Updated: Apr 18
I can confidently say that, besides the daily routine and stressful portions of it, for the most part I am a joyful person. However, during the last couple of days I have been a complete hot mess!
I take pride in myself for being the kind of person in which friends tend to turn to when it comes to opening up and asking for advice. In general, I am pretty good about dealing with my feelings and emotions (except for when something or someone pisses me off. Then, forget about it! In those circumstances I really have no concept of emotional intelligence. Yet, I promise I am working on it!)
To my surprise, I completely lost it this past week. Since I witnessed my dad fight cancer and finally realized it was, indeed, a lost battle while he was still here, I haven't experienced something similar. I vividly recall that evening in the fall of 2003 when I went out with one of my brothers and a couple of friends to a night club to try to have a good time, following one of my dads wishes, which was for me not to stop living my life because of what he was going through. He wanted me to be happy. At least to try in the midst of all that was going on.
Although I tried, leaving the pain and thoughts that constantly haunted my mind was a pretty difficult thing to do. Nearly impossible to be more precise. That night, I stepped out of my house as I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders and the heaviness of a sore heart, as I was already accustomed to.
As the night went on, at a point, I decided to sit down for a bit and found a bar stool placed right by the window to get some fresh air. There, I stared at the trees, watching them as they softly moved as if they were dancing to the sound of the wind. Behind the beautiful green leaves I was able to see the moonlight shining. As I witnessed that graceful display of nature, an unannounced thought came into my head:
"MY DAD IS GOING TO DIE!!!"
Immediately, I started to cry uncontrollably. For a moment, it felt like there was no music; no lights flashing. As I lowered my head, my brother and friends hugged me in an attempt to console me. It was no use. So they escorted me out and we left. Not much could be said.
Approximately eight years later, when my grandmother passed away, I didn't take the time to grieve since two days prior to that Christmas Eve, when I received the sad news, I had found out I was six weeks pregnant. In fact, I din't allow myself to mourn. I did my best just to not think about it and try to focus on what God was giving to me, instead of what was being taken away.
It wasn't until two years ago when while standing in the line at Lowe's while purchasing a couple of items for my business that I found out that one of the run club members had just passed after being involved in a tragic accident while riding his bicycle. There, as I paid the cashier I started to cry, but tried very hard, once I arrived at home, to calm myself down since I didn't want to make my daughter to be concerned, which at that point was inevitable, but it was more of a matter of damage control.
Just last month, I wrote a post about how a single decision can bring lifetime changes (https://kleinnanda.wixsite.com/thenandakleinjournal/post/when-one-decision-brings-lifetime-changes) sharing my own experience and how moving to a new place has made me so much happier. Nonetheless, amongst my close friends I have always been the person who makes the decision to depart. Looking into retrospect, I had never thought about the subject into my friends perspectives and how it must have felt to be "left behind".
Now, for the first time in my life I was put into the position to understand how it feels when someone dear to me makes the decision of leaving to start a new chapter somewhere else. To me, the news came as unexpected! Since I moved to Miami, about five years ago, I was lucky enough to have met great people and blessed with amazing friends who became family to me.
Before I met them going to Brazil always felt like I was going home, because that's where my friends were. Once I became closer to so many of the folks from Miami, for the first time in eight years living abroad I started to feel like I was finally home. Just the fact that a great deal of us came from other countries and states always made me feel like Miami was the city to come to, not to move out of. But as I said myself, sometimes we just have to make changes, and that's exactly what this dear obnoxious friend of mine is doing.
As a good friend, I believe it's my job to show support and be happy for him even when my selfish side deeply wishes he would never go. But as soon as I heard those words coming out of his mouth, my eyes filled up with tears and there was nothing I could do about it...
"Goodbye, you guys!" I said as I waved my hand to the group departing after one of our after run Saturday breakfasts.
"Goodbye!" said everyone else while kissing and hugging each other, including me.
"Ok, Goodbye Raguila!" I waved from a distance.
"Aren't you going to give him a hug?" demanded Aligri.
"No. I am not! I don't want to hug him. He was sick!"
"He is not contagious anymore!"
"Look at his face! He just said inside he looked like that because he wasn't feeling well!"
"I don't mind! You don't have to hug me! I really don't care for fake friends hugs!" he exclaimed from a distance.
"And I don't care for hugs from friends who don't show up for my birthday as well!" I said dismissing him.
"Ok!" He said, as he walked towards me. "Give me a hug!" he requested while already wrapping his arms around me. "After all, you never know when you will have the chance to hug me again!"
That comment made me go back in time, recalling what had happened to him during the previous year when while riding his bicycle, a distracted driver cut in front of him heading towards a parking lot, making him hit the side of the vehicle, flying over it and falling head first on the ground.
"Don't you say that!" I pleaded. "It makes me think of unpleasant memories."
"Well, I am leaving. I am moving to another state!"
"What?!" I exclaimed as the tears imediately started to make an appearance."What do you mean?"
"That's why I wasn't able to make to your Birthday! I was there doing a job interview!"
As I walked away towards the parking lot avoiding having to say another single word, the remaining friends who, at that point, were about to get in their cars noticed the fact that I was very upset and approached me. I told them the news. That Saturday morning when he appeared after our run to join us for breakfast, which was unusual, little did we know that that would be our last breakfast with him before he departed.
That morning, I didn't waste the opportunity to pick on him saying the reason he looked bashful was because he was going to have to pay for a ten dollar coffee, as a joke, since he always complained about our choices of venues after our runs saying the 'cafe con leche' was just too expensive! He knew why he was quiet, but we had no idea that a week later we would be gathered for this farewell party.
However, as he said himself, this is not a goodbye, but a see you later! As for me, I know I will be missing this fella who, in fact, years ago wasn't my favorite person in the world, though he indeed grew so big in my heart that he made me feel like I had a bratty, yet super cool brother who more than picking on me also helped me to improve myself as a person and as a runner (and I know he will even mentaly disagree with such sentence just for the pleasure of it!)
I can say with no shame that this was a friendship that started as a love/hate relationship. I can't even count the amount of times I had thrown punches at him just to see how good and fast of a response he was going to be able to give. Sometimes, with the sole propose of getting a good laugh out of it! Just as it was during some tough times for all of us...
I will never forget the time during hurricane Irma when we all were so stressed and concerned about the fact that the hurricane was supposed to hit Miami directly. We, as a group of friends, were able to keep everyone sane by communicating throughout a WhatsApp chat. Nonetheless, throughout our pretend fights we were able to entertain ourselves and others.
Meanwhile I was sharing information from the news networks, he on the other hand, kept complaining about it and telling me to stop watching the news. Later on, I recall sending a message to the group advising everyone about the recent tornado warning and the reports of a touchdown in the vicinity.
"Nanda, why don't you go ahead and walk outside and let us know if you see the tornado!" he wrote on his response.
At that moment, I found myself sitting on a mattress inside my walk-in closet with my entire family, crying. I was laughing so hard, my stomach was hurting. For a moment, I forgot about the fact that the wind was strongly blowing against my bedroom windows and the whistling sound it was making. Few people have been capable of making me burst into tears of sadness or joy like this friend. Someone who I can't wait to see once again, just to remind him of how obnoxious he is!