what had happened was…

for Lisabet who digs a good story and for Fernando as he journeys onwards

I love melodrama. I was fed telenovelas with my formula, learned about heartache and hyperbole from Daddy’s Trio Los Panchos records and those sad movies that played on Saturday afternoons back in the day, on the Spanish channel or Channel 2, you know the ones with the Mexican actors playing dead bullfighters or outlaws carrying babies through windstorms. My favorite director is Pedro Almodovar. He has been my cinematic soul brother ever since he proved straight girls can be campy drag queens in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. I live, live, live for Degrassi the Next Generation with its ensemble of multidimensional girls and cute, emo boys. And work? It makes Valley of the Dolls look like Sesame Street: sex, drugs, crime, and more scenes than a Shakespeare festival.

I was made for melodrama. Short fuse. Quick wit. Brain running a 4-minute mile(even though my body struggles to do a mile in twelve.) A glare that supposedly wilts flowers. What has gotten me into personal life trouble is a necessary skill/talent at work. Thank goodness I learned early on that I had a way with words.

In real-life drama, most people are not articulate. At least not in my community. You’re lucky if you get sentences with more than five words, words with more than two syllables. And people don’t tell stories or weave feel-good statements. They might yell, whine, threaten, complain, confess, lie, and make excuses. The words, “what had happened was…” say all you need to know. Grammatically incorrect and evasive, this phrase shows the speaker is tripped up by the past, unable to formulate the future. That’s my job. I have to be able to make connections, draw conclusions, pose solutions, move the conversation forward, curb the melodrama. What applies at work also applies to my life.

My younger brother is married now. I am happy for him and my new sister-in-law. But there’s a part of me that is on the verge of something huge. I don’t know what that is. For now, I am satisfied with several small happenings. I can run up to 6 miles. I live alone for the first time in my life. My new dog behaves much better. Real life doesn’t always have a cool soundtrack or hilarious confrontations. Sometimes it is small, quiet, a little lonely, but just as powerful.

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