards me with his smooth stride and his silky jet black hair.

“Hey there Luna!” said Kai.

“Hey.”

“So, your text sounded pretty important. What’s up?”

“Yeah.” I sighed.

“Is everything alright?”

“Yeah it is, I thought that we could just sit here for a bit and relax, you know?”

“Sure! Why not! I’ve had a long day anyways on the course with the boys. It’d be nice to just sit here and relax.” Kai stretched his arms out behind him to set them on the concrete as he laid back and soaked in the sun. I looked at him nervously.

“You know, I could have shot under par today if James didn’t always sneeze and jump all over the place. That guy I tell ya! Still love him though ha ha!”

“Kai?”

“Yeah what’s up?”

“I need you to make a choice right now. You have to decide if you want to be with me or not.”

“What? What do you mean? Are you breaking up with me?”

“No, not exactly. It’s just … you don’t know what you want. We get into the same arguments every time and it’s like you’re not listening and it’s like you can’t ever get a clue about if I’m upset, sad, happy, or even wanting something.”

“Well I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“See that’s exactly the reason why I can’t be with you anymore. You take no insight on my feelings and everything seems like it goes over your head.”

“Hey, I am sorry! I just don’t talk about my emotions. You know how I get about that stuff.”

“ That doesn’t matter anymore. I just need you to decide. But before you do I just want you to know that with whatever you decide I have made my decision to stay and make this work.”

We sat there for about half an hour going back and forth with one another on where things could have gone wrong and what we could fix between one another and about ourselves.

“Well I know now that I haven’t and can’t give you the time that you deserve.” Kai said angrily.

“How is that even possible?! How can you even think that?! If that’s even in your thoughts where is the consideration in giving me that time?! I just don’t freakin’ get it.”

I knew deep inside that after this he’ll be coming back regardless of the decision.

He was going to walk away. I yelled for him to stay and decide. He paced back and forth for a bit.

“Fine. We’re breaking up.” Kai said.

“You know there’s a billion of guys waiting out there for me? And you’re just going to let me go?”

“Okay! Yeah, I know! But I can’t keep you like this from doing what you want. It’s obvious that I’m holding you back.” Kai stomped off around in circles. He was confused and had his hands covering his temples.

I left Lacma Plaza with everything else.

* * *

“Yoo, man! That was a straight shot!” I said.

I was on the golf course until I felt my phone ring and it usually is my mom or my girlfriend, Luna. I pick up the phone and read my text.

“Hey. Lacma Plaza at 8pm. C u there.” texted Luna.

I left the golf course eight holes early because it was already 7:30 pm and it would take me about a half hour to reach Lacma and meet Luna.

I walked up to Lacma Plaza and see Luna sitting there with her mesmerizing almond shape face and smooth skin like a porcelain doll. Her hair was always so dark, slick and shiny it was my favorite part about her. But what I liked the most was her smile. It always shined the room wherever we were. Like the time we met at our friend Gao’s place. I remember standing at the beer pong table with the other guys I didn’t even care to be around. I barely knew the guys. But I gave her her space with the girls. I looked over at her from the other side of the room and I think she caught me looking at her.

“Hey there, Luna!” I said.  

She usually looks and smiles at me without any hesitation. I walked up with a sweat not knowing what to expect.

“So, your text sounded pretty important. What’s up?”

“Yeah.” Luna was quiet and seemed down, but I was sure it was nothing. Maybe she was on her monthly?

“Is everything alright?”

“Yeah it is, I thought we could just sit here for a bit and relax, you know?”

“Sure! Why not! I’ve had a long day anyways on the course with the boys. It’d be nice to just sit here and relax.” Dang, the sun beating on my face feels good. I’m glad I got to be here to soak in the sun. Especially since we’re so close to the beach.

“You know, I could have shot under par today if James didn’t always sneeze and jump all over the place. That guy I tell ya! Still love him though ha ha!” Luna wasn’t laughing with me like she usually does. Maybe it wasn’t that funny?

“Kai?” Dang, everytime she does that I feel like World War 3 is about to happen.

“Yeah what’s up?”

“I need you to make a choice right now -”

I lifted my head up so fast and thought, “holy shit, what’s happening?!”

“ – you need to decide if you want to be with me or not.”

“What? What do you mean? Are you breaking up with me?” I couldn’t shake that question out of my head. Luna was so consistent and showed so much care for me. I never thought that she would ever come to this question. What did I do?

“No, not exactly. It’s just … you don’t know what you want. We get into the same arguments every time and it’s like you’re not listening and it’s like you can’t ever get a clue about if I’m upset, sad, happy, or even wanting something.”

“Well I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“See that’s exactly the reason why I can’t be with you anymore. You take no insight on my feelings and everything seems like it goes over your head.”

“Hey, I am sorry! I just don’t talk about my emotions. You know how I get about that stuff.”

“ That doesn’t matter anymore. I just need you to decide. But before you do I just want you to know that with whatever you decide I have made my decision to stay and make this work.”

My heart dropped. She was right. I didn’t know what I wanted in my life. I didn’t know what I wanted in this relationship. I wasn’t treating her the way that she needed to be treated.

“Well I know now that I haven’t and can’t give you the time that you deserve.”

“How is that even possible?! How can you even think that?! If that’s even in your thoughts where is the consideration in giving me that time?! I just don’t freakin’ get it.” Luna was so upset at this point. I switched off a time bomb.  

I paced back and forth. My body was tense and my fist were closed up tight. I couldn’t manage to look up at her in the eyes.

“Fine. We’re breaking up.”

“You know there’s a billion of guys waiting out there for me? And you’re just going to let me go?”

“Okay! Yeah, I know! But I can’t keep you like this from doing what you want. It’s obvious that I’m holding you back.”

I could see the tears and hate in her eyes with what I just did to her. I had to let her go. It wasn’t right for me to put her in the position that I did. I didn’t want her to be with me if I couldn’t make the relationship work. I watched her walk away like nothing happened.

I don’t know if she broke up with me or if I broke up with her. But I walked home. The sun was setting and so were the memories.

* * *

“FUUCCCCKKKK! I can’t believe I just did that!”

I got home, slammed the door, and crashed onto my bed.

The next morning I was contemplating on what I should do. Should I text her? Call her? What do I do?

“Dude, your girlfriend is posting some sappy shit on Instagram what did you do?” said Leo in an annoying and sarcastic tone.

“I broke up with her.”

“DUDDDEEE! You did not! Holy shit! You?! Broke up with her?! What did she do?!”

“Nothing.”

“Don’t you remember the talk we had?”

“Yeah, don’t remind me.”

“El Oh El! Mom, guess what!?”

“Dude, can you not right now, c’mon, please.”

“Yes, Leo?”

“Kai, your oh so perfect son just dumped the oh so perfect future daughter-in-law!”

My mom looked at me with her jaws open.

“You did what, Kai?!”

* * *

“Mom! I’m Home!”

“That’s great! How was Jamaica?!”

“Oh my gosh you could not believe it! It was amazing! I can’t believe I never thought about going on a beautiful vacation like that any earlier! Ugh!”

“Well you could have, but you know you were too deep into Kai during your relationship.”

“What? No I was not?”

My mom chuckled.

“Honey, yes you were. Everyday you were just so stuck on him and every time we talked all you could talk about was Kai this Kai that, we’re going to do this and that.”

“Wow, really? How come you didn’t say anything!? Ugh! All that precious time wasted. But I don’t regret any of it, sadly.”

“Well you were just so happy. I didn’t want to change that and tell you how to live your life or ruin your relationship.”

“Well thanks, mom. I think I understand.”

I never really realized how much time I lost when I was with Kai and all the things I could have been doing for myself. I was determined to get back out there and try again. I needed to find myself.

* * *

“Hey, Luna. Can we meet and catch up?”

It’s been a year since I’ve last spoken to Kai.

I texted back, “Sure. Where at?”

“Tavern? 6 o’clock?”

“Sure! C u then.”

I made sure to be late. He was early as usual. I got into the Tavern and there he was sitting in a booth. My heart was beating all over again like the first time we met. I caught his glimpse at me like the first time we were at Gao’s party.

I could smell the pasta and fresh bread in the restaurant. It reminded me of the time we failed to make homemade pasta for Valentine’s day.

“So, talking to any guys yet?”

I thought to myself, what kind of question was that?! I never expected him to care or ask me that question.

“Uh, that’s not something you need to know.” I smirked at him and rolled my eyes.

“Well I’m sure there are guys trying to hit you up. I know I would.”

“Okay, Kai okay.” Was he just gonna sit here and flirt with me or actually catch up with me?

“So, how’s Leo doing?”

“Uh, he’s doing good. Still bumming out at home. His injuries after the accident are still healing, but he’s still him.”

“That’s good to hear. How’s school?” He was looking down at his plate. I’m sure I didn’t ask a hard question.

“Do you just want to come over to my place later?”

I looked at him, paused, and smiled.

“No. Maybe next time.”

* * *

I paced in the kitchen for a couple of hours and gathered the courage to text Luna.

“Hey, Luna. Can we meet and catch up?”

“Sure. Where at?”

I texted back without hesitation, “Tavern? 6 o’clock?”

“Sure! C u then.”

I walked into the Tavern shaking and sweating. I can’t believe I was early. What was I thinking?

“Table for 2, please.” I sat there for a while hoping she would show up. It’s not like her to just bail on plans. I saw her walk into the Tavern. She glowed at the door and stood out like always. I think she caught me looking at her. I quickly snapped out of it and smiled at her to come join me.

What do I say? This is awkward.  

“So, talking to any guys yet?” I can’t believe I just asked that question. Hopefully she doesn’t take it the wrong way.

“Uh, that’s not something you need to know.”

Oh great. I asked the wrong question.

“Well I’m sure there are guys trying to hit you up. I know I would.”

Okay, now I just sound desperate to have her back. I hope she get’s a clue though, I do really want her back.

“Okay, Kai okay.”

She’s onto me for sure.

“So, how’s Leo doing?”

“Uh, he’s doing good. Still bumming out at home. His injuries after the accident are still healing, but he’s still him.”

I checked out for a bit and was thinking how I could start talking to her about how I feel. I couldn’t think of how to start the conversation.

“Do you just want to come over to my place later?”

Luna looked at me with such confidence and replied, “No. Maybe next time.”

That was my girl.

* * * 

“Hey, Luna! I have dinner for you and Maverick when he comes over. I’ll be going out tonight. Tell Maverick I said ‘Hi!’ ”

“Okay, thanks Mom!”

Maverick. He was someone I could see myself with. I remember the first time we talked. He was so calm and gentle. His shoulders would glide back in the chair and his posture was always upright. His presence was quiet and calm, but he roared with confidence. The way that he looked at me and spoke humbly, but loud and clear. His eyes glistened every time I looked at them too. He was tall and had a fair structure I couldn’t get over. Every girl fell for him.

* * *

I missed her so much I didn’t know what to do. So I drove to her house. I got out of my car and walked up to the fence.

“Hi, Ms. Arc!”

“Hi, Kai! Are you meeting with Maverick and Luna to study too?”

“Huh?”

“Oh, I’m late to my date! I’ll see you later. Have fun tonight!”

Maverick was coming over to see Luna? Her mom let that happen? What the hell?

I walked up to the door and knocked.

* * *

Knock! Knock! Knock!

“Maverick!” I ran to the door and opened it.

“Hey, Mav – ” It was Kai.

“You need to leave, Kai.”

“Maverick’s coming over?”

“Leave.”

* * *

 10 years later 

* * *

“Hey, Gao! Long time no see! How ya been?!”

“Oh my god! Kai!? Hi! I have been good! How about you?!”

“Great actually. You?”

“Well, uh, amazing I guess! But, oh my gosh, what has it been? Like, 10 years?!”

“Well yeah if we’re here for our 10 year high school reunion ha ha?”

“You’re right, silly me. So what have you been up to?”

I looked behind Gao and there she was. Her mesmerizing almond shape face and smooth skin like a porcelain doll. Her dark, slick, and shiny hair. And that smile. It still brightened up the space wherever she was. Like the moment when we were teenagers and all I saw was her. The way she looked at me and would catch me gazing in her direction. I walked up towards her direction.

* * *

“Come on kids, we’re gonna be late for the reception!”

“Okay, mommy!”

“Mav, honey, can you get my purse, please?”

“Will do, hun!”

It’s been a rough morning trying to get the kids and Mav ready for our high school reunion. I just wanted to get this over with and go on about the day.

We walked into the club house and out to the back while the kids went into the play room.

“Alright here we go, Luna. Senior year all over again, plus our kids.” Mav chuckled.

“Oh stop it, dork. I doubt that anyone would remember we were Prom King and Queen.”

“I guess! But I’m sure they do!”

“Alright, ya dork. I’m gonna head to the bathroom. I’ll meet you out there.”

* * *

I walked out towards her to see her head straight into Maverick Dempsey. I stepped back and retreated back to where Gao and I were talking.

I think Gao saw my reaction and tried to keep me busy by starting a conversation again.

“Has she always been with Maverick ever since high school?”

“Uh, yeah, Kai? Didn’t you know? They uh, have two kids ever since they got married.”

“Oh wow, really?”

“Yeah, they’re actually really happy together. Luna always talks about how great Maverick is with the kids and how he spends time with her so often. It sounds like the perfect ‘American Dream'”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

* * *

I walked out to meet Maverick. He was talking to a bunch of our old classmates. I looked to my left and saw Kai. He hasn’t really changed. His hair was still silky jet black and his walk hadn’t changed one bit in 10 years. I caught him looking right over at us. I quickly turned away as if I didn’t see him.

* * *

“Hey, Gao?”

“Uh, yeah whats up?”

“Can you do me a favor the next time you talk to Luna?”

“Yeah. For sure. What is it?”

I looked over at Luna holding onto Maverick. They really did love each other. The way that she looked at him like she used to look at me when she loved me. I wonder if she still did?

“Can you tell Luna that even if we did go our separate ways that I will always and still love her?”

“Uh, yeah, of course I will, Kai.”

I managed to leave without them noticing me.

* * *

“Hey, Luna! Wow gorgeous house.”

“Hi, Gao! And thanks it’s nothing much but just what I’ve always wanted.”

“You haven’t changed one bit. I’ve missed you!”

“Oh geez, come right in and lets have a drink!”

“Alright!”

Gao and I haven’t talked ever since we graduated from high school. It was nice of her to get in touch again after the reunion.

“So, how has life been after high school?” I said.

“Well there are ups and downs, but I’ve just been traveling and doing a lot of volunteer work.”

“That sounds great! I wish I could get back into that again.”

We both talked for hours on end. It was so nice catching up with her again.

“Hey, Luna. I actually came here to relay you a message from Kai. Remember him?”

“Yeah, my long ago ex-boyfriend? What about him?”

“Well we talked for a bit at the reunion.”

“Oh yeah, I think I remember seeing him.”

“Yeah. So, uhm, he has a kid and he’s married.”

“Wow, that’s great!”

“Yeah. Okay, that’s not what he really wanted me to tell you.”

I didn’t know what to expect from, Gao. She was always full of jokes when we were younger so what could it have been?

And there it was when she told me what he said. I knew he would be coming back. It was like the first day we met at Lacma plaza. His charm hooked me in right away and the way that he looked at me. His cool guy smirk which eventually turned into a smile when he looked at me. And the fun times we would have down by the beach. When we would lay together until sunset and enjoy the waves.

“Luna? I’m sorry if I said anything wrong?”

“No, sweety. You didn’t.”

THE END 

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