If only I could change the past…

My phone rang a couple times today from the person I least expected: Ana. What does that damn woman want from me? I thought. And how did she find out I was back?  I have been gone for two years, finishing school. Not once had she crossed my mind; not once did I contact her. That whole time she doesn’t talk to me, and now, during this lock-down she decides to call.

I pictured the Ana I remembered: wavy black hair that covered her face, pink thick rimmed glasses, tan acne scarred skin. She wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t exactly a model either. Freddy, my cousin, described her once as a five at best.

“Why score her so low?” I remember asking, “She doesn’t look that bad to me.”

“Yeah, I guess she can be good looking when she actually takes care of herself, but it’s not the looks, man, something’s wrong in the head. she’s crazy intense.”

“Oh, you would know?”

“I’m friends with her old classmates from high school. Jamie and uhh Angelina. You know them, the short Asian chicks? They all said she’s weird. Sings to herself, super religious. Grade A flake.”

“Eh, I don’t know man. She doesn’t seem like that.”

“Whatever, Migo, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

It was at around that time where she lent a book to me: Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez. I had read it and finished it within a night. I was excited to tell her in person what I thought about it. About the three characters, about being in a coma to escape reality, about the Goatman. I wanted her to be impressed by me. Proud that I could interpret that mixed ending. I wanted her to smile at me and call me a genius.  

I was to meet her that night at our friend’s house. Eliza was throwing a birthday party, a swimming party. It would just be a few friends. A small get together. Nothing big. It was actually through Eliza that I met Ana. It was while I was hanging out at Boba Loca. I was sipping on a blended mango ice when I saw Eliza and waved. I was familiar with Eliza, we shared similar friend groups.

“Hey Migo.” Eliza said. Behind her was Ana wearing a black sweater with a familiar flower logo printed on it.

“I know that,” I said pointing directly at her, “That’s La Dispute. I know that band.”

It was there we hit it off. I took her to a few lunches. Shared coffee. Made her laugh. And at that party, I thought it’d be a good time to do something more.

We were all gathered around the pool having a good time, until gradually it was just me and her in the jacuzzi. She was wearing a yellow and blue bikini, sitting in the corner with her arms held up on the ledges. Her hands were terribly scarred from her eczema and every time her hands got wet, she winced. I sat down next to her.

“You good?” I asked. I was wearing black swim shorts and felt comfortable in my body –even though I was terribly skinny. I was not the best-looking guy with my pale skin and hooked nose, but I sure as hell wasn’t ugly.

“Yeah, I’m just relaxing.” She answered, smiling at me.

“Why not join them?” I tilted my head to the rest of the party inside. Through the yellow lit windows, the guests can be seen drinking beer, laughing and talking.  

She crinkled her nose. “Nah, I don’t think that’s a good idea for me, I drove.”

“Really? Just one beer?”

“I’m just not good with drinks. Besides, we get the pool to ourselves.” She grinned at me.

I smiled back and scooted closer to her. It was quiet for a moment, when an idea crept into my head. I stretched out my left hand, pretending to yawn and placed it on her right thigh. She jumped a little and paused. Then looked at me confused. She then proceeded to reach down and remove my hand from her leg. I felt a wave of discomfort rush over me as frantic thoughts flashed through my mind: maybe I read the situation wrong?

“No, Migo.” She said holding my hand, “but this, this is fine.” She held my hand above the water and swung it to an imaginary beat. Her hands were rough, rougher than mine that’s for sure –but I did not mind. At least I got to hold her.

“Migo,” she said, “what are we?”

I was caught off guard. “What?”

“What are we?” She was looking at me expectantly.

“Well, you know, we are what we are. We are… good. Very good.” I was starting to ramble. I wasn’t expecting that question. Did I want us to be more, yes, but so soon? I lost control of words and was just spitting nonsense. “We’re great, like frosted flakes.”

“Oh… okay…” She let go of my hand.

“Ana. Close your eyes.” I said.

“What?”

But I did not even check if she closed her eyes. I leaned in for a kiss, lips puckered, eyes closed. I leaned and leaned and felt nothing. She wasn’t there anymore. In a second she was out of the pool.

“Migo, I gotta go. But I’ll text you? Yeah? We could have Boba again. Boba Loca? Saturday?” She was practically running back into the house, clutching her towel against her breast.

“Y-yeah. Saturday.” I waved awkwardly for a few seconds, and then sat alone in the jacuzzi.

There was no Saturday. I waited for that text, but it never showed. I even showed up for boba, but she didn’t show. I was the fool. Seriously, Frosted Flakes? I was tempted to text her, to apologize, or something. but Freddy told me not to be weak. I went to University. I graduated cum laude. I forgot about her. And now during this fucking quarantine she decides to call me.

Maybe it’s best to leave her on silent than to deal with her again. I thought. But my dumbass looks at the phone to hear her voicemail:

“Hey Migo, It’s me Ana. Long time no see? Anyway, I heard you’re back in the Bay. I uh… you still have my book? I’d like to get it back… you think you can ship it to my – “

I deleted the voicemail. It’s my book now. Bye Ana.

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