If You Wake Up in a Red Room, Don’t Panic… You’re In My Heart

Sometimes it pays to wait.  Sometimes life throws things at you in such a manner, that you can’t help but smile.
12 years ago, I met my best friend.  We were inseparable.  We did everything together.  He had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend, yet somehow we managed to have a completely platonic friendship.  Whenever we were alone, we spent the time singing, cracking jokes on each other, and admiring our friendship. He slept over my house on those lazy summer nights, and I almost always was invited to his family parties.  He had grown to become almost an extended member of my close knit family, even spent Father’s Day with my father.  Somewhere between freshman year of high school and our senior year of high school, I realized that I didn’t see him as a friend anymore.  I had grown very fond of him actually.  I just didn’t know if he felt the same.

 

New Years Eve, our Senior Year we went to this party together, as friends naturally.  At the stroke of midnight, we stood there staring at each other.  I mean, this was the kind of thing that could make or break our friendship.  I don’t remember who kissed who first, but I know that it happened.  I think it shocked us more than anything….

Senior Year ended and we spent the summer doing everything together.  We went to Ocean City together, nearly died due to my driving, and we slept over each others’ houses (in a completely innocent way.)  There was numerous trips to the beach and more than one sunburn treatment together.  We were closer than imaginable.  I couldn’t imagine finding a friend that I would ever be close like this with, in a completely innocent way.
And then the summer ended.  I’ll never forget the last night he was here in town.  We sat in his drive way, in my car.  He hugged me, and for the first time ever, it hit me.  My best friend was leaving me.  I tried so hard, but much to my disappointment, the tears flooded my face.  I couldn’t speak, but he knew everything I had been feeling in that exact moment.  I barely managed to lip, “Don’t go…”  He squeezed me tighter than he ever had before, and we stayed sitting in the front seat of my car, I was straddling him in a huge bear hug.  I didn’t want to lose my best friend.  Not here, not now, not ever.
But unfortunately, this isn’t the movies, and the girl doesn’t get the boy.  Just as the night had become morning, he left.  He went off to college in a different state and I went to a state college.  Although we tried to remain in contact with one other, our friendship eventually began to fade.  We weren’t nearly as close to each other as before.  Something changed.  We changed.   We talked a few times over the phone and over the internet, but it wasn’t the same.
Then one day, I checked my Facebook messages and found this message.  I haven’t ever shown this to anyone, ever.  I figured it doesn’t really matter now though.  This message is almost six years old now.  Emotions have changed.  He’s now getting married and he’s completely happy and in love.  The only time I have seen him since high school was when he came home for the summer, and between both of our work schedules, it wasn’t the same.  We never had a summer again, like we did when we were 17 and 18.  That’s life though.  Getting older and becoming an adult has it’s perks, but the one thing no one warns us about, is how much we are going to miss the memories, of when we were younger.
I just wanted to show women, that it’s okay to wait.  For the right person.  It’s okay to get into completely platonic relationships with men, without the sexual stuff, and still have an amazing friendship/relationship.  He never once tried to cross any lines with me.  Never.  In the end, my best friend respected me, for not sleeping with him and wanting to wait.  Truth be told, I respect him for loving me enough to respect me, for not pressuring me, for not objectifying me.  Life didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.  We aren’t going to end up dating or even married one day.  We aren’t going to ride off into the sunset on a horse.  And he sure as hell isn’t going to show up on my doorstep with flowers on his knee.
None of that matters though.  And even though we barely talk anymore, he’ll always be my best friend.  It’s amazing how we can go years without talking, and then pick up right where we left off.  Our friendship is timeless. I know that he loved me.  I know that I loved him.  But our love story, begins and ends in friendship. Our friendship, our love for one another… is the best love story I have ever known.
Sometimes, life throws you a love story scrambled up.  We just have to learn how to decode it.
(This is a completely real email from my best friend.)
  • Hi…

    Hi Veronica,

    Ok, so I just wanted to say, as privately as I could, that you are beautiful. I can’t leave you a wall post, or an Instant message because she sees them and gets all jealous of you because she saw part of our AIM conversation, and she got suspicious of what, I don’t know. So I just wanted a way to tell you how I’m feeling.

    I’m sorry I made you wait to long, I’m sorry if I didn’t get the hint, I’m sorry if you mean the world as a person to me and I never told you, I’m sorry if I caught myself falling in love with you and never had the nerve to tell you, I’m sorry for anything I’ve ever done wrong…I’m sorry I just never told you…

    I hope that you can forgive me, and when I come home on March 8th, everything will be ok. I can’t wait to see you again, really I can’t wait.

    With much love…

In Prayer, It is Better to have Heart Without Words, than Words without Heart

I want to remove Politics, and any Financial or Ethnic factor from this post.  So when you read this, just take it for what it’s worth.  That’s all I ask.

I’m not a religious person.  I don’t go to Church, and I don’t pray nightly.  I don’t know how many Saints there are, and I couldn’t recite one passage, even if you begged me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in a higher power.  That being said, I want to share with the world what’s burning through me tonight.

 

But… more so, and maybe even a little deeper… I feel I need to pray for humanity.

I hope that the world knows of better days.  I hope that Americans… and well, no human for that matter, ever has to wake up to the sounds of SWAT teams, military men and women, or bombs exploding.  No one should ever have to live in that much fear.

I pray for the young, innocent children of today. I was speaking to a girl today at work, and she said something that really shocked me.  She said, “This day and age, it’s a bad time to have children.  They just can’t be safe anymore.” She’s right and that’s incredibly heartbreaking. So with that, I pray that children can be safety sent off to school, without parents worrying that their babies have been shot by some crazy, madman.  That children can safety play ball outside their house without being kidnapped or shot. It’s just sickening.

I pray that our future brightens.  The world has changed so much in the short time that I’ve been blessed to be alive.  Doors have to be locked, dead bolted, and alarms set.  Children can’t even walk to the mailbox without getting snatched off the street.  Dogs are violently beaten and used for sport. People are more weary of helping strangers, because in this day and age, you never know who someone might turn out to be.  A hitch hiker, might turn out to be a mass murder.  A principal, a drug dealer.  A doctor, a rapist.  Yes, that’s the kind of world we live in today.  And it’s disgusting.

I’m also going to take a second and be a little selfish and pray for myself.  I pray that I have the wisdom to learn from my mistakes.  I pray that I have the strength to overcome what ever life throws in my face.  I pray that I have the heart to love unconditionally; to forgive without holding a grudge.  That I have the courage to smile, when all I want to do is fall apart.  That I have the knowledge to change what I can. That I can be fearless, when others need me to be. That I can laugh and brighten up other’s days… even if it’s just for a moment.

I’m not a Saint.  I know that I have a lot of things in my life, that maybe I’m not proud of.  I am who I am though.  I’m just a woman, who has seen enough hurt, loss, and heartache to last her a lifetime.  Doesn’t anyone else ever think… enough is enough?

I wonder what it will take to make the world a better place.  With every act of gun violence, people are up in arms about gun control laws… and then a bomb explodes and people are screaming for justice.  It doesn’t have to be about politics.  For once, it could be just about what’s right, and what’s wrong.  It’s dead wrong for bombs to explode in the middle of our streets.  It’s dead wrong for a whole city to have to shut down, because one asshole decides he’s going to attempt to hide from the US Government.  Ha. We saw how that turned out… But at the same token, it’s dead wrong for the media to exploit victims, just so they have a story. It’s wrong for people to use pictures of victims, just so they can get a few “likes” on Facebook. In fact, I worry there’s more wrong in the world, than there is right. And THAT’S what bothers me most.

I can’t change the world.  I thought I could, but I’m learning the hard way that I can’t.  So rather than be a naive little girl, I’m going to do the adult thing.  I’m going to accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world.  I’m accepting the fact that I only have control over me and my actions.  If I can be the best person that I can be, then I’ve already made a difference to the world. I’ve added more love, understanding, hope, dreams, courage, and wisdom to this world.

I can’t change the past, but the future is still up for grabs.  I may only be one person, but sometimes, all it takes is one person to make a difference.

I’m Bored, So Here’s A Random Questionaire

  • Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

My dad.  He’s been the most influential man in my life.  He’s always a guiding force behind me, even when I mistake him guiding me with being pushy.  He’s raised me since I was 9 months old, and even to this day, I know he still sees me as “his little girl.”  :)

  • What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?

Happiest, was my birthday this year.  Saddest, is a tie; the day I put my sweet baby Harley to sleep and had to bury her, and the day that I moved out of my ex’s apartment.

  • Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?

Again, my dad.  He’s taught me so many lessons.  From how to change the oil in my car, to how to properly clean a grill.  How to power wash a house, mow the lawn, practically make anything I can think of with wood, put in a sprinkler system… how to learn to let stuff roll off my shoulders, be a stronger person.  Love my dad.

  • Who has been the kindest to you in your life?

Probably my best friend, Grace.  She just gets me.  She stands beside me and just supports me.  When everyone is on my case, she’s the only one who just lets me cry and stands right beside me.

  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

I learned that you never really know how to rebuild, unless you’ve been broken.  You never truly love until you’ve had your heart ripped out.  I’ve learned that love hurts, even when you think it’s meant to be.  First impressions are not always true.  Never judge a book by its cover.  Nothing lasts forever.  People will hurt you, even when they don’t intend on it.  You will hurt people, even if you don’t mean to.  Only the good die young.  Losing a dog is like losing your best friend.

  • What is your earliest memory?

I remember being so small.  I was probably two or three, and I remember my dad filming me.  Doing everything.  Brushing my teeth, opening gifts, walking, talking, eating, sleeping… he documented my life.  I remember my dad always following me around with a camera, telling me, “Wave for the camera babe!”

  • What are the funniest or most embarrassing stories your family tells about you?

Probably the fact that I have huge hips, and one day during a game of baseball, when my sister was running towards first base (I was the First Baseman), I threw my hip in my sister’s direction, and she ended up slamming into my hip, and landing on the ground, with the wind knocked out of her.  While everyone was checking up on her, I was dying on the ground laughing.  Yeah, I’m a little competitive.  Haha.

  • If you could hold on to just one memory from your life forever, what would that be?

I like remember snuggling under the covers with my baby Harley.  She snored in her sleep.  It was the cutest thing ever.  She just loved climbing under the covers with me and sleeping… it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep without her for a very long time.  Haha.

  • What are you proudest of in your life?

Getting my first “big girl job.”

  • When in life have you felt most alone?

The night I moved back into my dad’s house.  Not only did I have to move back home on such a terrible circumstance, but my dad worked nights… so I had to spend the night alone.

  • How has your life been different from what you’d imagined?

When I was younger, I imagined I would grow up and become a teacher.  I would be driving a fancy car, wearing dressy work suits, and married by the time I was 25.  But as I sit here, typing this out, at the ripe age of 25… I realize, I’m not married.  Not even dating.  I’m not a teacher.  In fact, I went to college for nursing.  I’m not driving a fancy car, but rather something practical that gets me to and from work.  I’m so much different now, than the younger version of myself imagined.

  • How would you like to be remembered?

I want to be remembered, as I lived.  With an open heart and open mind.  A sweet girl, with a huge heart with a ton of love for everyone I knew.

  • Do you have any regrets?

Yes and no.  I regret hurting people.  I regret putting myself in situations where I was hurt.  I don’t regret feeling things, or doing things based on how I felt at the time.  I am who I am, because of what I did in my past.

  • What does your future hold?

I really can’t say.  A job, a family…

  • Is there any message you want to give to or anything you want to say to your great-great-great grandchildren when they read to this?

Sure.  Don’t be stupid.  Read often, make lots of friends, laugh as much as you can.  Stay active in your community, give back as often as you can.  When your heart breaks, let it repair itself.  Don’t make promises, you can’t ever keep.  Wear Suntan lotion!  Make mistakes — make lots of them.  Don’t be afraid to screw up.  Try, and when you fail, try again.  Kiss with everything you have, love like you’ll never love again, and dream like there’s no tomorrow.  Sing, dance in the pouring rain, rescue a dog or cat or both.  Never turn a blind eye.  Remember blood is thicker than water.  And no matter where you go in life, never forget where you come from.

  • Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South Jersey, spending practically every summer day on the beaches.

  • What was your childhood like?

It was rough, but that’s the trend now-a-days.  I grew up with brothers and sisters and a stepmom and dad…

  • Who were your favorite relatives?

My grandmother and my grandfather.  My cousins.  Specifically my guy cousins.

  • Do you remember any of the stories they used to tell you?

Tons!  Most of them involve my dad when he was younger, or my grandmother being ridiculous.

  • How did you and grandma/grandpa meet?

That’s probably my favorite love story ever.  My grandmother was walking up the street with her friends, and my grandfather was walking up the other side of the street with his friends.  My grandfather took one look at my grandmother and said to his friends, “See that girl?  That’s the girl I’m going to marry one day.”  And two weeks later… they did.  67 years later, and they’re still together.  Still so in love with each other.  Still so happy.  <3

  • What were your parents like?

My mom was a cute blonde.  She’s rebellious, reckless, and stubborn.  My dad is a brunette.  Over the top, crazy, and yet… grounded.

My mother’s mother, is much like my mother.  My dad’s mother, is — almost like my best friend.  Strong minded, very literal, and tough, but she has a great heart.  My dad’s dad is very much like my grandmother.

  • What are your dreams for your children?

That they’ll never have to want for anything.  That they’ll never feel pain or have to experience a hardship.  That they’ll know more love and understanding than I can ever imagine.  That they’ll experience more of the world and accomplish every dream they ever have.

  • When and where were you born?

I was born in 1989.  Yes, I’m an 80s baby.  Born in South Jersey, naturally.

  • How was your relationship with your parents?

My dad and I butt heads a lot, but I love him.  My mom and I, don’t ever speak.  I actually haven’t talked to her since I was 18.

  • Did you get into trouble? What was the worst thing you did?

I have gotten into trouble but stupid things.  Like not doing homework, or being late to school but nothing worse than that though.

  • Do you have any siblings? What were they like growing up?

I have 8.  4 sisters and 4 brothers.  It’s funny.  When I was growing up, I was incredibly close with my sisters and now that we’re grown, I’m closer with my brothers.

  • What did you look like?

Oh my gosh I was such a nerd in high school. I had wavy strawberry blonde hair, braces, and a book glued to my hand. In college, I dropped the braces, figured out the importance of a straightener, and joined every athletic club I could.

  • How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?

I was your typical average child I guess.  In general, I was okay.

  • What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

I have a lot of good ones that involve my dad.  Usually it was our weekend getaways, camping.  I have a few bad ones too, mostly ones that involve my mom.

  • Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

I had a few.  Roni, which stuck, is basically just my name — shortened.  I was also called Ron, Ver, Ica, Ronica, VM, Short Stuff, Elf…

  • Who were your best friends? What were they like?

In high school it was Georgianna and Kimberly.  Such sweet girls.  In college it was Justina and Tiffany.  Great girls, who played Volleyball with me.  In undergrad, it was Tanya and Ryan.  Both of which I communicate with on a weekly basis.  Actually, come to think about it… I talk to all of my friends from school.

  • How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?

A day out camping in the middle of the woods, riding quads, and having a bon fire with my dad and his friends.

  • Did you enjoy school?

Grade school – no.  High school — yes.  College — definitely.  Except finals.  They sucked.

  • What kind of student were you?

High school and college I was a straight A Student.  Yup, nerd status.

  • What would you do for fun?

I was athletic in high school and college.  I played volleyball, softball, tennis, and rowed crew.  I also acted in school plays, and managed both the boy’s soccer team and the boy’s wrestling team.

  • How would your classmates remember you?

The quiet, sweet girl.  That’s probably about it.  Even though I played sports, I still kept to myself.

  • Are you still friends with anyone from that time in your life?

Lots!  I still hang out with my high school friends all the time.

  • What are your best memories of grade school/high school/college/graduate school? Worst memories?

Graduation was the saddest.  I remember breaking down the whole day.  My happiest was probably the start of my senior year.

  • Was there a teacher or teachers who had a particularly strong influence on your life? Tell me about them.

Oh tons!  I’m actually friends with so many of my teachers outside of school.  I still stop by every once in a while to see them.

  • Do you have a love of your life?

I absolutely do.

  • When did you first fall in love?

The first time was last summer.

  • Can you tell me about your first kiss?

I was 16, it was summertime.  I met a guy when I was on vacation with my family.  It was 4th of July weekend.  I was at the pool and this guy came up to me and we talked and hung out and he asked me to this dance.  I went with him, and that’s when it happened.

  • What was your first serious relationship?

I had one in high school.

  • Do you believe in love at first sight?

No.  I believe in lust at first sight.  However, I do believe that you can fall much harder for someone than anticipated before you actually intend on it.

  • Do you ever think about previous lovers?

I have thought about my ex.

  • What lessons have you learned from your relationships?

Don’t rush into things.  Love is a powerful tool.  It can either build you up, or tear you down.  Trust your instincts.  If something feels too good to be true… then it is.  Never give up on yourself.  Just because someone doesn’t love you, it doesn’t mean that no one loves you.

Next to Excellence, Is the Appreciation of It

I’m lucky I have such a supportive father. 

He loves me unconditionally.  My dad would support me if I wanted to work in the medical field or collect change under the boardwalk (although he would definitely advise me against it.)  He’s always been that guiding light in so many ways.  He’s stood by me when I changed colleges — no matter how many credits I lost making the switch.  He understood when I changed majors in college.  He watched my dog when I went to work — even bonded with her on numerous occasions.  He’s taken me anywhere I wanted to go — within reason.

My dad taught me how to fire my first gun, drive a car, parallel park, stain a deck, change the oil in my car,  build so many wood work projects… He raised me the best way he knew how, and truth is sometimes I didn’t give him the credit he deserves.  My dad did what so many fathers in this world don’t do.  He stood by me when no one else would.  Through accidents, tickets, lawsuits, college, break-ups, relationships, the tragic loss of my beloved dog — yes, he stood by me through it all.

But the greatest life lessons my dad has taught me?  How to have thick skin.  How to be quick to react, yet slow to judge.  How to give, unconditionally, no questions asked, to everyone.  How to be the absolute most caring person imaginable.  How to smile and shrug off the smallest qualms in every day life.  How to live, and let die.  How to always remain a child at heart, though the body and mind age uncontrollably.  How to enjoy the little things in life… like watching poorly made B flick movies.  More importantly, how to make the best of every situation.

My dad has helped me become the person I am today, and I couldn’t be more blessed to have him.

Isn’t it strange how we sometimes don’t appreciate something until it’s too late?

I’ll love you forever Dad.

Dad-Daughter